1. Review the instruction book thoroughly. Make sure all parts are clean and work properly. If your canner has a dial gauge, check accuracy yearly. (Ask your county extension-service office for testing locations.) Weighted-gauge canners remain accurate from year to year.
2. On canning day, make sure steam vent is clear. Set canner and rack on range top. Add 2 to 3 inches of hot water (or amount specified by canner manufacturer). Turn heat to low.
3. Prepare enough food for one canner load. Place jars in canner as they are filled.
4. After last jar is added, cover and lock canner. Turn heat to high.
5. When steam comes out of vent, reduce heat until steam flows moderately. Let steam flow steadily for 10 minutes to release air from canner.
6. Close vent, or position weighted gauge according to instruction booklet.
7. Start timing when pressure is reached. Adjust heat to maintain pressure. (For dial-gauge canner, use 11 pounds pressure; for weighted-gauge canner, use 10 pounds.)
8. At end of processing time, remove canner from heat. Set it away from drafts on a rack. If canner is too heavy to move, just turn off heat. Let pressure return to normal (allow 30 to 60 minutes). Do not lift the weight, open vent, or run water over the canner.
9. Follow instruction booklet for opening canner. Lift cover away from you to avoid a blast of steam. Remove jars (if food is boiling in jars, wait a few minutes). Do not tighten lids.
10. Cool jars. Check seals when jars are completely cool.