How to Use a Weighted Gauge on a Pressure Canner

A weighted gauge is used on pressure canners to regulate how much pressure builds up inside the canner.

Pressurization is necessary to kill bacteria inside the food being processed, and controlling the correct amount of pressure is essential for safe food preservation. Once a pre-determined amount of pressure has built inside the canner, the weighted gauge will allow steam to vent, preventing additional pressure build-up, by rocking or jiggling as steam is released.

Place the canner in the center of the largest burner on your stove top. Fill the canner with two to three inches of hot water and place the rack inside. Add prepared, filled jars to the canner and place the lid on the canner tightly.

Turn the burner up to the maximum level of heat and allow the water inside the canner to boil. Watch for steam to begin to flow in continuous exhaust from the vent port. Allow the steam to vent for 10 full minutes.

Place the weighted gauge on the vent port and wait for the canner to build pressure. Listen for the weighted gauge to begin to jingle to indicate that pressure has accumulated inside the canner. Consult the guide for your pressure canner to find out how many times per minute the weighted gauge wiggles for each pound of pressure to help determine if the appropriate level of pressure has been reached.

Regulate the burner temperature as needed to maintain the proper amount of pressure inside the canner, as indicated by the amount of jiggling from the weighed gauge. Monitor the burner temperature throughout the processing time to ensure the correct amount of pressure is maintained.

Remove the canner from the burner once the processing time has been reached, and allow it to cool. Do not remove the weighted gauge while the canner depressurizes. Wait approximately 45 minutes once you have removed the canner from the heat source, before removing the weighted gauge. Remove the gauge and allow the canner to sit an additional 10 minutes to ensure depressurization, and then remove the canner cover, ensuring that you open the cover away from you.

Things You Will Need

  • Pressure Canner
  • Canning rack
  • Weighted Gauge

Tips

  • Consult your canner manual for the correct pounds of pressure needed for the food you are preserving.
  • Ensure your weighted gauge is rust free and undamaged before use.
  • Begin counting the jiggles from the weighted gauge once the gauge reaches consistent rocking, and then count the number of jiggles per minute to ensure you've reached the correct amount of pressurization.

About the Author

Elizabeth Otto has been writing professionally since 2003. She is a licensed emergency medical technician-intermediate with over 10 years of experience in the field. She has worked as a clinical assistant in family health and emergency medicine since 1995. Otto is a freelance writer for various websites and holds an Associate of Science in medical assisting from Commonwealth College.