Instant Pots and other countertop pressure cookers are great for getting a meal on the table fast. But for all the people asking if you can use them for pressure canning low acid foods, the answer is a decisive NO.
First, let’s backtrack to some pressure canning 101. If you plan to preserve meat or vegetables, they must be pressure canned because of their low acid content. Low-acid foods have to be preserved at a higher temperature than high-acid foods. The low-acid environment welcomes the growth of bacteria like botulism, a form of food poisoning that can cause permanent nerve damage or even death.
Pressure canning exceeds the temperature of water bath canning, getting your product into the safety zone. The temperature must reach 240 degrees Fahrenheit, which can only be achieved through steam under pressure. All vegetables (except for tomatoes which are botanically a fruit), meats, seafood, and poultry, must be preserved in a pressure canner.
Pressure canners and pressure cookers aren’t the same things.
A lot of folks think that using a pressure cooker for canning foods will work and part of this is because of the incorrect information included in the package of the cookers. According to Food Safety News:
Some manufacturers of electric multi-cooker appliances have been including directions for home canning with their products since they began marketing them, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. The companies have not done process development work to document temperatures throughout the units remain at a given pressure and throughout the whole process time, according to the Center. (source)
But pressure cookers haven’t been proven by the National Center for Food Preservation to reach and maintain the correct temperatures to keep your food safe…