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Seawolfe

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I am hoping that there are a few people here who also pressure can who can help me find the answers to some of my questions.

I recently achieved a long-term dream of owning a pressure canner. The main reason I wanted one was that when someone offers me a baby 15 lb bluefin tuna, or 10 lbs of albacore I could can that fish and have lovely canned fish and tuna as much as I like. Oh and beans and soups and stuff too.

We have so far successfully canned enchilada sauce, pinto beans, lima beans, garbanzo beans (hummus whenever we want!), beef stew, chicken and veg soup, split pea soup with ham, and veggie soup with lima beans and ham. My work lunches are now awesome.

Ok so my confusion is specific to the All-American type canner - where the pressure gauge is just for reference, and its actually the jiggler weight that controls the pressure. The manual states that one should let the jiggler jiggle for "1-4 times per minute". And they even have a very nice video of what a good jiggle is. To my mind that means there should be between 15 and 50 seconds between jiggles, right? So hang about near the canner and time the seconds between jiggles for the process - try to keep it between 15 and 50 seconds. And I think - there has GOT to be an easier way, am I over thinking this? I mean sometimes the jiggles are really long - like 15-20 seconds - is that too long? Does a 1 second jiggle count? I watch videos by other canners about this, and one guy just let the jiggler jiggle constantly (which the manual says not to) and one lady just brought hers up to 10 lbs on the dial and said that was good enough and never paid attention to the jiggler! Which to my mind is crazy because the manual says the gauge is just for reference and it can be + or - 2 lbs difference! So do I really need to do all this jiggle timing?

I've been looking for a good canning forum, but they are either largely inactive, or kinda scary with all the prepper drama. I mean, I guess I am sort of a prepper because I know disasters happen, but I dislike the glee in which some people anticipate when the "SHTF".

So if anyone has any advice or direction about pressure canning and jigglers and just WHY do all the official tomato recipes tell you to add acid even when pressure canning, I would love to hear it.
 
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dixiedragon

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Re: tomato - I have read that tomatoes have been bred to be sweeter and sweeter, meaning they have more sugar. So while a tomato 50 years ago didn't need extra acid to be safe for canning, the modern tomato does.

No idea about your other questions - contact your local extension office. Ours has literature on canning, and offers classes on canning. I have heard of groups of people (mostly ladies) meeting up at extension office facilities and having long canning days together.
 

girlishcharm2004

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I dislike the glee in which some people anticipate when the "SHTF".

So if anyone has any advice or direction about pressure canning and jigglers and just WHY do all the official tomato recipes tell you to add acid even when pressure canning, I would love to hear it.
Ahaha, I feel like I've been invited to get my geek-on. I classify myself as a survivalist and not a prepper. I know what you mean about that glee. :p

I thought the point of a pressure canner was so that you could can anything -- even meat, not just acidic foods. Unless it's outdated information, that one has stumped me. Sorry, I couldn't be of more help. But I would love to hear if anyone else has advice. I got one too and I'm confused about how to use it.
 

dixiedragon

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I thought the point of a pressure canner was so that you could can anything -- even meat, not just acidic foods. Unless it's outdated information, that one has stumped me. Sorry, I couldn't be of more help. But I would love to hear if anyone else has advice. I got one too and I'm confused about how to use it.
My understanding is that you need to add either acid (vinegar, lemon juice, citric acid) or salt to most things to help preserve them.
 

OliveOil2

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Seawolfe how exciting,the All American is the best! I don't have answers about the use of the actual caner, however there used to be a very active forum at Gardenweb, look at 'Harvest'. I haven't been on there for a few years, so don't know if they are all a bunch of preppers now, but didn't use to be. If the same people are still around I think you would be able to get answers.
 

Seawolfe

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Thanks all! I do understand the difference between high acid and low acid foods, and that water bath canning is only for high acid foods - and that modern tomatoes may not be as reliably acidic. What I don't understand is why I can reliably can chunks of elk in a jar in a pressure canner, yet if I pressure can tomatoes they say I still need to add acid. Personally I think its just a holdover, but was looking for some insight.

Re meeting up at the local extension office. I live in Long Beach, South Los Angeles County. Do we even have agricultural extension offices down here? I guess I should research that.
 

dixiedragon

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I have read that red meat is more acidic than white meat, so that's why beef is safe at fridge temp for longer than chicken. Maybe that's it?

Or maybe it's b/c meat isn't full of sugar like fruit and bacteria etc LOVE sugar?
 

navigator9

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It's been a long time since I had a pressure cooker, (and I miss it), but I never remember timing the jiggles. LOL You don't want it jiggling like crazy, but a nice steady jiggle should be OK. Mine didn't have a gauge, or a manual, which is probably why I didn't worry about how often it was jiggling. I grew up with a mother and an aunt who used a pressure cooker often and I can still hear it jiggling away on the stove. Also, I remember a trick to get the top off in a hurry.....set the cooker in the sink and run cold water over it. It takes the pressure down instantly and you can safely remove the top. I don't know why I was always in such a hurry, but I do remember that it works and it's safe. Lucky you, enjoy!
 

DeeAnna

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Got an All American canner myself. Hope I can help.

Okay, the weight thingy is what controls the pressure, right? So let's think about what the jiggling stuff is all about. When the weight jiggles, the canner is letting off a tiny bit of steam. Right after the jiggling stops, the pressure inside the canner is just a tiny bit under the pressure needed to jiggle that weight. The heat added to the canner allows the pressure to gradually build until it hits the max pressure, the weight jiggles, and the cycle repeats. This jiggling cycle keeps the pressure inside the canner under control.

If the weight doesn't jiggle at all, the pressure MIGHT be 10 psi (or whatever the weight is set for), but it might be quite a bit lower than that. Even if the dial says it's 10 psi, it might not be correct -- you're right that type of dial meter is close but not accurate. If the weight jiggles a ton of times per minute, you're wasting energy, and there's no point to that. Also you're wasting water, because every time the weight jiggles, it lets out a puff of water vapor. So if you're processing something for a long time, you don't want to be boiling off too much of the water inside.

What you want is a happy medium -- just enough jiggles of the weight to make sure the pressure is hovering right at that 10 psi mark, but not so many that you're wasting water and energy. "A few jiggles every minute" is the happy medium you're looking for -- you really truly don't need to stress out about an exact number of jiggles. Just get the heat under the canner adjusted so you can hear SOME pressure being relieved often enough so you know the pressure is where it needs to be.
 
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IrishLass

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Seawolfe, you may be overthinking things.

I have one of the 21 qt. All American pressure canners, but shame on me because I haven't canned anything in pressure mode yet (I've only water-bath canned in it so far). lol

When I first bought it a few years ago, though, I tested it in pressure mode with just water in it and all went well, but I don't remember the jiggles being evenly timed or spaced apart perfectly. Some jiggles lasted longer and/or shorter than others, but I played around and adjusted the heat to the point where I was in the ballpark of achieving about 4 jiggles or so within a span of about minute. What I understood from my manual is that the most important point of focus in regard to the jiggling is to not have the heat up so high that there is a constant flow of steam escaping because of the pressure weight being in a constant 'up' position. In other words, there is a crucial need for there to be intermittent moments within a minute's span where the weight is at rest. If the weight is in a constant 'up' position, that's a sign that too much pressure is building up and you better turn the heat down or else you might soon have an explosion on your hands. Just turn the heat down to the point that there are intermittent moments of rest, or about 4 jiggles or so within a span of a minute. Don't worry if they are not perfectly spaced apart like clockwork or anything like that. Like I said- the most important thing is to avoid having a constant stream of stream flowing out because of the weight being in a constant 'up' position.


IrishLass :)
 

Seawolfe

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Oh thanks DeeAnna and Irish Lass! Yes that helps a great deal. You're all right and I know Im overthinking it. I was even thinking of an app idea so that it could "listen" for the jiggles and sound an alarm if they were too fast or slow :-D
 

cmzaha

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I believe I mentioned to you I have canned a lot of Albie in my All American Canner. DeeAnna gave good advice. I get mine up to pressure and adjust my stove temp to the point a get a couple of jiggles every minute or so. I have to pay attention since I use an electric stove which adds another dimension. but I do not stress to much unless it starts to constantly jiggle then I do adjusting. Love my All American canner, but have never used it as a water bath canner, I use my cheapie water bath canner when I can something that just needs a water bath. LOL, let me know when you get albie or tuna and I will help you for a price.....
Forgot to mention, in my opinion Blue Fin does not can very nice, yellow fin and yellow tail can better. Of course Albie is on the top of the list
 
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Seawolfe

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Thanks Carolyn - ya I won't turn my nose up at Albacore or Yellowfin. I have been literally up to my neck in bluefin in the past, so Id like to have options if it happens again - we always try to eat as much as possible as sashimi first. But honestly some ended up as pet food!
If I do get another run Ill be sure to call you :)
 

Soapboiler

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Thanks all! I do understand the difference between high acid and low acid foods, and that water bath canning is only for high acid foods - and that modern tomatoes may not be as reliably acidic. What I don't understand is why I can reliably can chunks of elk in a jar in a pressure canner, yet if I pressure can tomatoes they say I still need to add acid. Personally I think its just a holdover, but was looking for some insight.
I think it's because the goal in pressure canning tomatoes isn't so much knocking out nasties such as botulism bacteria, but simply speeding up the cooking process vs a water bath canner. That's why we pressure can tomatoes vs using a water bath. On the other hand, the goal with pressure canning low acid foods is to kill off the nasties, and this is reflected in the cooking times required for all the food to reach a certain temperature for a certain length of time.

We pressure can with an older Mirro (well, it wasn't older when we bought it), which uses a weight to reach the required pressure (and temperature). Any drafts will affect the temperature, and, as a result, the pressure. I like to keep it as close to the recommended "jiggle" rate as possible. Since we prefer to can outside to keep heat out of the kitchen, this can be real "fun." I park my folding chair by the gas cooker regulator valve, and carefully adjust the temperature as needed. It's very easy to go too far in both directions. I also make sure the relief valve is pointed away from the house and everyone while I can. Never know.

The steadier you keep the temperature, the better results you get. Fluctuations can drive liquids out of the jars.

This is going to be Your Mileage May Vary territory, but I seem to have to reduce the temperature slightly through the canning process as I keep the weight at the proper "jiggle" rate.

For what it's worth, I prefer the weight over the gauge, as the latter has to be calibrated regularly to can safely.
 

Seawolfe

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I think it's because the goal in pressure canning tomatoes isn't so much knocking out nasties such as botulism bacteria, but simply speeding up the cooking process vs a water bath canner. That's why we pressure can tomatoes vs using a water bath. On the other hand, the goal with pressure canning low acid foods is to kill off the nasties, and this is reflected in the cooking times required for all the food to reach a certain temperature for a certain length of time.
Ok now that makes sense! Thanks so much :)
 

cmzaha

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I tried to have blue fin end up as pet food, but the cats would not eat it. ;) I also love it fresh as sashimi and that is it.
 

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