Canner Testing & Food Preservation

North Central food preservation newsletters

Jan/Feb 2022 (canning quick breads, 2-piece lids)      Mar/Apr 2022 (pickling eggs, Easter egg safety)     May/June 2022 (sweet spreads, canning with less sugar)  July/Aug 2022  (testing canner lids, summer squash)

Quick Tips for Educators & Staff answering food preservation questions

Testing Dial Gauge Canners toolkit

NOTE: The Presto testing unit  is used to test gauges for National, Magic Seal, Maid of Honor and Presto brand canners only. The All American canner is a weighted gauge canner with a reference dial; do not use the Presto testing unit on an All American canner.

Interactive Map of Dial Gauge Testing locations

Follow these 6 Steps for Testing Dial Gauge Canners (available as a printable reference).

  1. Have the master gauge calibrated. Presto Industries (Eau Claire, WI; 715-839-2121) offers free calibration for master gauges. A sample letter requesting calibration services is available. Master gauges must be calibrated every year before use.
  2. Prepare dial gauge testing report form to use. The UW-Extension canner tester report must be used; it includes proper liability language. BEFORE making copies of the document, edit the footer with the name of the county, e.g. …In consideration of the Dane County Extension Office….and Dane County and…… A master copy of the form is here.
  3. Prepare the ‘Quick Tips for Safe Preserving’ for consumers and make copies. At the bottom of the page, include contact phone and email information for a local educator in case of follow-up questions. Please ask colleagues before listing their name and contact info!  Colleagues may be able to assist, consult this map.
  4. Staff the service. Pressure canner gauge testing is under the supervision of a trained Extension educator/support staff or a trained volunteer. Individuals may have been trained in-person or they can review the University of California video here. Office staff who support testing are considered trained if they review the training video. Colleagues may be able to assist.
  5. Test dial gauges. Dial gauges on pressure canners should be tested each year against a calibrated ‘master’ gauge. Weighted gauges on canners are not tested, they do not go out of calibration.  The All-American canner is a weighted gauge canner and should not be tested with the Presto gauge tester.
  6. Complete and sign the dial gauge report. Affix a sticker to the canner lid. The educator/staff doing the testing completes and signs the dial gauge canner testing report. The consumer must sign the report. Give the original copy of the report to the consumer and keep a second copy in the county office for 1 year, until the start of the next canning season.

         A sticker with the results of the gauge testing must be placed directly on the canner lid or on the top of the dial-gauge housing. Sticker template using  Avery 5160 return address labels is here.

Call Barb with questions 608-263-7383.

Note: Dial gauge canner testing units approved for use in county offices can be ordered from Presto.

Food Preservation Updates

Teaching Food Preservation

Powerpoint materials for you to download and edit when you teach home food preservation.

  • Tips for a Successful Year of Food Preservation –  Slides. The right equipment and the most up-to-date information will start the season off right.
  • Home Freezing of Foods –  Slides. Freezing is an easy method of food preservation. Find out how to freeze foods that your family will enjoy.
  • Canning Basics Slides. Whether pressure canning or canning in a boiling water canner, there are some basic steps to make sure canning is done right.
  • Making Jams and Jellies –   Slides. Learn how to make tasty fruit spreads that capture the taste of summer or fall.
  • Drying Fruits and Vegetables at Home –  Slides. Drying foods can be fun! Learn how to get started using this easy food preservation method.
  • Canning Vegetables Safely Slides. Turn up the heat (and pressure) to safely can garden vegetables.
  • Canning Tomatoes and Tomato ProductsSlides. Join us for tips on canning tomatoes tart and tasty.
  • Canning Fruits Safely Slides. The bounty of the orchard preserved for the winter, tips on canning fruits safely will be shared.
  • Time to Make Pickles–  Slides. Learn tips for making pickles that are safe enough for Grandma to enjoy (and tasty too).
  • Fermenting Foods at Home­Slides. Sauerkraut, genuine dills and yogurt are delicious fermented foods easy to prepare at home.
  • Storing Fruits and VegetablesSlides. Learn how to enjoy the bounty of farm and orchard for months to come.
  • Preserving  Meat Safely­ Slides. Dried, frozen, or canned – we’ll discuss tips for preserving safe, high quality meat.