Presto, Change-o!

A while back, I had written about my unsuccessful hunt for a pressure canner. There were none to be had; the only place I found that had one in stock, it was way beyond our budget.

Then we were generously gifted with a pressure canner! There were even spare parts, including two pressure gauges. It had been tested before being sent; all we needed to do was get the gauges tested, and we were good to go!

Easy peasy, right?

Of course not. πŸ˜€

For you folks in the US, you can take your gauges in to the extension office for their annual testing.

Canada doesn’t have extension offices. That didn’t concern me, since I figured we had some sort of equivalent. I promptly started searching for where the gauges could be taking in for testing.

The only results I got were from the US, saying to go to your extension office. Or, send them to the manufacturer for testing.

Hmmm.

After a while, I turned to a local Facebook group specifically about what to do with your garden produce. Cooking, canning, freezing, dehydrating… all of it. I saw lots of people posting about canning, so I was sure someone would have an answer for me.

Well… not quite.

When I couldn’t find a pressure canner anywhere, locally, I had figured it was for the same reason lots of people were having a hard time finding canning jars or water bath canning supplies; the supply was far less than the sudden demand and everything was selling out very quickly.

Now I think it’s for a different reason.

Apparently, pressure canning isn’t much of a thing here in Canada.

Of the hundreds of people in this very active group, I got two people who even had pressure canners respond. One of them hadn’t used her canner in years, and the other mentioned a place she used to take them to, but they don’t test gauges anymore, so they both wanted to know, too!

I did have a couple of suggestions. One person gave me the info for a company that calibrated precision tools that she thought might be willing to do it. Another suggested I try one of the university science departments.

Given the response, I began thinking that skipping the dial gauge completely might be a better idea. So I started looking and found the weighted regulators on the Presto website. There is no dial, but they never need to be tested.

The model number for this pressure canner was not on the list of those it would work with.

Hmmm.

After another post on the group was made about getting weighted regulators and where to find them (please: don’t buy them from Amazon!!!), I went back to the Presto website last night and sent an email explaining what I needed, asking about testing the gauges, or if they had a weighted regulator appropriate for our model.

This afternoon, I got a response. It turns out they have a kit available; this model needs to have the steam vent replaced in order for the weighted gauge to work, so the kit includes the vent, 3 part regulator and an instruction booklet, all for only US$15, plus shipping.

There was also a toll free number included, with the offer to help place the order.

Of course, I called them as soon as I could!

The woman I spoke to found the email response I got, which had all the information she needed. As she was going through the process of placing an order for me, she suddenly said, oh! These are free for Canadians, because no one tests gauges in Canada.

!!!

She put me on hold to confirm, then we placed the order. I’m basically just paying for the new vent; the weighted regulator on its own cost US$12. Newer pressure canners don’t need the vent replaced for the weighted regulator to work.

It might take a while to get here, but as long as it gets here before fall, I’m happy!

Of course, I went to the group and passed on the info, so others with pressure canners would know they wouldn’t be able to find a place to test their dial gauges in Canada.

Which just blows me away! I know canning, in general, was seeing an increase in popularity for at least a decade, as more and more people were turning to self sufficiency and being “green”. I’ve never known anyone who used a pressure canner, but that doesn’t mean much. If pressure canning, with precision parts that require annual testing, is so uncommon in Canada that no one does the testing, it would explain why I found so few Canadian resources in all my searches. Finding Canadian resources online tends to be rarer in general, so I didn’t think too much of it at the time.

So very strange!

No matter. The parts are on the way. Presto, Change-O, and we’ll be able to safely can our low-acid produce this fall!

The Re-Farmer

6 thoughts on “Presto, Change-o!

  1. Presto is awesome.

    The US Extension Service office near me is currently closed due to Covid, so gauge testing is unavailable “here”.

    Last year I watched the local extension service check my canner gauge and it was checked only at 5, 10 and 15psi. My engineering brain tells me that if the gauge is correct at those three points, the intermediate readings between 5 and 15 psi will also be correct.

    Since the weight’s pressure is presumed correct, you could use the weight’s three pressures to check the gauge. If the gauge agrees with the the three pressures you’re good to go with the gauge.

    No matter what, I very much prefer a jiggle weight. While listening to the cadence of the jiggle weight, I can be doing other things that would not be possible if I were continually staring at the gauge. πŸ™‚

    Like

    • What exactly is the extension service? I asked the lady at Pesto, and all she knew what that they tested gauges. 😁

      I appreciate knowing that about the jiggler. Thanks!

      Like

      • It’s part of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). My opinion is that it is the means by which agricultural, food, nutrition, gardening, ranching, food preservation, animal husbandry (and similar) knowledge developed by research at USDA and universities is made available to the general public.

        See
        https://nifa.usda.gov/extension

        The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning is part of this effort.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s wonderful!
    So glad Presto was able to help!
    πŸ™‚
    When I bought my canner, I bought it at Canadian Tire and at the time (almost 15 years ago) I had the choice to buy gauge or weights.
    I went with weights because the local welding supply store was the only place that tested gauges…and of course it makes sense, because of the gauges that go with oxy-acetylene tanks, right?
    And, my Hubby being a welder…well, the welding supply store is like a giant (expensive) toy store to him.
    So I definitely did not want to have to send him yearly to have the gauge tested!
    lol
    Who knew it was going to turn out to be the better choice overall??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fifteen years! Who could possibly have known? πŸ˜€

      The only place I saw an in-stock pressure canner was at Peavey Mart. I didn’t see that there was any choice for weights or dial.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s