Skip to main content

Master the art of water bath and pressure canning

pressure canning supplies along with canned items sitting on a stovetop.

Home food preservation continues to be extremely popular, whether due to increased food costs, the desire to know what is going into your food, or because it benefits the environment by reducing one’s carbon footprint. There are many ways to preserve food at home, including freezing, drying, fermenting, and canning.

Canning is a great way to use the foods you have grown in your garden or have purchased from your local Farmer’s Market. Moreover, it allows you to enjoy the incredible tastes of summer all year long while keeping food safe. However, a lot of science goes into safely preserving food, especially when it comes to canning. 

There are two canning methods: boiling-water bath canning and pressure canning. The acidity of the food will determine which processing or canning method to be used. The boiling-water bath canning method is used for acidic foods, meaning foods with a pH of 4.6 or less. Most fruits are naturally high in acid and thus are safe to process this way. However, some foods, such as pickled foods, tomatoes, and figs, must have additional acids added before they can be safely processed. 

Low-acid foods such as carrots, corn, green beans, potatoes, peas, and meat will not be acidic enough to prevent the growth of a dangerous bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. Therefore, these foods must be processed using a pressure canner. A pressure canner is the only safe method for processing low-acid foods because it can reach a temperature of 240 degrees under pressure.

If you want to learn what it takes to preserve food safely or simply need a refresher, this class is for you. Yes! You Can: Preserve It Safely – Water Bath and Pressure Canning Basics will be held both in-person and virtually. Pick the time and date that works best for you.

Participants will learn the basics of home food preservation, safety guidelines, and the most recent methods used to preserve food safely. Additionally, participants can have the dial gauge on their pressure canners tested; just bring your lid with the gauge attached.

Register for this popular program by calling the Extension office at (815) 986-4357 or visit us online at If you need reasonable accommodations to participate in this program, please contact our office at (815) 986-4357.

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.