Canning is one popular way to preserve foods, but there are others such as fermentation.
These methods are used to keep foods for longer periods of time, which comes in handy for travelers or during the winter time.
Now, canning can be done in a couple of different main ways, water bath canning and pressure canning. Both of these methods however have to make you wonder:
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Can you do canning in an Instant Pot?
The answer is that you can in certain situations but not all. Also some types of canning are completely off the table.
Read on to find out what you can and can't do in an Instant Pot.
How Pressure Cookers Help With Canning
There are two different ways that a pressure cooker can help with canning a particular food item. The first deals with the temperature. Some items must be cooked at a high temperature to ward off bacteria. This is necessary because the food being canned does not contain enough acid to kill off harmful bacteria.
The second reason that an instant pot pressure cooker is helpful is because it helps cook the food product faster as the pressure can be controlled. This helps preserve the natural flavor of some food items.
But what can you actually preserve in an Instant Pot?
Foods That can be Pressure Cooked
It is important to know what foods can be pressure cooked and those that cannot. For example, most fruits cannot be pressure cooked because the heat is simply too intense, and the fruit will break apart. Fruit needs to be canned using a gentle method like the water bath method, which would boil the fruit.
Remember that high-acid foods do not have to be pressure cooked they can simply be water bathed, while low-acid foods need to be either pressure cooked to fully sanitize them of bacteria or brought to a high acid state with the addition of high acid foods or vinegar.
Why Low-Acid Foods Need to be Pressure Cooked
The reason that foods are boiled or placed under high temperatures is to remove moisture and kill bacteria. Highly acidic foods contain enough acid to help kill bacteria at low temperatures, but low-acidic foods like vegetables do not.
It is imperative that foods like vegetables are pressure cooked because bacteria can survive the canning process at lower temperatures. One type of bacteria that must be eliminated is Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria can lead to botulism, meaning that skipping this step can put you at risk of food poisoning.
Most low-acid foods cannot be canned without first boiling the food under temperatures around 240 to 250 Fahrenheit.
An instant pot pressure cooker can reach these temperatures is if it has temperature control that can be adjusted. The second way that one can make sure that the pressure cooker can get the job done is if the pressure rises to 15 psi. This is not always stated on the pressure cooker itself.
The important thing to keep in mind however is out of the box Instant Pot pressure cookers do not operate at 15 psi, it's closer to 11 psi and the temperatures inside rarely get beyond 240 degrees meaning pressure cooker canning temperature levels are not ever reached for any significant length of time. The safety of canning in this environment is simply not there.
How Hot Does the Instant Pot Get?
The manual should state the ideal temperature needed to reach 15 psi that is required for low-acid canning. It may be possible to download the manual for a pressure cooker if it has been misplaced or lost. It is very important to confirm that the instant pot pressure cooker can reach these temperatures before attempting to can.
It might be a good idea to take a peek at the USDA guidelines for food preservation in order to find out a little more about the types of foods that need to be pressure cooked before canning.
Be sure to use clean jars to can the food product after it has been processed. It is best to get canning products that are lead free, BPA free, and PVC free as these might be safer. The jar does not have to be presterilized, but lids should not be used more than once.
Clearly, the reason you want to use an instant pot pressure cooker to help can products is because it can help kill harmful bacteria and maintain the foods flavor.
Is Instant Pot Water Bath Canning a Good Idea
As for high acid water bath canning this is going to be perfectly fine if you have a larger model Instant Pot. The 8-quart instant pot may be capable of water bath canning small batches of high acid foods or pickled goods. Just go about it the smart and safe way. Use the proper accessories and take your time with the process.
If you do want to get into beginning canning then maybe you should consider getting one of these small pressure canners which are perfect for beginners to food preservation.
Click here to learn more about pressure cooker canning and some recommendations for the best pressure cannerscookers.