The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Getting By


July 10, 2019

The vegetables in the gardens have been looking abundant. With these observations, doing something with the produce is likely the thought swarming your head. If canning comes to mind, this is a good time to make sure you have all of your canning supplies ready. That produce will be ready before you know it. Particularly, if you are planning to can low-acid foods, how long has it been since you had your pressure canner dial-gauge tested?

Why should you have your pressure canner dial-gauge tested? A dial-gauge should be tested for accuracy. Inaccuracies can happen over time due to it getting dropped, hit, malfunctioning, etc. An accurate dial-gauge is necessary to be sure you are processing low-acid vegetables, red meats, fish and poultry correctly. If the dial-gauge is reading inaccurate, your canned goods may not be getting processed at the appropriate pressure and temperature necessary to kill bacteria and mold, such as the bacteria that causes botulism.

Where can you get your dial-gauge tested? The Chouteau County Extension office located at 1308 Franklin St (green building next to the courthouse) in Fort Benton is equipped to test the dial-gauges. If you cannot make it to Fort Benton, give our office a call and we will meet you at a convenient location.

What is the cost to have the dial-gauge tested or pressure canner inspected? There is no cost to test the dial-gauge, it is free.

Does a weighted-gauge needed to be tested? No, however, you should inspect the rubber gasket, if your pressure canner has one, to be sure it is flexible and soft, not brittle, sticky or cracked. (Do not rub with oil or grease it.) Also make sure any small pipes or vent ports with openings are clean and open all the way through. You will want to check these same parts on your dial-gauge pressure canner. The Chouteau County Extension office is also willing to check these parts for you.

Where can you find more information about canning and other types of food preservation? Always use reliable sources that offer current, research-tested procedures, recipes and timetables. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is an excellent reliable source at Contact Janell Barber, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, at 622-3036, or stop by in the green building next to the Chouteau County Courthouse at 1308 Franklin St in Fort Benton for more resources. Updated research has shown canning information published or handed down prior to 2006 may be incorrect and could pose a serious health risk.

Follow us on Facebook @ChouteauCountyExtension to keep up to date on what is happening in Chouteau County Extension and 4-H.

Montana State University, US Department of Agriculture and Montana Counties Cooperating. MSU Extension is an equal opportunity/affirmative action provider of educational outreach.


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