Altitude Adjustments for Canning

Altitude must be considered when home canning jams, preserves, and vegetables. These simple instructions give you high-altitude tips for your home canning recipes, whether you're canning savory tomato juice or something sweet like jam and preserves—or anything in between!

Before you roll up your sleeves on your home canning recipes, take note: At higher altitudes, water boils at a lower temperature. This means that when canning at higher elevations, you must process food longer in a boiling-water canner or process foods at a higher pressure in a pressure canner.

What's the elevation where you live? It might be higher than you think! Much of the so-called "flat" Midwest, for example, is above 1,000 feet, and altitudes can vary within a community. Check your altitude online or with your county extension office before you begin your home canning projects. Then adjust processing times for boiling-water canning or pressure for pressure canning as indicated in this article.

Try Cinnamon-Spiced Triple-Berry Jam. It's one of our favorite recipes for canning preserves. 

Home Canning Altitude Adjustments for Blanching Foods and Sterilizing Jars

Sterilizing Jars for Home Canning Recipes

Add these timings to your home canning recipes:

Blanching: Add 1 minute if you live 5,000 feet or more above sea level.

Sterilizing Jars: Boil jars an additional 1 minute for each additional 1,000 feet above sea level.

High-Altitude Home Canning for Jellies and Jams

When processing jellies and jams at high altitudes, process half-pints and pints for 10 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet and for 15 minutes at altitudes above 6,000 feet.

Get the Caramel Apple Jam recipe

Home Canning Altitude Adjustments for Boiling-Water Canners

Boiling-Water Canner for Home Canning

When home canning using a boiling water canner, call your county extension service for specific instructions, but use the following as a guideline:

  • At 1,001 to 3,000 feet above sea level, increase processing time by 5 minutes.
  • At 3,001 to 6,000 feet above sea level, increase processing time by 10 minutes.
  • At 6,001 to 8,000 feet above sea level, increase processing time by 15 minutes.
  • At 8,001 to 10,000 feet above sea level, increase processing time by 20 minutes.

Home Canning Altitude Adjustments for Dial-Gauge Pressure Canners and Weighted-Gauge Canners

Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner for Home Canning

When home canning using pressure canning, the timings are the same; however, different pressures must be used at higher altitudes. Here are guidelines for dial-gauge pressure canners:

  • At up to 2,000 feet above sea level, use 11 pounds of pressure.
  • At 2,001 to 4,000 feet above sea level, use 12 pounds of pressure.
  • At 4,001 to 6,000 feet above sea level, use 13 pounds of pressure.
  • At 6,001 to 8,000 feet above sea level, use 14 pounds of pressure
  • At 8,001 to 10,000 feet above sea level, use 15 pounds of pressure.

Here are the guidelines for weighted-gauge canners:

  • At up to 1,000 feet above sea level, use 10 pounds of pressure.
  • At above 1,000 feet above sea level, use 15 pounds of pressure.

Great Home Canning Recipes

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