The Difference Between Water Bath and Pressure Canners

1305 23Qt Canner leftI’ve been getting a lot of great questions from new and experienced canners alike. Today’s question comes from Sandy:

I am 60 and just learning to can. Never to late! Dopeople still do it in a pressure cooker like my grandma did or are their new and improved ways?

A great question – and it points out the need to explain the differences and purposes of water bath and pressure canners.

People use both the pressure canner and boiling water bath canner for canning and each has its own specific uses. Pressure canners must be used when canning low-acid foods such as all vegetables, meats, and mixtures of these. Boiling water bath canners are used for high-acid foods such as fruits, acidified tomatoes, pickles, and jams and jellies.  You need to get a good cookbook – the best is the book “So Easy To Preserve” from the University of Georgia or the USDA Guide to Home Canning.  Much of Georgia’s information is available at:

On this page there is a link to order the book

USDA Guide to Home Canning can be downloaded here:

The USDA Guide will take lots of time to download and lots of paper to print.

Hope this helps. And you are never too old to learn to can!

Thanks for asking such a great question, Sandy!


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