Home Pressure Canner Gauge Testing Day – Aug. 1 in Watertown

Farm Forum

SDSU Extension is offering pressure gauge testing for home canning units at the Codington Extension Complex on August 1. To have the dial gauge tested on your canner, bring your pressure canner lid with the attached gauge to the Regional Center before or on August 1. Dial gauges for pressure canners should be tested every year.

The use of a dial or weighted gauge to maintain the correct pressure and temperature is needed to safely can low acid foods. Dial gauges indicate the pressure in the canner, and it is up to the person using the canner to regulate the pressure by controlling the temperature of the burner the canner is setting on. Weighted gauges indicate and regulate the pressure. They often “jiggle” several times a minute or keep rocking gently to maintain the correct pressure.

Over time a dial gauge may not maintain accurate pressure. The correct pressure inside the canner creates a saturated steam chamber reaching 240 F. This temperature is needed to destroy Clostridium botulinum (C. bot) spores. C. bot spores survive and grow in a low acid, anaerobic (no oxygen) environment. When C. bot grows, it produces a deadly toxin called botulism. Examples of commonly home canned low-acid foods include meat, poultry, and vegetables (primarily green beans and carrots).

According to Lavonne Meyer, SDSU Extension Food Safety Field Specialist, “It is important that the dial gauge pressure canner you are using is accurate. SDSU Extension can test the accuracy for you.” If you have questions regarding your pressure canner, bring in the whole canner and visit with Meyer. She will conduct the testing, and can answer questions you may have regarding your canner and food preservation practices. Several different fact sheets that include tested canning recipes will also be made available.

Pressure Canner Testing Day in Watertown is August 1, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM, Codington County Extension Complex, 1910 W. Kemp Ave., Entrance B. 605-882-5140. If you have questions regarding pressure canner testing day contact Lavonne Meyer through email or phone ( or 605-782-3290).

Meyer also reminds people to call AnswerLine for food preservation questions (1-888-393-6336). SDSU Extension (along with Minnesota and Iowa) offers AnswerLine to provide information and resources for consumers with home and family questions. Or, visit AnswerLine’s website at