Workshop Wednesday⁠—Pressure canner rebuild

In addition to the massive amounts of dehydrating I’ve done over the years I also do some home canning. Since moving home after my mom passed last year I’ve been trying to make use of her dream kitchen that she designed specifically to make canning easier and more efficient. There’s a huge island, five burner gas stove, and industrial range hood.

I invested in a Graniteware 20-qt pressure cooker when I lived in Ohio. Last winter, when canning some beef and pork, I discovered that it’s exactly tall enough to make loading and unloading quart jobs difficult/unsafe due to the height of the range hood. I couldn’t justify the cost of another pressure canner, however, so I haven’t put up as much meat and veggies as I’d like.

That is until I found this beauty at the second hand store for $15. It’s a few inches shorter than my old pot (this being a 16-qt pot) so I can easily clear the hood with the quart jars. I can’t double stack half-pint or pint jars, but that’s okay.

It needed a good wash, new rubber seals, and I went ahead and replaced the dial gauge while I was at it. I also had to replace the weighted regulator as that had gone MIA at some point during its previous life.

Grand total It was $40.

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Clockwise from upper left: canner as I purchased it, canner in use, new parts, and a side-by-side of the overpressure plug old and new.

So the first thing I did was can some chicken breast because my dad is on a sodium restricted diet and commercially canned meats are stupid high in sodium. This gives us the option of quick meals when my work schedule gets hectic in a few weeks.

The next thing I canned was pork and sweet potato stew. I posted pictures to r/canning and, surprisingly, there were a few people who hadn’t thought to make complete meals in a jar. For Aldi fans: everything in the jars except the canning salt and the water came from Aldi.

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This is what I posted there for elaboration and I’ll leave it here for reference.

No flour or cornstarch as those aren’t safe, but raw pack in layers bottom to top:

  • Peeled and cubed sweet potatoes. (about 1 medium per jar)
  • Yellow onion. (about 1/2 medium per jar)
  • Peeled apple. (about 3/4 peeled smallish per jar)
  • Pork loin, trimmed and cubed. (about 12 oz per jar)

I did 1/2 tsp salt but that may be too much. We’ll see. It’s optional anyway.

Topped off to 1″ head space with boiling water. 90 min process time at 11psi.

I had a couple that didn’t seal, same as I had for the chicken breast I did in pints earlier. The seals were from an older box, so I’ll get new ones today and re-process. I have half a pork loin, white potatoes, carrots, and onions to fill out another load.

I’ll add thickener when I use these in a few months.

Here’s a good tutorial that I referenced as I went.

https://youtu.be/iwJ0c7pgahw

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