Friday, August 6, 2010

Canning 101: HWB vs. Pressure

Both Hot Water Bath (HWB) and Pressure canning allow you to can a variety of foods. If you have only tried HWB canning before let me first encourage you to try pressure canning. I know that it does seem more intimidating but once you begin, it opens up a whole new world to canning with an endless list of possibilities. Being able to can produce and meats allows for more self sufficiency. And I'm all about more self sufficiency!A HWB or Boiling water canner is simply a large, deep pot equipped with a lid and a rack. You can buy a pot that is specifically for canning or even use a pot you have on hand at home. If you're using a pot from home just make sure that is it large enough to completely immerse your jars into water, ideally being at least 3 inches deeper than the height of the jars. When you can, the water will boil and could easily spill over if your pot is not deep enough. 3 inches allows for the 1 inch of water that you will need to cover your jars plus room for the boiling water. Having a rack in your pot is important to keep the jar away from direct heat and allow the water to completely surround the jar for even heating. HWB canners are used for processing acidic foods.

When processing low acidic foods you're going to want to use a pressure canner. The high temperature of a pressure canner destroys bacteria spores that can grow in low acid foods. Pressure canners also need a rack at the bottom, just like HWB canners. You can use both types of canners on your home stove top. Pressure canners can also be used outside on a propane cooker. I usually can all of my food inside with the exception of tuna. Fish stinks and the process of canning tuna will stink up your home, so I opt for canning outside in that case.
At our next look at Canning 101, I'll share a list of foods to can in your HWB and pressure canners.


Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Thanks for the tips... I think canning is really interesting. I haven't tried it yet because it's just not in my budget..but I love to read up on eveything I can..I found out that some of my local stores carry a nice variety of canning that's great.!!!f Have a lovely weekend. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Suzanne said...

Very timely...I'm looking forward to your list of foods.

Amy said...

I just started canning again last week after not touching anything to can for around 20years. I bought my HWB pot and have had loads of fun the past week. I think I'm going to wait until next year to invest in a pressure canner, though. One step at a time. :-)

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