It’s never too early to start planning ahead for the coming canning season. Take the time now to check the various parts of your pressure canner for safety, usability and accuracy. This will save you from having to find canner parts at the last minute.
Your pressure canner may have a dial gauge for indicating and regulating the pressure. It is important that dial gauges be checked for accuracy each year before use. Weighted gauges do not require testing.
The USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning recommends that dial gauges be replaced if they read high or low by more than 2 pounds at 5, 10, or 15 pounds of pressure (USDA, 2009, Revised 2015). High readings indicate that the product is under processed and presents a food safety risk. Low readings cause over processing and may indicate that the accuracy of the gauge is unpredictable.
Dial gauge testing
UNH Cooperative Extension will test gauges at no charge using a Presto® Dial Gauge tester. Presto® gauges can be checked for accuracy as well as some older models of canners from National, Magic Seal, Maid of Honor, and Kook-Kwick.
For specifics on other models of pressure canner gauges, please check with the manufacturer. All American for example, has been selling their pressure canners with both a dial and weighted gauge for each unit. Weighted gauges do not need to be tested.
Steps to send in your pressure gauge:
- Carefully remove dial gauge from canner and package in foam, bubble wrap or newspaper to avoid shipping damage.
- Ship gauge only. If you cannot remove the gauge from the canner lid, send canner lid with the gauge attached.
- Gauges are checked within three* working days of receipt and shipped for return.
- Please include your name, mailing address and phone number in the package.
- Enclose a check payable to UNH Cooperative Extension for return postage.
* Please expect delays while Extension offices, including the Education Center, are closed to the public.
UNH Cooperative Extension Education Center
329 Mast Road, Suite 115
Goffstown, NH 03045
For more information, call 1-877-398-4769
Replacement gauges and other parts (e.g. gasket, sealing rings, safety plugs, and racks) for pressure canners are often found at stores that sell food preservation equipment such as hardware or farm stores or directly from canner manufacturers. When ordering parts, be sure to provide your canner model number and describe the parts you need.