After giving it quite a workout this season, it’s time to store my pressure canner for the winter. This canner was an investment for me–one that I want to last me for a long, long time. So at the end of each canning season, I need to take the time to be sure it’s cleaned and stored properly.
I do get water stains from hard water. I tried a remedy I have read about. You fill the canner with water as high as the water stains go. Then, for each quart of water you used, you add a tablespoon of cream of tartar. Dissolve the cream of tartar in the water and boil until the stains are gone.
Too late, I realized I didn’t have enough cream of tartar to match the seven quarts of water I needed. I dumped in all I had and boiled it for about 45 minutes. It made a significant improvement. I will definitely do this next year with the correct amounts. Below you can see the difference.
Next, I washed the canner body inside and out with warm soapy water. I gave this same treatment to the rack that fits inside. I rinsed both well and allowed them to dry while I worked on the lid.
Because I have a dial gauge, I can not submerse the lid in water. I removed the rubber gasket from the lid and wiped the entire lid with a warm soapy rag, then rinsed with a wet rag, careful to avoid getting the gauge wet. I dropped a needle threaded with embroidery thread down the vent pipe and rubbed the thread around the inside of the pipe to clean it. I could have used a small pipe cleaner if I’d had one.
You should check your manual or contact the manufacturer for specific instructions for handling the rubber sealing gasket if your canner uses one. For mine, I swished it gently around in some warm sudsy water, then rinsed it well and allowed it to air dry. This is a good time to examine the gasket for worn spots, tears, or nicks in the rubber. (Worn or damaged seals should be replaced.) Once it was dry, I placed it back inside the rim of the canner lid.
Now that all the parts are clean and dry, I can prepare the canner for storage. I placed a layer of clean, dry newspaper on the bottom of the canner. Then, I put the canning rack on top of that. I wadded up a few pages of newsprint and tossed them inside to help absorb moisture and odors that might accumulate over the next few months of non-usage.
I placed the weight inside the canner so I will know where it is next time I need it. The lid gets placed on top of the canner *upside down* and not sealed.
And now it’s ready to be stored on a shelf or in a closet until it is needed again. You may want to make a note to yourself or mark your calendar to make an appointment with your extension office next spring to get your dial gauge tested. This should be done each year before canning season begins.
I bought this canner a couple of years ago hoping it would meet all the canning needs I would ever have. With proper care and maintenance, replacing worn parts as needed, it should last me for as long as I’m able to use it.