It ate a whole day, did the new pressure canner. And I did not even touch it!
First, I read the manual. Then I looked at various web sites dealing with pressure canners. The general advice was that the pressure gauge needed to be checked annually, either in the spring or the fall. In the USA this can be accomplished through many of the State University extension offices, and by private businesses such as Lehmans. But where in Canada could a pressure gauge be tested. I called the Ministry of Agriculture, they do not even employ a Home Economist anymore, and do not seem to concern themselves with domestic food storage issues. I called Foodland Ontario, and although they have information on how to pressure can on their site, they knew nothing about pressure canners, or testing pressure gauges. I called eatrightontario.ca, and they knew nothing about pressure canners, or testing pressure gauges. I wrote to Bernardin and they suggested contacting the manufacturer, which I had already done. My oh my, how things have changed since I was in my twenties!! Not even the self-proclaimed food experts in this day and age have much knowledge or experience with domestic food preservation, it has ceased to be relevant I suppose. This feels wrong to me.
My next approach was to look at private testing facilities. I wrote to Reed Instruments Canada, who were extremely helpful. I think they might have been able to do it, but while I was interacting with them I heard back from the manufacturer of the pressure canner and received some very good news… I can test the pressure gauge myself. So, for anyone who has an All American pressure canner, this is the testing method that was outlined over the telephone by the manufacturer: “Add 2 1/2 quarts water to the pressure canner, secure the lid, bring it up to pressure, put pressure regulator on vent pipe, once it reaches setting it is set to, disk will start to rattle, look at gauge, if the gauge is showing, for 10 lb. pressure regulator, 8 -12 lbs. then the gauge is functioning correctly. If the gauge is not functioning correctly, remove it and send it to manufacturer for testing. Sometimes they have to be replaced. Everything on lid is replaceable.” Call the company, or check their website for updated instructions, as I can take no responsibility for this technique, use at your own risk.
I was typing as fast as I could as she outlined this technique, so I hope it makes sense, as it is not word for word. The friendly and helpful person on the phone was a pleasure to talk to. I suggested that this information be posted on their company web site, as I looked for it, even found a comment from someone looking for the same information, but could find no answer. Resolving the annual pressure gauge testing situation took from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., phew!
I was then ready to move on, began to look for videos that outlined the use of the unit. I found videos on youtube, by private individuals. Although the details I was looking for were not all included on any one video, by watching a half dozen of them I was able to make a list of all the crucial steps involved in the pressure canning process. The main inspiration to use a pressure canner was canning dry beans. There were lots of videos demonstrating how to can beans, and it was interesting to watch those. By the time I had collected some recipes and techniques for pressure canning beans in particular, it was the end of the day and Attila was arriving home.
Today I washed the pressure canner in hot soapy water, rinsed it, and let it thoroughly dry. Then I followed the instructions in manual to lubricate the parts indicated. The pressure canner was ready for a test run! That was left for another day. One thing is for certain, I will never be lifting that canner while it contains water! I could barely lift it empty!
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Saturday 23 August 2014
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Wind: ENE 5 km/h
“I am not in need of teaching, or instruction. I am in need of sharing, respect and compassion. If a person really thinks they need to “educate” the world or me for that matter, it might be of benefit to them, to stand in front of mirror, look deeply into their own eyes, and practise exercising sharing, respect and compassion. Once they have mastered those skills within themselves, they are welcome to practise them in my universe.” Maggie Turner, 2014
I wrote this as an internal reaction to political views that assume superiority. I have been exposed to a great many flavours of rigorous “correctness”, left and right, the powerful and the obscure, up and down, over there and over here, and although some are interesting, none of them have taken a “greater than the sum of our parts” approach to communication and problem solving.
As one left wing political representative in Canada recently said to me, “I am not looking for viable and profound solutions to the world’s problems.” And I believe him.