Articles & Recipes

Canning / Preserving Tips

August 18, 2018

Just as it does in baking, higher altitude affects home canning recipes. As elevation - or altitude above sea level - increases, water boils at lower temperatures that are less effective for killing harmful spoilage microorganisms.

     Heat processing directions in the Ball/Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving are stated for elevations of 0 to 1,000 feet (0 to 305 m), at which water boils at 212°F (100°C). When preserving at elevations higher than 1,000 feet (305 m), processing needs to be adjusted to extend the food's exposure to adequate heat to destroy microorganisms. The method of adjustment differs between high- and low-acid foods:

     For high-acid foods processed in a boiling-water canner, processing time is increased as indicated below.

     For low-acid foods processed in a pressure canner, processing time remains constant, but the level of pressure is increased. This increase must be based on the specific elevation and type of pressure canner (see Low-Acid Altitude Adjustment Chart, page 382).

     Do you know the altitude of your home? Many people are unaware that they live at a high altitude. The list that follows highlights cities across North America with elevations greater than 1,000 feet (305 m) - areas considered high-altitude for home canning purposes. It is not, however, a complete list of locations considered high-altitude. Aviation charts list elevation, so checking with your local airport is an excellent way to determine the general altitude of your area. As well, local elevation information is often available through U.S. county extension offices and through government health or municipal agencies in Canada.

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