Some home canners use the Instant Pot for steam canning and water bath canning. However, the USDA doesn’t recommend canning in the Instant Pot due to safety concerns. It is important to follow established canning guidelines when home canning to avoid the risks of foodborne illness.
Can You Do Water Bath Canning in an Instant Pot?
No. Water bath canning is not recommended in an Instant Pot.
Misusing this electric pressure cooker can make you sick by spreading botulism, one of the most common food-borne diseases associated with home-canned foods. Be sure to follow USDA guidelines for canning safely.
What is the Difference Between an Instant Pot and a Water Bath Canner?
The Instant Pot is engineered to do a completely different job than a water bath canner. This gadget doesn’t produce steady heat but builds pressure quickly. It is made to cook foods using pressure, which is different from what a water bath canner is designed to do.
Water bath canning involves placing a high-acid food in a jar and subjecting the filled jar to heat over time. This heat destroys microorganisms in the jar and expels oxygen, creating a vacuum that safely seals the jar.
Can You Use an Instant Pot for Pressure Canning?
No. Canning low-acid foods should not be done in any electric pressure cooker. The National Center for Home Food Preservation strongly advises against this canning method.
The required temperature for pressure canning is at least 240ºF. This temperature should be maintained throughout the canning process to avoid botulism. During the cooking time of the Instant Pot, the temperature ranges from 239°F to 244°F.
These temperature fluctuations mean that the USDA safe canning guidelines for canning low-acid foods are not followed.
Can You Seal Canning Jars in an Instant Pot?
No. The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker and not a pressure canner. Electric pressure cookers cannot maintain a high enough pressure to properly seal canning jars.
Can You Put Mason Jars in an Instant Pot?
Yes, you can use Mason jars in an Instant Pot. Mason jars are generally strong enough to handle the pressure in pressure cookers and pressure canners.
Safety Concerns of Using an Instant Pot for Canning
Currently, the NCFHFP warns against using electric pressure cookers for canning meat, fish, poultry, fruits, and veggies due to food safety concerns.
- It is not made for canning and may not seal jars safely
- Instant Pot can’t generate enough pressure for the processing time required
- May lead to botulism poisoning
- No official guidelines exist for safe canning in an Instant Pot
- No recommended canning recipes exist for the Instant Pot to ensure safe home canning
Instant Pot Alternatives for Canning
Some approved methods that are better than using an Instant Pot for canning include:
- Water bath canning: Use a water bath canner to process high-acid foods such as fruits.
- Pressure canning: Use a dial gauge or weighted gauge pressure canner to process low-acid foods such as vegetables and meat.
- Steam canning: Atmospheric steam canners are used for canning high-acid foods, but only certain models are tested and approved for use.