It is that time of year again. We are dusting off our pressure canners and boiling water bath canners getting ready to preserve our fresh produce. Yet before you jump into the kitchen, be sure that your equipment is not outdated or overused.
Who can tell me if my equipment needs to be replaced?
Your local FCS Extension Agent can test your canning equipment for you... and it is a FREE service! To find your local FCS agent, go to our website http://www.ext.vt.edu/
And clock on local offices and research centers. From here you can see what agents work for your county, even if they are not housed there.
What should I bring to the Extension Office?
This is something you will want to discuss with your FCS agent, however we have special equipment to test out your dial gauges, making sure they are still reaching the right pounds of pressure (psi). We will make recommendations for replacing or adjusting your cooking time/pressure if necessary. We can also check your rubber seals along the rim of your canner's lid and provide you with places to order replacement parts.
Does all of my equipment need to be replaced every year?
Not necessarily; some items like your canner, jars, metal bands, tongs and racks can be reused each year as long as they are not dented, rusted, broken or dry rotted. Other items like the lids need to be replaced after only a single use.
I'm not sure if I have a dial gauge or a weighted gauge; and which can you test?
Here at the office, we have the equipment to test dial gauges. Weighted gauges do not have the glass front or needles; they are rotatable with the numbers 5, 10, and 15. There is a picture at right to show you the weighted gauge.