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The Ultimate Guide to Pressure Canning: Hot Pack, Cold Pack, and Raw Pack Explained

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

Pressure canning is a great way to preserve food and extend its shelf life. It's a process that involves using high pressure and heat to kill bacteria and other microorganisms that can spoil food. But did you know that there are different methods of pressure canning? In this guide, I'll explore the differences between hot, cold, and raw packs and explain when to use each method.

Hot Pack

The hot pack method involves heating the food and liquids before placing them in the canning jars. This is usually done by boiling or steaming the food. The benefit of using the hot pack method is that it can help reduce the air pockets in the food, which can help prevent spoilage. It can also help improve shelf life.

Some common foods that are hot packed include soups, casseroles, and meats. To hot pack your food, simply cook it about halfway, then pack it into sterilized jars. Make sure to leave enough headspace at the top of the jar to allow for expansion during the canning process.

Cold Pack or Raw Pack

Cold pack and raw pack are pretty much the same things. The cold pack method involves packing raw, uncooked food into canning jars without any pre-cooking. The benefit of using the cold pack method is that it can help to retain the texture and flavor of the food. This method is my preferred method for veggies and meats.

To cold pack your food, simply pack it into sterilized jars, leaving enough headspace at the top for expansion during the canning process. Add water, broth, or syrup to cover the food, then seal the jars and place them in the pressure canner.

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A full canning guide for canning is available online, and I highly recommend this for canners, especially those new to canning.

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Which Method Should You Use?

The method you choose will depend on the type of food you're canning and your personal preference. Hot pack is a great option for foods that benefit from pre-cooking, such as vegetables and meats. Raw pack is a good option for meats and vegetables, as it can help to cook the meat evenly during the canning process.

Regardless of which method you choose, it's important to follow proper canning procedures to ensure your food is safe. This includes sterilizing your jars, using the correct amount of headspace, and processing the jars for the appropriate amount of time.

Pressure canning is a great way to preserve your food, and there are different methods you can use to achieve the desired result. Whether you choose hot pack, cold pack, or raw pack, make sure to follow the proper procedures to ensure that your food is safe to eat and will stay fresh for months to come.

Canning methods used to can food

1 Comment

Oct 15, 2023

If you hot pact then could you still pressure cook it, so it eill last longer.

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