How to use a steam canner

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What is steam canning?

Steam canner is a easy water-bath canning method.

Steam canning is a method of preserving food in which jars of food are heated in a steam-filled canner to a temperature of at least 116°C. This process kills microorganisms and destroys enzymes that cause food spoilage.

What are the pros and cons of steam canning?


• Steam canning is a faster and easier way to preserve food compared to traditional water bath canning.

• The steam canning method can be used to preserve high-acid foods such as jams, jellies, fruits, and pickles.

• It takes less energy to operate a steam canner than a traditional water bath canner.


• Steam canning is not suitable for preserving low-acid foods such as vegetables and meats.

• Steam canning requires a specialized canner, which is more expensive than a large pot used for water-bath canning.

Steam canning orange chutney.

When using a steam canner, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembling the canner and check to ensure the pressure valves are in good working order.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate amount of water to use.

Allow the canner to cool before opening the lid to prevent injury from steam burns.

Foods must have a pH of 4.6 or lower for safe processing; research-tested and evidence-based recipes must be used and adapted for a steam canner; jars must be heated before filling, either hot or raw packed; regulate heat to prevent the canner from boiling dry.

Only ¼-pint, ½-pint, pint, or quart jars can be used; adjust the processing time according to altitude; follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembling and checking the pressure valves; use the appropriate amount of water as instructed; and allow the canner to cool before opening the lid to avoid steam burns.

Lemon juice made shelf stable with a steam canner.

How to use a steam canner safely?

1. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your steam canner.

2. Use the correct size canner for the size jars you’re using.

3. Place the canner on a flat, heat-resistant surface and fill the canner with water up to the jar rack.

4. Place the jars in the canner, making sure not to touch the sides of the canner.

5. Secure the canner lid and place the steam gauge, if your canner has one.

6. Turn the heat on high and wait for the canner to reach the correct pressure.

7. Once the correct pressure is reached, start the timer for the recommended processing time.

8. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and allow the canner to cool down for minimum of 5 minutes.

9. Remove the jars and place them on a heat-resistant surface, making sure to keep them away from drafts.

10. Cool the jars for 12-24 hours and then remove the lids and bands.

11. Check the seals on the jars and store in a cool, dark place.

Thank you for reading the article, we hope it furthers your knowledge about steam canning.

If you are within driving distance to Bloomfield’s Homestead you got the opportunity to attend a live canning class, that will give you confidence in using steam canners, water-bath and pressure canners safely.

Canning workshop at Bloomfield’s Homestead


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