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. 😀
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.
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.
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!