Canning food is a great way to save money, but it can be unsafe if not done properly. Canning in an instant pot is not an exception. This blog post will talk about how to can safely in an instant pot and share some tips for canning foods.
The most popular canning techniques are Pressure Canning and Water Bath Canning. Pressure canning is a safe canning method to use when you are working with low-acid foods. If you are canning high-acidic foods such as jams and jellies, it is better to use water bath canning or steam canning. When you are using an Instant Pot for canning, you cannot use the pressure canning method. You have to use steam canning or water bath canning. In this blog post, we will give you detailed steps so that you can safely can your produce using an Instant Pot.
Using an Instant Pot as a Pressure Canner
One of the most commonly asked questions is whether you can use an Instant Pot for canning. Here’s the answer:
Pressure canning using your instant pot is a big no. The reason behind this is simple. Pressure canning requires that the food inside the canner is processed at a specific pressure for safe canning, which is simply not possible using an instant pot.
To kill the bacteria inside your cans and preserve them, you have to bring up the temperature to 240-250 degrees Fahrenheit. And the only way to do this when you are home canning is by doing it under pressure.
This is where the problem comes up when using an instant pot as a pressure canner. You don’t know what the pressure is coming up to inside the pot. And even if you do, you have no way to test it for accuracy.
Keeping this in mind, it’s best to use your instant pots as a steam canner and safely canning foods suitable for steam canning.
You can always wash your jars with hot water to sterilize them either by hand or in the dishwasher. But did you know you can sterilize the jars using your instant pot as well?
- Inspect your jars to make sure there aren’t any chips or cracks in the rims as that will hinder the sealing process.
- Give your jars a quick rinse with soap and hot water and then you can start the sterilization process using your instant pot.
- Add one cup of water to your instant pot and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. White vinegar will help to kill the bacteria and also prevent any residue from forming on your jars.
- Place the trivet in your pot, so that the jars aren’t directly touching the bottom of your instant pot.
- Make sure the seal is seated properly on your instant pot lid and is not loose.
- Close the lid and set the valve to sealing. Select the steam cycle for 1 minute.
- When the cycle completes, lift out your jars carefully and fill them with hot water to keep them warm.
Steam Canning using your Instant Pot
- Place the trivet inside your instant pot and add about 3 cups of water or up to the trivet line. You can also add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to the water, although this step is optional.
- It’s important to process your food hot using hot jars. Your jars are already hot as they are filled with hot water. Depending on what produce you are canning, make sure you fill your jars while the food is still hot.
- Empty the hot water from the jar, put the funnel in, and add in the food up to a ½ inch headspace. Shake the jars to get out any air bubbles, or use a debubbler to do the same.
- Take a clean damp paper towel and wipe off the rim of the jar to get a good seal. Use a magnetic lid lifter to place the lid onto the jar and then screw on the ring until it is just “finger-tip” tight.
- Prepare all your jars using the same method and place the prepared jars into your instant pot.
- The next step is to close the lid and set the pressure valve is set to venting. Set the cycle to steam. Wait until you see steady steam rising from the venting valve and the float valve comes up to start your processing time.
- Once the float valve is up, start the processing time according to your recipe.
- When the time is up, you can either cancel the cycle on your instant pot or unplug it directly.
- Wait for the float valve to drop to open the lid to your instant pot.
- Carefully open the lid and use a jar lifter to carefully lift out the jars onto a cooling rack so that they can seal shut.
- Leave the jars undisturbed for at least 12 hours so that they can cool at room temperature. Once cooled, you can label the jars with their canning date.
Use high acid food: High acid foods are fruits, jams, tomatoes, and pickles for canning. You cannot can meat, poultry, etc with steam canning.
Use a tested recipe: Make sure you are using recipes for canning from a tested and trusted source.
Use pure steam: Make sure you test your instant pot for accuracy. When you are steam canning, make sure you start your processing time only after you there is a steady column of steam rising from the vent.
Use heated jars and heated food: If you use cold jars and cold food, the processing time you use will not be accurate. Also by using cold jars in a hot instant pot you run the risk of cracking the jars.
Adjust recipe according to elevation: If you are at 1000 ft or sea level, there is no adjustment necessary. However, as the elevation increases, you will need to increase the processing time.
- 1001 – 3000 ft: Increase the time processing time by 5 minutes
- 3001 – 6000 ft: Increase the time processing time by 10 minutes
- 6001 – 8000 ft: Increase the time processing time by 15 minutes
- 8001 – 10000 ft: Increase the time processing time by 20 minutes
Use processing that is 45 mins or less: Since our Instant Pots are small and there is a limited amount of water that we can add to it, the processing time must be limited to 45 minutes. This includes the time increased due to elevation.
Cool your jars at room temperature: The last thing to do is to allow your hot jars to cool at room temperature on cooling racks for at least 12 hours. Do not disturb the jars, don’t try to wipe off the water on them, just let them sit and seal shut.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the popping sound you hear when removing the jars from the instant pot?
The “pop” sound you hear is of the jars sealing shut. As you lift the jars from your instant pot, the hot air will escape from the jars and create a vacuum and create a good seal. The process of the hot air escaping and creating the vacuum is what causes the “pop” sound.
What if my jars don’t seal?
If any of your jars don’t seal, you can reprocess your food. The first step is to remove the jar’s lid to check if there are any knicks on the rim of the jar. If yes, transfer the contents to a new jar and reprocess them. If it still doesn’t work, store the jar in the refrigerator and consume it within a few weeks.
How long does it take for the seal to pop when canning?
It can take up to an hour or even longer for the seals to pop. You must leave the cans undisturbed for at least 12 hours before you check their seal. After 12 hours, you can remove the rings and check the seal. To test the seal, press gently on the center of the lid, if it doesn’t move, it means that the jar has been sealed.
How to tell if the canned produce has gone bad?
Ideally, if you have stored the cans correctly your canned produce won’t go bad. However, if you notice that the appearance seems off, or there seems to be an off odor, it’s best to discard the produce. Always make sure you are labeling your jars with their canning date so that you can rotate the jars accordingly and consume them in time.
Canning is a great way to preserve fresh and healthy foods all year round. Canning in an instant pot makes it quick and easy, but are some steps you need to follow to make canning safe. We hope you found this guide useful for all your instant pot canning needs! Check out some of our guides on home canning.