Cleaning and Storing Canners
Canning season is winding down, but before you stow away those canners, follow these tips from the National Center for Home Food Preservation for best cleaning and storing practices:
- Clean the vent and safety valve with a pipe cleaner or small piece of cloth.
- Check the gasket for cracks and food debris.
- If the inside of canner has darkened, fill it above the darkened line with a mixture of 1 tablespoon cream of tartar to each quart of water. Place the canner on the stove, heat water to a boil, and boil covered until the dark deposits disappear. Sometimes stubborn deposits may require the addition of more cream of tartar. Empty the canner and wash it with hot soapy water, rinse and dry.
- If your canner has a dial gauge, go ahead and mark your calendar now for a time to have your gauge tested in early spring. Contact your County Extension Agent for information on checking the accuracy of the gauge. This should be done well in advance of canning season so that if the gauge tests off more than 1 pound of pressure at 5, 10, or 15 pounds, it can be replaced.
- Store the canner with crumpled clean paper towels in the bottom and around the rack. This will help absorb moisture and odors. Place the lid upside down on the canner. Never put the lid on the canner and seal it.
- Once your canner is properly stored, take time to inventory jars and two piece lids. If properly used and stored, jars can last indefinitely. As you empty jars during the winter, check for any chips or breaks, wash and store in a safe place. After canning, screw bands should be removed once the jars have sealed, instead of leaving them on the jars during storage. Wash and dry the screwbands completely and put them away in a dry place. Bands can be used over and over, unless they rust. The flat lid is used only once and then discarded after the jar of food is opened.
- Designate a clean and dry storage area for your canning equipment and utensils. Use clear storage boxes, stackable racks, and other organizer accessories to make a food preservation storage center. Come spring, you’ll be ready for another year!