Friday, January 23, 2015

Pressure Canning On your Wood Cookstove

So Ive been Pressure canning ( and water bath canning) our garden harvest for near 7 years now, about the same amount of time I have been cooking and baking with our wood cookstove. So you think I would be totally comfortable Pressure canning on my wood cookstove, right?? wrong.

Any body who has or is learning about pressure canning knows that it can be extremely dangerous. I mean you are essentially building up steam in a large pot, letting little bits come out at a time.. to much pressure and *BOOM ( not sure that's the sound it what make, haha but you get my drift) you could have an exploding canner.

In the winter I do all of my baking ( its actually our only way to bake) and stove top cooking on the woodcookstove. But if I have something to pressure can I use my propane top stove.
Well awhile back our propane stove top ran out of propane and we just haven't gotten around to filling it back up. which why the hurry, we don't use it much anyway..
Until yesterday, when I realized I had boiled down some bones from a chicken and had stock to can.

I have often thought about what if.. what if something happened and their was a gas shortage? would I be able to preserve our  food without propane or gas?

That question was answered today and the answer is YES! Successful pressure canning session on the wood cookstove... and I am going to share with ya'll just how I did it

PLEASE NOTE: if you are not familiar with pressure canning or wood stove cooking, I suggest you try these things separately for awhile before attempting this. This IS or atleast CAN BE dangerous and you should have some experience under your belt first.....


so Basically, when you get your stove or if you already have one and know your stove, you know that there are Hot spots and cool spots on your stove top. Obviously the hot spot would be right above where the fire is blazing.
My stove has a fire box on one side and then an oven on the other,, anything I have ever needed to boil goes over the fire and then if I need it to simmer just slide it over as needed, the further you push it over/away from the fire the cooler it usually is.

If I am trying to bring something to a boil ( in this case the water in the canner) I usually open up the firebox door and take a quick look to see where the fire is biggest.. then move the canner accordingly, placing it directly over the first.

                canner before I added the weight, you can see its almost directly over the eye and firebox


So basically, I placed the water directly over the fire.. I had a good fire roaring ... one mistake I did make,, or one thing I could have done differently, was take the eye ( the metal circle you see on the stove top is removable so you can set your pot directly on the fire) off, my water probably would have boiled a lot faster.
I let the canner exhaust steam for 10 minutes
I then ( this is where it gets tricky) Placed the weight on the canner .( I have a weighted gauge canner)
Once the weight started rocking,, I moved it over about half way,between the firebox and the was still rocking pretty fast,,(you want a slow and steady rocking motion) so I moved it so I was about 3/4 of the way over ( near the oven)...

So here you see I have it about in the middle,, I ended up moving it over to the right about another 2 inches and that seemed to be the perfect spot for a gentle rocking motion.. if I felt it was slowing down , I would slowwwly move it back over an inch,, etc..

REMEMBER if the weight stops rocking,, that's ok, you just have to start you "time" over, but you DO NOT want it rocking like crazy,, that makes me nervous and should make you nervous too,,lol
once I had a steady rocking motion I only had to move the canner a couple times, and only like 2" to the left or 2" to the right depending....
I choked the fire off to keep a steady burn..

and that's it,, that's how I did it !
again, I am not sure this helps,, but for anyone that is familiar with cooking with wood, I can tell you  if you are confident in your woodstove cooking abilities this will be a BREEZE!

For those of you who haven't cooked on wood,, and want to can with it,, start with less explosive things like soups etc,, haha
LEARN your stove ( as they are all different) , then maybe pressure can on a regular stove for awhile
Then once you feel comfortable with both, maybe you are ready to give it a try!

Any questions?? you can ask them here and I will be glad to help!!



  1. Hello,
    We just have a wood cooker too, ours does our cooking, heating and hot water here in England.
    I have just found your blog & have added it to my side bar so I don't miss a post.
    Really enjoying some of your older posts.
    Fondly Michelle

  2. I'm glad to see that you've successfully canned on a wood stove. I know that my grandparents had a pressure canner in the 1940s, so I knew it was possible. When our new cook stove arrives this spring, I certainly plan to pressure can on it.

    Pressure canning isn't really any more dangerous that many of the things we do and take for granted every day, as long as you're using a modern canner and following proper techniques. My Presto has safety devices built into it. Any stories of canners blowing up seem to date from decades ago.

    I'm a little confused as to what kind of canner yours is. It looks a little bit like my Presto, but I don't see a gauge or a place for the weighted regulator. What kind do you have?

    1. Hello! Mine is a presto weighted gauge canner,,the weight sits directly on top :)

  3. Thanks for taking the time to share this. Someone gave us a Pioneer Princess a few years ago and I've really enjoyed using it. Though I've water bath canned on it many times I have never tried to pressure can on it. At our new place the stove will not support the weight of a canner ... and it already has wood stove (not a cook stove) in a permanent place with really nowhere to put our cookstove without tearing up a bunch of things (maybe some day). A brother suggested building some kind of outdoor kitchen for canning and using my wood cookstove. Hmmmm.... that might be our only option. Canning season is fast approaching (not to mention the stock I will have to can soon!). We need to figure this out; though I knew it was possible, your post has encouraged me. Thanks again!

    1. Hey Joanne! you bet! I would say if you are familiar with pressure canning , doing it on wood should not be a problem.. I was really just as simple as canning on a propane stove!
      let me know how it goes!!