Pressure canning is the only safe way to home can most vegetables and meats, but it is also used to preserve fruits, jams and jellies. The important thing to remember when pressure canning is to always use approved recipes, follow directions explicitly, and never leave the room when the pressure canner is in use.
Many people are afraid of pressure canning because it sounds more complicated than water-bath canning. But it isn’t! It’s actually very simple if you follow the directions. Problems that arise with pressure canning are usually associated with regulating pressure. However, pressures can be easily regulated by simply paying attention to the pressure gauge and turning the heat on your stove up or down as needed. Problems usually occur when people leave the room and forget about the rising or falling pressure. When pressures fall or rise to improper levels, you risk ruining your food or blowing up your kitchen. The latter is rare, but has been done. Yikes!
The University of California has a great tutorial on pressure canning, which includes pictures. For more information about preventing botulism when home canning, click here. For questions about pressure canning or recipe safety, refer to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, or the Utah State Extension Canning Resources webpage.
For some helpful videos on pressure canning, click on the links below: