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Old 06-02-2011, 10:02 PM   #1
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Steam Water bather or Pressure canner?

For my first batch of Jam, we used a enamel water bather canner to heat seal the jars. My mother in law has a pressure canner and brought that over for me to use. Which is better? Or what are the pros and cons of both methods?

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Old 06-02-2011, 10:05 PM   #2
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I follow the recommendations of the manufacturer. I always use the pressure canner for my tomatillo green sauce, chili, and for salsa. I've never used it for jam.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:06 PM   #3
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A pressure canner is a must for canning certain foods and not necessary for others.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:50 PM   #4
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The pressure canner isn't required for jam. I prefer the pressure canner, even for jam, because I never had a jar that didn't seal properly with pressure. YMMV
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Old 06-03-2011, 05:33 AM   #5
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Follow your recipe. If it gives times for both then you should be okay using either one. If it only gives times for water bath then use that as you won't know what the required time is for a PC.
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:37 AM   #6
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I would suggest getting the Ball canning book. It is great for canning times and it is relatively inexpensive. I think I got mine for like 5 bucks.
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:56 AM   #7
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I actually did pick up the ball "complete book of home preserving" book. It arrived from amazon yesterday evening! Super excited about that!

Here is my issue this morning.... I'm working with Figs. When researching online, they fall into the low acid group. Some say they need the pressure canner some say not. Its very confusing. The Ball book says to water bath the figs, as does the two other books I have, unless doing preserves.

When we did the hot water bath, the jam came out pretty as can be. My strawberry jam was pink and lovely. Set well in the jars. The batch in the pressure canner looks browner, has a layer of foamishnish (love that word, right?) on the top and did not set... it moves around in the jar. We did a set test, and it set perfectly for that. I'm thinking that we probably didn't do the pressure canner correctly, whether that be the correct time or what have you. I'm just not sure. I'd rather use the pressure canner because having a huge pot of boiling water around my kids scares the tar out of me. (I have 3 kids under 7) I know its the pressure canner and operator error because I did strawberry and an apple batch and both didn't set right.

I think I'm going to have to open each jar and redo the jam.
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ValeriGail View Post
I actually did pick up the ball "complete book of home preserving" book. It arrived from amazon yesterday evening! Super excited about that!

Here is my issue this morning.... I'm working with Figs. When researching online, they fall into the low acid group. Some say they need the pressure canner some say not. Its very confusing. The Ball book says to water bath the figs, as does the two other books I have, unless doing preserves.

I know its the pressure canner and operator error because I did strawberry and an apple batch and both didn't set right.

I would say that if the Ball Book said to use a water canner, I would use it. I have never had a jar that didn't set when using the water canner method.

Also, your pressure cooker might not be calibrated right. You might want to have it checked. If there is a problem with your pressure cooker I would be more worried about that than a pot of water around your kids. Those things can blow up.

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE canning. I made canned peaches and strawberry jam last year, and my friends just looked at me like I was a freak ( I guess people in their early twenties aren't supposed to like this sort of thing) Anyway... Everyone loved what I made and it turned out really wonderfully.

I am on the hunt for some strawberries that I can pick and turn into a beautiful jam.

Post some pictures of your fig jam when you get it sorted out, I would love to see it.
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:57 AM   #9
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recommendations for home canning have changed - hopefully your cnning book is of the latest info. there is indeed a lot of conflicted old/medium/new info 'on the web'

most bacteria are killed at below the boiling point of water, however the biggie - botulism - the big "if" with low acid foods - is not killed until 240'F - hence the recommendation for pressure canning (they reach higher temps)
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Old 06-04-2011, 06:24 AM   #10
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I've been meaning to get back here and reply but yesterday was one crazy day!

We totally redid the two patches over last night in a water boil. When I opened each jar, they just ran out like syrup. We decided to hold off on working with the pressure canner till my mother in law has time to actually be here to walk us through it. We think there is an issue with the canner... she thinks we are doing something wrong. It could be either one of those things.

I do plan on investing in my own pressure canner eventually, but for now the hot water bath does just fine. I wait till the little kiddos are in bed before I start my canning because having that much boiling water and kids running around worries me.. so, anxiety problem solved! LOL
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