Cleaning, storing canners
When canner lids are brought to an Extension office to have the gauge tested for accuracy, we see a variety of cleanliness in the way they have been stored. As canning season winds down, it’s time to clean and store the equipment for next year. Here are some tips for pressure canners.
Clean the vent and safety valve with a clean string or small piece of cloth through the opening. Check to make sure the safety valve is free of debris and operates freely. It’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s instructions. If a paper manual is not available most likely the company’s website will have an online version.
Check the gasket for cracks and food debris. The gasket is the rubber or rubber-like compound that helps seal the edges of the canner and lid to prevent steam from escaping. Gaskets are removable for cleaning or replacement. If needed, new gaskets can be ordered from the canner manufacturer or found at hardware stores. Some canners do not have a gasket and use a metal-to-metal seal, so again check the manufacturer’s directions.
If the inside of canner has darkened, fill it above the darkened line with a mixture of one 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.
Store the canner with crumpled clean paper towels in the bottom and around the racks. This will help absorb moisture and odors. Place the lid upside on the canner. It is not recommended to put the lid on the canner and seal it.
Designate a clean, dry storage area for your canning equipment and utensils. Use storage boxes, stackable racks and other organizer accessories to make a storage center. Next spring you’ll be ready for another year.