Tips For Testing Your Pressure Canning Gauge


by Shelly Barnes, Extension Agent, Family, and Consumer Sciences, Wilson County, TN

Extension News You Can Use

Test Your Pressure Canner Gauge Annually

Just getting in on the food preservation craze, or been canning as long as you can remember? Either way, it’s important to keep your pressure canner tuned upright!  The University of Tennessee Extension offers pressure canner gauge testing so you can check to see if your pressure canner gauge is displaying an accurate pressure reading. Without an accurate pressure gauge, you can place those that eat your home-canned food at risk for dangerous foodborne illnesses, such as botulism.


Have yours tested for free at Nona Lisa Pizzeria in Watertown on June 24th from 3-7.  Shelly Barnes, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent, will be on hand to talk all about food preservation including canning, freezing, or drying and answer your burning questions!  Stop by to enter to win the most comprehensive food preservation manual available, So Easy to Preserve!


Some gauges can be removed easily, but others can feel like they are cemented to the lid. If you can’t or don’t want to remove it, bring the whole lid, and the testing can be done while the gauge is attached to the lid.


If your gauge is off by more than 2 pounds of pressure (psi), your gauge is not accurate and the food you are processing may not be cooked thoroughly or processed accurately. The next step would be to send the gauge in to the manufacturer who can replace it. While testing your gauge, Barnes can also inspect the lid for proper seals and vents.


Weighted gauges use a weight that causes the loud “jiggle” sound that most people commonly associate with home-canned foods. The weighted gauges do not need to be calibrated but should be evaluated for cracked gaskets and clogged steam vents.


It is best to do this test annually, at the beginning of the summer, before you need to use the canner. Don’t wait until the last minute for a test, as you need to allow for time for sending in the gauge if necessary.  Testing is free and scheduled through Shelly Barnes.  If you cannot make this event, schedule Barnes to come to you to test your canner gauge free of charge!  UT Extension has resources on food preservation, including pressure canning, and recommends following tested recipes and safe food handling when preserving food.  Contact Barnes for all your food preservation questions or concerns today!


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

For more information on this or other family topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at [email protected] or 615-444-9584 ext 105.

Canning Green Beans


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here