UT/TSU Extension Recommends Safe Practices While Canning


It is time to can those delicious garden vegetables including green beans, which is what our Extension Explores program is focusing on in June! There are many ways to preserve foods, but the University of Tennessee says there are only three canning methods that are safely recommended. They recommend using the pressure canner, the boiling water bath canner, and the atmospheric steam canner. All other methods are unsafe and should not be used for preserving foods.


“The pressure canner is used to process food under pressure. The pressure canner is recommended for canning all foods in the low-acid group, including green beans! This group also includes all vegetables (except tomatoes), protein foods (meat, poultry, and fish), mushrooms, soups, and mixed vegetable recipes containing tomatoes,” states Mrs. Eichler, UT/TSU Extension FCS Agent. She emphasizes, “It is very important to process these foods in a pressure canner because of the risk of botulism, a potentially deadly food poisoning.”

A pressure canner is a heavy kettle with a lid that locks to prevent the escape of steam and build pressure. It has a safety valve to vent air. The pressure canner must have a rack to separate and keep jars off the bottom of the canner. Follow the manufacturer’s guide for the temperature and pressure for item preparation.

There are two types of pressure canners. One has a dial pressure gauge, and the other has a weighted gauge to control pressure. Use caution and carefully read the manufacturer’s directions that accompany the canner being used. The types and brands of canners differ somewhat in details of handling. Use the manufacturer’s recommendation for care of the canner. If a part of the canner needs replacing, check the manufacturer’s guide to find the best place to purchase.

The boiling water canner and atmospheric steam canner are recommended for canning high acid foods, such as fruits, tomatoes, foods with added vinegar, and fermented foods. Also use this method for jams, marmalades, conserves, and preserves.

For the boiling water method, any large, deep container with a metal rack and dividers to separate and hold jars off the bottom may be used. The water must be at 212°F. The water in the canner should be hot when canning raw packed foods. The jars should be covered with water by 1 to 2 inches. Be sure to process for the full recommended time.

Join the University of Tennessee Extension on Zoom to learn about different types of canners and how to process green beans and other low acid foods safely on Friday, June 18th at 10:00 a.m. To register, visit https://tiny.utk.edu/ExtensionExplores21.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching, and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state and provides equal opportunities in all programming and employment. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth, and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state, and national levels.  

For more information on this or other family topics, contact Aneta Eichler, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent for UT Extension in Cheatham County.  Aneta may be reached at615-792-4420or adodd2@utk.edu.