The Instant Pot is becoming more and more of a must-have kitchen utensil. It is both versatile and efficient. It has managed to replace multiple kitchen utensils and combine them into one super-convenient device.
With how versatile it is, can you can in an Instant Pot? To answer it in short, you can food in an Instant. You are, however, limited in the types of canning you can do.
In the rest of the article, I am going to delve a little deeper into this and see just what really is possible and is not possible in an Instant Pot as far as canning food is concerned.
There are basically two types of canning food. The first is water bath canning and the second is pressure canning. Pressure canning works best for foods that have low acid levels.
Water bath canning works best for foods that have high acid levels. The acids that are found naturally in these foods will kill off bacteria and prevent any risk of food poisoning.
A good method of canning low acid foods is to mix them with high acid foods and have that acidity aid in preserving low acid food.
This is usually achieved by adding low PH foods like lemon juice, citric acid or vinegar.
The 7 rules of water bath canning.
- Use High Acid Foods We’ve already touched on this but this is the first rule of safe canning in an Instant Pot. These include most fruits, jams, fruit butter, jellies, marmalade, pickles or tomatoes. Low acid foods include broth, chili, poultry, stew, stock, and vegetables.
- Use a canning recipe. Instead of canning fruit in its natural state, for example, make jams, lemon curd, apple butter and other.
- Use pure steam. Water boils at different temperatures depending on your altitude. Steam is produced when water gets to boiling temperature and the temperature of the steam is exactly the same as of the boiling water.
- Next up, use heated jars and make sure you use hot food in the jars as well. This is the best way of preventing your jars from cracking as well as ensuring that the processing times are not distorted.
- Adjust the recipe according to your elevation. If you are at a higher altitude, you will need to increase that processing time but this does not need to change if you are at sea level or slightly above it.
- Processing time for most canning should be 45 minutes or less. 45 minutes is the maximum amount of time you need for canning food.
- Lastly, put the jars on a cooling rack to cool. Do not put in a fridge or anywhere cold to hurry the process along. Allow the cooling to take place at room temperature. This allows the jars to seal properly.
I will now look at how we can achieve both water bath and pressure canning using an Instant Pot.
How to Can in an Instant Pot
The first thing you need to do is make sure that there are no cracks on the jars that you are using for canning. Next up you can sterilize your jars in the Instant Pot.
Put a bit of water and vinegar and then load your jars on the trivet. Close the Instant Pot and set the vent to seal. Start the steam cycle and run it for 1 minute.
Now for the steaming process, pour your water and a bit of vinegar into the Instant Pot. Next up, pour your food into the hot jar leaving a ¼ inch headspace.
Clean the rim of the jar. This ensures that you get a tight seal each time. Put the lid on and make it fingertip tight. His means that the moment you start to feel any resistance, you stop.
Repeat this process with all your jars then load them into your Instant Pot. Put on the lid then set to venting and not sealing.
This is very important to remember. Set to steam and wait for the float valve to come up. Once the float valve has come up, you can now start timing your processing.
Once you have reached the recommended processing time for that food type, switch the Instant Pot off then allow the pressure to come down.
This takes roughly about 2 minutes. Once the float valve comes down again, carefully open the Instant pot and take out the jars and put onto a cooling rack and leave them undisturbed for about 12 hours.
Be careful when you are taking out the jars from the Instant Pot not to burn yourself. That’s how you steam or water bath can in an Instant Pot. Next up I will look at how to pressure can in an Instant Pot Max.
Instant Pot Max Pressure Canning
When the Instant Pot Max was introduced onto the market, it had an added feature that was canning. We have just seen how you can use an Instant Pot for canning.
People figured out how to do his by themselves but it wasn’t a feature that came with the Instant Pot. The market spoke and the makers of Instant Pot answered by adding the canning feature in the Instant Pot Max but just how effective is this canning feature?
I am going to look into this and more in the rest of this article. The idea of canning food is to preserve it and increase its shelf life but just how safe is it to can food in an Instant Pot.
Health and food safety organizations and even Instant Pot themselves have warned that canning food is not a simple “press of a button process”.
There are a lot of steps involved and you need to take certain measures in order to make sure that you kill off all harmful bacteria during the canning process.
Pressure canning requires the right combination of time and temperature. There really is nothing magical about the pressure but that you need to ensure the right heat to kill bacteria is reached and that the heat is maintained for the right amount of time.
Pressure canning is used mainly for low acid foods. Though the Instant Pot Max was touted as the first USDA approved electric pressure cooker for home canning,
it has not yet been approved for all foods so this statement needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. As already stated in this article,
altitude plays a part when it comes to canning and you cannot can in the Instant Pot Max if you live at an altitude above 4800 feet. If this is the case with you then you need to take this into consideration.
What is Pressure Canning Exactly?
Pressure canning is when you preserve food by bringing it to a temperature of 240 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate the risk of spoilage from the bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum or botulism for short.
It can be killed at a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit but its spores can survive and spread so they need a temperature of between 240 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit to kill them off.
The Instant Pot Max claims it can maintain a steady pressure of 15PSI which keeps the temperature at a steady 240 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
What this all means is that the jury is still out as to whether you can safely pressure can in an Instant Pot up until the USDA gives it the green light. I would love to hear your comments and questions in the comments section below.