I get asked about canning a lot. So when the Instant Pot came out, I garnered a lot of questions regarding home canning with an Instant Pot.
Is it safe? Wouldn’t be easier? It’s a pressure cooker; why wouldn’t it work? And the newest question, thanks to the makers of the Instant Pot..
Why is there a canning function if it isn’t safe?
I can’t speak directly about what or how people think. My opinions are simply my own. But for the safety of my family and my food, I will NOT be canning in my Instant Pot anytime soon. The newest model, coming out sometime in May 2020, has a Home Canning function right on it. It’s called the Instant Pot Max.
Instant Pot Love
There is no hiding the fact that I adore my Instant Pot. Technically, it isn’t the Instant Pot brand, but hey… it was a present, and beggars can’t be choosers. I use it a lot, especially for mashed potatoes and rice. Making a deli-style rotisserie chicken in it is also amazing. It turns out perfect every time the way I do it. (Recipe coming soon.)
I’m in Facebook groups for Instant Pot recipes. The Food Network has tons of shows about Instant Pot recipes. It’s all the rage, I know. And I definitely jumped on that bandwagon.
But home canning in an Instant Pot? I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to comfortably do that specific task.
Home Canning: Not Just About Pressure
Contrary to what a lot of people who haven’t been canning their entire life think, there is way more to canning than just sticking it in the canner.
My expertise on this topic? My mother and grandmother started teaching me how to can when I was around 5 years old. Growing up with farming and home gardening making such an impact on your food sources over the winter, it was a necessary lesson. I still remember prepping the vegetables and blanching them for freezing (if there was room), and then packing jars. I learned about hot-packing. How important sanitizing your jars was is still a big deal in my kitchen.
So my knowledge of canning isn’t something to shake a stick at.
Home Canning Variables
There are so many issues that effect your home canning endeavors. I wish that State Extention offices still offered home canning classes. Home canning and home economics in general is just not something that seems to be highly important in today’s culture, however.
There are sanitation procedures that need to be met in order to can at home safely. Knowing what foods can be water bath canned versus pressure canned is a really big deal. Acid must be added to some foods in order for the bacteria to be killed off and lessen the possibility of contamination. Pressure AND temperature are of a high priority to the health of your home canned foods.
While the Instant Pot makers swear it’s safe because it can reach a pressure of 15psi, they have yet to determine if the proper heat levels are being reached simultaneously.
Pressure Alone is Not Enough in Home Canning
In order to can at home safely, you must be aware of your mortal enemy. Clostridium botulinum. This is the bacteria that, while it is in most of our soil and harmless there, is what causes botulism. This horrible little germ can cause sickness, and even death if consumed by humans.
I refuse to be responsible for killing someone. Intentional or not.
While the Instant Pot may be safe for canning things similar to what you would can in a water bath canner, I still have reservations. They have not released much information on their new Home Canning function. I honestly need much more to feel safe feeding my family foods that I can for them.
Instant Pot Can at Your Own Risk
There is zero information on the Instant Pot website about home canning methods. They simply redirect to the USDA and the National Center for Home Food Preservation websites for information on canning. If they aren’t sure how to tell you how to use the Instant Pot for canning, I can’t personally believe that it’s safe.
No matter what you decide to do; use your Instant Pot to can or not, please make sure that you are being safe. If at any time something just “feels” wrong, PLEASE do not eat it. First and foremost, convienence should never replace safety.
I’d love to hear from you! Let’s chat about the pro’s and con’s below. I’d love to know your stance on this high tech cooking fad.