In this article, my goal is to create the ultimate guide to using the Nesco Smart canner. The article contains multiple videos on how to use the Nesco as well as some basic canning tips that apply to all type of canning. Be sure to check out the Table of Contents to be able to jump to the content that is most applicable to you. 

Unboxing the Nesco 9.5 Quart Digital Smart Canner

In this video, I share my very first experience with my brand new Nesco Smart canner. This was my first glimpse of the canner in person, and I’ve learned a lot about using it since then.

Nesco Smart Canner Safety

There’s been a lot of chatter about whether or not it’s safe to can in the Nesco and Carey Smart Canners. I decided to create some videos on the safety of the canner, and when it is, and is not safe to use the Nesco for canning.

Pro Nesco Canner Safety Tip: There are two pressure valves that come with the Nesco Smart Canner. One valve is black, the other is green. It’s important to use the right valve based on your altitude. (Use the green valve if you are over 1,000 feet elevation.)  

Is the Nesco Pressure Canner Safe?

There is a lot of debate about whether or not electric pressure canners are safe. One study in particular, put out by the Utah State Extension, has caused people to panic when it comes to safety concerns regarding the Nesco Smart Canner. I’ve had people comment on my videos where I demonstrate the use of the Nesco telling me that it’s not safe. I even had one person tell me that I was going to kill people.

I’ve also seen comments on videos that talk about how unsafe the Nesco is stating that they have a Nesco or Carey canner and are afraid to use it.

That type of fear is what motivated me to create this video. I also wrote an in-depth blog post covering the same information.

In addition to my own research, RoseRed Homestead is also testing out various smart canners, including the Nesco. I recommend her YouTube channel to learn how to safely preserve food.

Is it Safe to Steam Can in the Nesco Smart Canner?

In this video I dive into the topic of whether or not it’s safe to steam can in the Nesco. I share what the Nesco canner manual says about steam canning, and also share about a conversation that I had with Nesco customer support about this topic.

Water Bath Canning in the Nesco Smart Canner

The Basic Process for Water Bath Canning

1. Put canning jar rack in the bottom of the canner

2. Fill your jars according to the recipe, being sure to debubble, leave the right amount of headspace (per the recipe) wipe the rims, etc.

3. Put the lids on, following the manufacturer instructions.

4. Place the jars into the canner, and cover with water.

5. Shut the lid and put it in the closed position.

6. Make sure the pressure valve is in the exhaust position.

7. Press the waterbath/steam button.

8. Put in the proper amount of time, making sure to adjust based on altitude.

9. Press the start button.

10. Once there is a steady stream of steam coming out of the exhaust, press the start button again. (Be sure to leave the valve in the exhaust position the entire time when water bath canning.)

11. When the processing time is complete, turn the lid clockwise and carefully open the lid.

12. Use a jar lifter to remove the jars, placing the jars on a towel or cooling rack.

Canning Pickled Peppers in the Nesco Digital Smart Canner

Water Bath Canning Applesauce in the Nesco Smart Canner

Canning Thai Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce in the Nesco Smart Canner

Pressure Canning in the Nesco Smart Canner

The Nesco Smart Canner makes it easy to pressure can! What I love about it is that it takes out the guess work when it comes to things like keeping the temperature at the right level to maintain the right amount of pressure. The Nesco does this automatically, which is a huge relief to me because I never felt very confident about this when using a stovetop pressure canner.

The Basic Process for Pressure Canning

1. Put canning jar rack in the bottom of the canner

2. Fill your jars according to the recipe, being sure to debubble, leave the right amount of headspace (per the recipe) wipe the rims, etc.

3. Put the lids on, following the manufacturer instructions.

4. Place the jars into the canner, and put in 8 cups water.

5. Shut the lid and put it in the closed position.

6. Make sure the pressure valve is in the exhaust position.

7. Press the high button.

8. Put in the proper amount of time, making sure to adjust based on altitude.

9. Press the start button.

10. Once the proper temperature is reached, the display will show E10. This can take awhile!

11. Wait for the display to count down to E0. At that point, switch the valve to airtight.

12. When the processing time is complete, wait for the pressure to come down naturally before attempting to open the lid. (You need to wait at least 60 minutes. I’ve found that when canning quart jars, it can take about 90 minutes.

13. Turn the lid clockwise and carefully open the lid.

14. Use a jar lifter to remove the jars, placing the jars on a towel or cooling rack.

How to Pressure Can Potatoes for Long-Term Food Storage

Pressure Canning Taco Meat

How to Pressure Can Carrots

Canning Roasted Potatoes

Canning Roasted Chickpeas with Tomatillos (Vegetarian)

Note that to make the recipe below truly vegetarian, be sure to use vegetable stock instead of chicken or beef stock.

Pressure Canning Chicken in the Nesco Smart Canner

Recanning Using the Nesco Smart Canner

Recanning is a way to save money! It makes it possible to can large quantities into smaller quantities. For instance, if you buy a #10 can of something, unless you have a huge family or are preparing something for a crowd, it’s not possible to use it all at once. Recanning to the rescue!

I do want to note that recanning is not an approved method of food preservation, so please do your own research on this. Also, only recan food high acid foods that can be water bath canned. In the Nesco Smart Canner use the water bath setting and follow the instructions for water bath canning. When I’ve been in doubt regarding the acidity level, I have used the pressure canning setting, but overall I recommend sticking with food you feel safe water bath canning.

How to Re-Can Enchilada Sauce

Recanning Syrup

Recanning and Dehydrating Nacho Cheese Sauce

Canning Tips and Tricks

The information in this section of this post pertains to canning in general, and isn’t necessarily specific to canning in the Nesco Smart Canner. Having said that, all of the information in this section does indeed pertain to the Nesco or Carey canners.

How to Use Harvest Guard Canning Jar Lids

What’s the Difference Between a Pressure Canner and a Pressure Cooker?

How to Adapt Canning Recipes Based on Your Altitude

Here are some of my favorite canning tools

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you strive to stock your pantry with delicious home-canned food! Here are some tools that I use as a canner that I’m hoping you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission. Please know that these are the tools that I actually use and recommend and believe in 100%!

Nesco Smart Canner: You can see that many of the posts on my site show me using the Nesco canner. This is by far my favorite canner to use, and because of that, it’s the one that I recommend. Note that the Nesco and Carey Smart Canners are the exact same thing. So, if you go to Amazon and see that Nesco canners are out of stock, but the Carey is available (or cheaper!), then by all means buy a Carey. As long as you have either a Nesco or Carey, you can follow along with what I demonstrate on this blog.

Tattler Reusable Lids: I use both Tattler and Harvest Guard reusable canning lids. They are both American made, made by the same family. I prefer to buy my Tattler lids from Lehman’s, since they are a small, family-owned company. You can get Tattler lids from Lehman’s here, but if you prefer to buy from Amazon, you can get them here.

Metal Canning Lids: I have always been a fan of Ball canning lids. However, due to cheap knock offs on Amazon that claim to be Ball lids, I no longer purchase them from Amazon. You can get them from Lehman’s here. Another solid brand that Lehman’s sells is Superb. They are thicker and seem to have better quality gaskets. Here are the regular mouth lids and here are the wide mouth lids.

Norpo Canning Tools Boxed Set: I love this set of canning tools because it truly includes all the basics that you need, whether you’re water bath or pressure canning. Occasionally I’ve lost one of the items in the set and to replace it, had to buy it separately. It’s definitely more cost effective to buy the entire set.

The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: This is the first canning book that I purchased, and it’s still the one that I refer to most often. Especially when you’re first learning to can, it’s important to use trusted recipes and instructions that you know are safe. This book provides some great canning recipes to get you started, and also gives a lot of great “how to” canning information. When in doubt, look it up in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving!

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