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Instapot & Canning

 
Posts: 121
Location: Treasure Coast, Fl
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Hello Permies Community! Hope this post finds you well! Could someone pleease post detailed, dummy proof instructions on how to steam can using the instapot? Inspired by someone elses post i made tripe stew with chickpeas and potatoes and i made way too much. So to avoid eating it for the next week and a half i would like to can it. Problem is, I've never canned in my life and i hear you can get botulism if you do it wrong!🤢

So about my set up:

I have a large instapot (feeds 10?)
last year i bought a (tray? box?) of canning jars for sprouting. haven't been used yet
My lovely SIL gave me a kit of inserts for the instapot that i've hardly used because i don't know what they all do, so i have a basket, and a rack and the egg holder thingy.

Well that's it, hope that you guys can help a noob like me!🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️😁
 
master steward
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Hi, Vanessa  Great question!

The answer is it depends on which model instapot you have.  Here are a couple of articles that will help you:

https://www.cnet.com/news/instant-pot-max-home-canning-safety/

The newest model of the popular small appliance will come with a home canning setting. But guidance from the USDA and the makers of Instant Pot warn against using an electric pressure cooker for certain types of canning.


Last month, Instant Pot representatives said that the Max model could be used for canning because it can reach an internal pressure of 15 psi. But according to the NCHFP, that's not enough to prove that your jars have been properly heated throughout for a sufficient amount of time.



https://www.thekitchn.com/5-things-you-should-know-about-your-new-instant-pot-233636

It appears that the new Instapot with a canning feature is the one to do canning in maybe.

I am hoping to here other thoughts on this as it would be a great device.

 
master pollinator
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If I was in your situation, I would freeze the left overs.  If you are interested in learning how to can, get a serious pressure canner. I favor the All American.  There are other excellent brands.
 
Vanessa Alarcon
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John F Dean wrote:If I was in your situation, I would freeze the left overs.  If you are interested in learning how to can, get a serious pressure canner. I favor the All American.  There are other excellent brands.


Oh John i wish I could but i have no room left in my freezer and there are no chest freezers available in the WHOLE of Florida!🤷‍♀️🤦‍♀️😓😔
 
Vanessa Alarcon
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Anne Miller wrote:

It appears that the new Instapot with a canning feature is the one to do canning in maybe.

I am hoping to here other thoughts on this as it would be a great device.



well that sucks. i don't think i have the max 😕
 
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Vanessa Alarcon wrote:Could someone pleease post detailed, dummy proof instructions on how to steam can using the instapot? Inspired by someone elses post i made tripe stew with chickpeas and potatoes and i made way too much. So to avoid eating it for the next week and a half i would like to can it. Problem is, I've never canned in my life and i hear you can get botulism if you do it wrong!🤢



I am sorry, but I've looked into this a lot and my best impression is that what you are asking is impossible.  Very short version: the stuff you want to can must be pressure canned (not steam canned) for safety.  It may be possible to pressure can some things in the Instant Pot (and I do) but it's marginal for safety for complex reasons (see below).  The soup you want to can is one of the hardest things to can safely (not acidic, and mixed with random-sized chunks of things like potatoes that don't allow heat to penetrate evenly or predictably).  If it might be possible to can your stew safely in your Instant Pot, the instructions would indeed be detailed by they would not be "dummy proof" -- they wouldn't even be certainly "proof" for a home canning expert.  I am sorry!

Still summarizing complex things madly:  Steam canning is less secure than pressure canning where botulism is a worry.  High acid foods (many jams and jellies, certain vegetables and fruits, more things if you add acid to your recipes) are relatively safe from botulism risk, so steam canning is OK for them.  (Steam can't get hotter than 212 degrees F, and botulism dies at around 240, sustained for enough minutes.  Which is why you need a pressure canner.

There's no way to acidify the chunks in your stew, even if you could acidify the liquid.  Pressure canning only.

Can you pressure can in an Instant Pot?   Maybe, sort of, it's complicated.  At best, the safety margin is less than with a pressure canner.  I wouldn't do it with meat/potato stew.  I do do it for acidic fruit syrups and broth.  Little botulism trick, lots of boiling of your canned food after it comes out of the jar will neutralize the botulism toxin.  But there's literally no food that I eat (except broth) that I heat/boil for long enough after opening a jar.  Broth, though, I use for cooking other stuff, so I'm willing to trust it for that.  Stew with chunks?  No.  Too risky for me.

In your shoes I would look through my full-up freezer for something high-acid that you could cook into something you could safely water-bath can.  For instance, frozen vegetables or fruit.  Make a bunch of jam or preserves and can that to make room for your containers of frozen stew.  The stew you have described is really just about the hardest thing in the world to can safely.

HUGE PRECAUTION WARNING:  I'm just a guy who reads the internet very carefully.  I don't know anything.  Nobody should rely on what I write here.  My mistake or my wild folly might get your family sick or dead.  I'm just sharing what I think I know.

Here's some research I compiled in a bone broth thread in case it may be helpful:


My understanding is that the "reason" we aren't supposed to use electric pressure cookers for pressure canning is that early models didn't get all the way up to 10.5 psi of pressure (and thus, didn't reach the 240F temperature deemed necessary for safe canning).  The user manual for my Instant Pot says the working pressure on the high pressure setting reflects a working pressure of 10.2 to 11.6 psi at sea level, and the working temperature is 239°F - 244°F.  I'm only at about 500 feet of altitude, so that works for me.  (Various cooperative extension sources say there's enough margin of error to allow safe canning at 10lbs of pressure up to about 1000 feet of altitude.)  

However, my model of electric pressure cooker won't go up to 15psi the way many stovetop cookers will, which is what you "need" to have a bigger margin of safety or if you're cooking at a higher altitude.  

Also however, and this is the biggie, every official source agrees: since none of the "approved" canning recipes have actually been tested in the electric pressure cooker models, and in fact nobody regulates or investigates whether the manufacturer specifications are actually true, it's theoretically dangerous to assume the Instant Pot is actually doing what the manufacturer says it's doing. (Internal pressures and temperatures might be lower than advertised.) I don't consider that a huge risk, but the way I compensate for it is to limit my use of the IP as a canner to high acid foods that would be safe to water-bath can, and to processing things like stock that I'm going to be boiling upon use anyway (which neutralizes botulinium toxins).  It's sort of a defense in depth against the uncertainties, and the convenience / ease-of-use makes it worthwhile to me.

All that said, some new "deluxe" models of the IP are coming out with internal temperature displays on the LED readout.  I'm very interested in Jay's account that quart jars fit in the 6qt, because they haven't announced a deluxe version of the 8qt yet.  To my mind, having an extra confirmation of the internal working temperature (even though the internal temperature sensor could theoretically be inaccurate or miscalibrated) would push me "over the top" into fully trusting my IP for pressure canning.  






 
Vanessa Alarcon
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Thanks to all. Yeah, it look like im going to have to get a pressure canner for the future and we'll be eating stew all week 😓🤣
 
Dan Boone
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If you do decide to order a canner, I notice they are one thing  that seems to still be available via Amazon.  I like the All-American brand because it doesn't use a gasket (it has a metal-to-metal seal) which is one less thing to fail when you need it and maybe, in hard times, can't easily replace it.  But it's almost three times as expensive as gasket-types from Barton or Mirro.  Good luck, and stay safe...
 
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