first time canning

headednorth

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Pressure canning some baby carrots just to get my feet wet. Waiting for continuous steam to come from vent . Its been kinda a while now. Every time I think Im there, it starts "flashing" again. (steam...no steam...steam...etc). Been prob 10-15 min., pressure gauge up to ~2.5 psi. Do I wait until theres an uninterrupted flow of white steam with no breaks in between? Feels like its taking too long.

eta- am I going by the sound of steam venting or by the sight of white steam coming out?
 
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Uzi2

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Yes, wait for uninterrupted steam then allow that to flow for a few minutes then put the weight on. It does take quite a while.

It needs to push out all the air and form a steam vapor cloud in the canner.
 

Uzi2

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Your processing time begins when the canner has come up to pressure, not when you put the weight on.

Once it is up to pressure, you will have to adjust your heat down to maintain that pressure. You'll find the sweet spot and begin your process clock. Better a few minutes over time than under.
 

headednorth

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Yes, wait for uninterrupted steam then allow that to flow for a few minutes then put the weight on. It does take quite a while.

It needs to push out all the air and form a steam vapor cloud in the canner.
Ive watched a bunch of vids but it seemed like it was taking forever and I started to think maybe I was supposed to go by the sound of the venting. Seems like whenever I think I have a steady stream it starts to stutter again. Been prob a good 15-20 min maybe. All AMerican #921 fwiw
 

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Ive watched a bunch of vids but it seemed like it was taking forever and I started to think maybe I was supposed to go by the sound of the venting. Seems like whenever I think I have a steady stream it starts to stutter again. Been prob a good 15-20 min maybe. All AMerican #921 fwiw
As the steam forms, it condenses and drops back into the water....that's the sputtering you hear. Once a good continuous vapor cloud drives out all the air it will stop, that is when you put the weight on.

Mine takes almost 20 mins with my burner. A big turkey cooker burner with a huge flame will bring it up to temp quicker but you still have to vent off the air.
 

Uzi2

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You go by the visual steam plume.....not by the sound. It should push out a solid steady steam plume before putting on the weight.
 

headednorth

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You go by the visual steam plume.....not by the sound. It should push out a solid steady steam plume before putting on the weight.
Thanks, first time so just seems like its taking a while. Guessing the people making vids on Youtube are fast forwarding through that part of the process so people dont have to stare at a pressure cooker for 20+ minutes doing nothing, lol. Makes it seem like a long time when youre doing it in real life maybe.

Also Im thinking that since Im doing only one bag of carrots which only filled 2 quart jars that less jars equals more empty space in the cooker so maybe takes longer to fill with steam that way?
 

Uzi2

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Thanks, first time so just seems like its taking a while. Guessing the people making vids on Youtube are fast forwarding through that part of the process so people dont have to stare at a pressure cooker for 20+ minutes doing nothing, lol. Makes it seem like a long time when youre doing it in real life maybe.

Also Im thinking that since Im doing only one bag of carrots which only filled 2 quart jars that less jars equals more empty space in the cooker so maybe takes longer to fill with steam that way?
Not really......if there was seven quarts of food in there thats a big heat sink that needs to come up to temp. Water just absorbs emense amounts of heat before it begins to boil.

Also has to do with the btu output of the heat source.

How much water did you put in the canner before the jars went in?
 

headednorth

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How much water did you put in the canner before the jars went in?
About 2"

Just got to the point where it was more or less steady. Got the weight on now

eta- steady stream, 10 minutes then weight
 
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Uzi2

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About 2"

Just got to the point where it was more or less steady. Got the weight on now

eta- steady stream, 10 minutes then weight
Yes, steady steam, wait ten minutes then apply the weight.

I don't know how big your canner is, just follow the directions if you have them or look them up for how much water to start with.
I think mine takes more than that.

After cool down, I'm curious as to how much water remains. Make note of it if you would please?
 

headednorth

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Tbh, I was starting to wonder if all the water was going to boil off it was running so long.
 

Uzi2

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Tbh, I was starting to wonder if all the water was going to boil off it was running so long.
It might but doubtful. Water expands about 3000 times its size when it is turned into steam.....a little water makes a lot of steam.

With the processing time for carrots @ 30mins you should still have some water left. I would look up the recommended starting amount though so you can be sure for future longer process times. Meats take 90 minutes for quarts and you don't want to run out of water and crack a bunch of jars and waste several pounds of meat.
 

headednorth

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So processing done, heats been off and gauge is at zero. I jiggle the vent and still sounds like some pressure in there. Is it ok to just take it off or will that have any adverse effects? Crack the jars maybe?
 

headednorth

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About 3/4" of water left in the pot (measured from the tray on the bottom not bottom of the pot). Also smells like carrots and jars def lost some water.

20200508_231557.jpg
 

Uzi2

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So processing done, heats been off and gauge is at zero. I jiggle the vent and still sounds like some pressure in there. Is it ok to just take it off or will that have any adverse effects? Crack the jars maybe?
About 3/4" of water left in the pot (measured from the tray on the bottom not bottom of the pot). Also smells like carrots and jars def lost some water.

View attachment 355443
Ok on the water in the jars decreasing....some of it was driven into the carrots as they cooked. The reason you smell the carrots is because the jars "burp" out excess air as the contents heat up and expand, it can also drive out some water from the jars.

You never want to have a rapid decrease in pressure, it could crack the jars. You can't rush the process.

Does your canner have a pop up indicator like the one pictured near the outer circumference of the lid?image.jpeg

If it does, that is what you use to start your venting time when starting. When that pops up, the vapor cloud inside is building up and driving off the air. You watch the steam plume until it puts out a steady non sputtering plume, usually about ten minutes, then you put on your weight and build pressure. When pressure comes up to recommended value for your altitude, that is when your processing time starts.

When cooling down, if your canner has that pop up indicator, that pop up will drop, indicating that there is zero pressure in the canner. Never remove the weight to reduce pressure.

So how did the jars seal......did the lids depress on top? ( indicating a vacuum)
 
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headednorth

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Ok on the water in the jars decreasing....some of it was driven into the carrots as they cooked. The reason you smell the carrots is because the jars "burp" out excess air as the contents heat up and expand, it can also drive out some water from the jars.
Water had an orange tinge to it as well. Figured that along with the lowered water in the jars meant the water was getting sucked out somehow. The fact that the water level in the jars dropped wont be a problem? Theres some carrots on the top that arent covered by water anymore.

Does your canner have a pop up indicator like the one pictured near the outer circumference of the lid?
No, not a pop up. Just looks like a rubber plug that I assume is designed to blow out under excessive pressure

So how did the jars seal......did the lids depress on top? ( indicating a vacuum)
Yes both sealed. Picked both jars up by the lid (with ring removed) and was able to hold jar up by the lid, so sealed I would say.

Holy shit though it took a long time for the air to get out of the cooker, at least a good 40-50 min. I finally put the weight on even though I would occasionally get a good stream of steam but every once in a while it would disappear for a few seconds and come back. Started to feel like I was going to boil all the water off so when it got to the point where it was 80-90% solid steam I said good enough and put the weight on. I think Id still be waiting otherwise.
 

Uzi2

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Water had an orange tinge to it as well. Figured that along with the lowered water in the jars meant the water was getting sucked out somehow. The fact that the water level in the jars dropped wont be a problem? Theres some carrots on the top that arent covered by water anymore.

What did you start with for a water level in the jars? Was it about 1/2 inch headspace at the tops?

Loss of liquid in the jars will shorten the storage time of the contents. Use those jars first.

Pack the next jars more orderly and put a little less product in them so the water covers them more and be aware of your headspace on top. Bring the headspace up to 1/4-1/2 inch from the top.




No, not a pop up. Just looks like a rubber plug that I assume is designed to blow out under excessive pressure.

Ok that is the safety blow out plug.


Yes both sealed. Picked both jars up by the lid (with ring removed) and was able to hold jar up by the lid, so sealed I would say.

That's good, you got a good seal.

Holy shit though it took a long time for the air to get out of the cooker, at least a good 40-50 min. I finally put the weight on even though I would occasionally get a good stream of steam but every once in a while it would disappear for a few seconds and come back. Started to feel like I was going to boil all the water off so when it got to the point where it was 80-90% solid steam I said good enough and put the weight on. I think Id still be waiting otherwise.

The reason it took so long was because there was only two jars in the canner......more jars equals less free volume inside to have to turn into a steam vapor cloud.
Next run, put three inches of water in it and fill the canner with jars.

My canner says 5 qt. jars minimum.
For all the time and energy involved, it doesn't make sense to not run it full.

Be patient......don't rush the process. It takes what ever time it takes, be patient and do it right lest you lose a bunch of good food (especially meats).
When I pressure can it's an all day affair.....from early morning to late evening. Usually get about five or six batches done depending on process times. That equates to about 3 cases of quarts of green beans or about 2 cases of qts of chicken breast(which takes 90mins to process).
EXPAND THE ABOVE FOR MY INTERLEAVED ANSWERS.^^^^^^^^

Good for you getting started!! Once you get a couple of sessions under your belt, you'll be more confident about the whole thing.
It's very rewarding to preserve your own food and you'll like the result.
 

headednorth

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Good for you getting started!! Once you get a couple of sessions under your belt, you'll be more confident about the whole thing.
Yep, Im old enough and have started enough new endeavors that I now know going into it that its a learning process and I dont beat myself up over minor setbacks anymore. Before I even start I assume its not going to be perfect for a while and thats just how it is. Wish I had learned that earlier in life tbh.

What did you start with for a water level in the jars? Was it about 1/2 inch headspace at the tops?

About an inch of headspace. Water level was even with the carrots fwiw. Should there be more space between the food and the top of the water? Iow, I had the carrots even with the water and they were both around an inch from the rim.


The reason it took so long was because there was only two jars in the canner......more jars equals less free volume inside to have to turn into a steam vapor cloud.
Next run, put three inches of water in it and fill the canner with jars.

My canner says 5 qt. jars minimum.
For all the time and energy involved, it doesn't make sense to not run it full.


Yeah I was thinking that as the process was going on. All the time and gas for two jars, but it was more of a learning experience than anything. Just wanted to get started and get that first round under my belt. I had bought the equipment probably over a year ago and it has just been sitting. It was a success imo so Im looking forward to doing more.

Be patient......don't rush the process. It takes what ever time it takes, be patient and do it right lest you lose a bunch of good food (especially meats).
When I pressure can it's an all day affair.....from early morning to late evening. Usually get about five or six batches done depending on process times. That equates to about 3 cases of quarts of green beans or about 2 cases of qts of chicken breast(which takes 90mins to process).


Will do. Thanks for the help [thumbsup]
 

Uzi2

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Ok, sounds like you had the headspace correct.

I think packing the carrots in a little more orderly will yield better results.

Keep canning.....as tedious as it might seem, later down the road you'll be thankful you did it.
 

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Just dont fall asleep... i burned 5 gallons of beef stock so bad the coyotes wouldnt eat it..

all i had to do was shut off the stove.... but i wanted another 45 min... it was already perfect.
It wasnt the $20 of materials wasted it was all the time and cleaning required...
 

headednorth

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Round 2 today. Potatoes.

Two quarts each of russet and yellow. Went much smoother this time. Cooker calls for 2-3" of water. Last time I split the difference and put in 2.5". This time I went with 3". Plus total of 4 quart jars rather than 2. Vented much quicker this time. Also water level inside jars was maintained. Plenty of water left in the cooker as well. Last time I only had around 3/4" when I was done. Overall an improvement. Small kitchen so its tough but Im making it work.
 

Uzi2

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Round 2 today. Potatoes.

Two quarts each of russet and yellow. Went much smoother this time. Cooker calls for 2-3" of water. Last time I split the difference and put in 2.5". This time I went with 3". Plus total of 4 quart jars rather than 2. Vented much quicker this time. Also water level inside jars was maintained. Plenty of water left in the cooker as well. Last time I only had around 3/4" when I was done. Overall an improvement. Small kitchen so its tough but Im making it work.
Excellent!

Suggestion......before you continue to do a bunch of stuff, open one of each product and test them for taste, texture. Some things are better frozen, some are better canned.

Frozen meats give you more preparation choices than if the meat was canned. Frozen boneless chicken can be cut up for a stir fry, cutlets, chicken soup, fried to be cut up with kimchi and rice, cordon bleu, ala king, etc.

Canned chicken makes the best chicken salad!

Try doing some boneless chicken breast or a cheap chuck roast......you'll be surprised at how tender a cheap cut of beef can be and with a bullion cube it will taste great.
 
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peterk123

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@Uzi2 is a wise man. Some great comments above. I am a huge fan of pressure canned chuck roast. Buy the cheapest ugliest meat you can find. Pressure canning turns it into mouth watering, fall apart on your plate cuts of meat. Million things you can do with it. I have about 30 pounds or so canned right now.

I can chicken but it is thighs and drumbsticks for the dog. Agree with Uzi here as well that frozen gives you more options. Now, if prepare a huge load of chicken soup; well that is a different story. The stuff for the dog is fine though. Actually smells like canned tuna :)

Good job on the potatoes. I can potatoes, usually 10 pounds at a time. They are one of those things that are just better when canned. Instant mashed potatoes, fries, baked, or thrown into a soup. I have found that I prefer to keep the chunks on the larger side so they don't get mushy on me. Then I cut them to size, depending what I am using it for. I start off by pouring about a half inch of water in the jar, then fill with potatoes, given it a shake as I go so the potatoes settle better. Once I am about an inch from the top with potatoes I fill it with water to a one inch head space.

Almost everything I pack now gets a half inch of water in the jar first. I found that it helps eliminate those little air pockets that can screw up your seal/headspace. Yes, I use a plastic thingy to get out the air, but starting with a bit of water guarantees no issues.

I can one to two times per week. My biggest issue right now is finding lids. They are becoming available but the prices are stupid high. I have actually started to test used lids. So far I have had no issues. Figured I better see if it works, just in case.
 

Uzi2

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@Uzi2 is a wise man. Some great comments above. I am a huge fan of pressure canned chuck roast. Buy the cheapest ugliest meat you can find. Pressure canning turns it into mouth watering, fall apart on your plate cuts of meat. Million things you can do with it. I have about 30 pounds or so canned right now.

I can chicken but it is thighs and drumbsticks for the dog. Agree with Uzi here as well that frozen gives you more options. Now, if prepare a huge load of chicken soup; well that is a different story. The stuff for the dog is fine though. Actually smells like canned tuna :)

Good job on the potatoes. I can potatoes, usually 10 pounds at a time. They are one of those things that are just better when canned. Instant mashed potatoes, fries, baked, or thrown into a soup. I have found that I prefer to keep the chunks on the larger side so they don't get mushy on me. Then I cut them to size, depending what I am using it for. I start off by pouring about a half inch of water in the jar, then fill with potatoes, given it a shake as I go so the potatoes settle better. Once I am about an inch from the top with potatoes I fill it with water to a one inch head space.

Almost everything I pack now gets a half inch of water in the jar first. I found that it helps eliminate those little air pockets that can screw up your seal/headspace. Yes, I use a plastic thingy to get out the air, but starting with a bit of water guarantees no issues.

I can one to two times per week. My biggest issue right now is finding lids. They are becoming available but the prices are stupid high. I have actually started to test used lids. So far I have had no issues. Figured I better see if it works, just in case.
Used lids are fine for pressure canning as long as you clean and inspect them and make sure they're not dented and the sealing rubber is intact. Depending on the vacuum that was on the jar it was removed from they can get bent and may not sit right on the glass.
I've been buying lids almost everytime I go to the store, usually grab 6-8 boxes of them. I also buy the jars with lids so that eliminates having to use the others.

Rings......got bins full of them removed from shelved jars.

I'll have to try canning some potatoes. My wife despises store bought canned potatoes but I keep some around just for "emergency" use.
 

peterk123

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@Uzi2 I have started reusing lids. twenty used ones so far and one of them is on the second go around. 100% success! You are saving me a fortune :)

Oh, and do the canned potatoes. I cannot recommend them enough for frying them in a fryer with oil. Twice fried is the secret. Take the canned potatoes and throw it in the fryer for about five minutes. Do all your batches, letting them cool and dry out for about ten minutes. Then back into the fryer until crispy and brown. It is awesome.
 

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supplies- Wholesale Glass Containers, Lids, & More | Fillmore Container Bulk lids are avalible, along with jars. they shipped fast and everything was packed well. (got 10 cases of US made qt jars and a sleeve of lids. ) they came out with shipping a maybe 1.50 per case more than local prices pre covid.
 
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