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Ensure food safety by testing pressure canner gauges before canning

Posted 9/18/2018

water pouring into jar of vegetables

Pressure canner gauge testing should be part of preharvest preparations, because faulty gauges may compromise the safety of the food being canned. Photo by Joy Newton.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers gauge testing for food safety

Pressure canning is the safest method for canning low-acidity foods, such as meats, seafood and poultry; as well as lower-acid fruits and vegetables, such as beans and corn. However, gauges are not always accurate, which can be hazardous to the safety of the food.

Gauges showing 2 pounds more or less than the actual pressure in the pot means the gauge is faulty. If a pressure gauge is found to be faulty, an experienced canner can make adjustments in cooking time to make up for the inaccurate gauge. Or, better yet, the canner can replace the gauge for about $10 to $20.

Pressure canner gauge testing is available at the following locations:

  • Elko County Cooperative Extension, 701 Walnut St. in Elko. To schedule a test, call 775-738-7291. Testing is free.
  • Washoe County Cooperative Extension, 4955 Energy Way in Reno. To schedule a test, call 775-784-4848. Testing costs $5 per gauge.
  • Clark County Cooperative Extension, 8050 Paradise Road in Las Vegas. To schedule a test, call 702-257-5534. Testing is free.
  • Northeast Clark County, 1897 N. Moapa Valley Blvd. in Logandale. To schedule a test, call 702-397-2604. Testing is free.
Each test takes about 20 minutes. Individuals wanting to test their gauges:

  • Should call their county office before bringing in the gauge to ensure qualified testers are available.
  • Need to bring the whole lid with gauge and gasket.
  • Are welcome to drop off their lids and pick them up at a later time.

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