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Old 05-21-2010, 07:26 AM   #11
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You don't need to fill you canner to capacity.

If you are waterbath canning, the reason you need the water about 2" above the tops is because as the boiling water moves around, that ensures that your jars are completely submerged in the 212*F water the entire processing time. Otherwise, parts of the jars may be exposed to the air for a portion of the processing, which is not 212*F.

If you are pressure canning, the water needs to come up only a couple of inches on the sides of the jars. The steam created in a pressure canner brings the inside environment of the canner to much higher than 212*F... depending on the pounds of pressure, about 240*F or more. These temperatures are required to kill the botulism spores present in less acidic foods (those with a pH above 4.6) than more acidic foods.
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:45 AM   #12
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Filling a canning pot "to capacity" is only for energy efficiency since the usual routine in years past was multiple loads. The more you could get into a canner the faster you were done. It is okay today to process just one jar if that is all you have or need.

For Water Bath Processing, many people will use a much smaller stock pot when doing just 2-4 pints or less. Unfortunately Pressure Canning is not as flexible since most people don't keep multiple size PC's and you cannot substitute something else.
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:57 PM   #13
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Actually, I just presure canned my first 4 pints of peas. The canner holds 7 pint jars, so I put 3 empty jars in with the 4 full jars and added a cpouple inches of hot water in the empty jars. I'm still not sure if the empty jars are needed or not. I haven't found a canning book that tells.

I really appreciate everyone's input.

Ken
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