As altitude increases, the temperature that can achieved at a given pressure will decrease.
Consequently, as altitude increases, you have to also increase the pressure inside the pressure canner to reach and maintain a desired temperature. You leave the processing time as is.
Sea level is the base
Sea level for canning purposes is deemed to be 0 to 1000 feet (0 to 300 metres). Giving processing pressure for sea level processing is the default in pressure canning recipes. (Note that some publications in some high altitude areas such as Colorado or Utah may give recipes with the pressure already adjusted specially for that area.)
A USDA bulletin from the 1970s, though dated, is still valid in its explanation of how this all works:
Atmospheric pressure is like the thickness of frosting on a cake. Where it is thickest it weighs more per square inch than where it is thin. At sea level, where the atmosphere is the thickest, it is heavier than atop a mountain.
As altitude increases, atmospheric pressure or its weight per square inch decreases. Altitude affects the boiling point of water. Where altitude is least, at sea level, water boils at 212° F [100 C]. As altitude increases the boiling point of water decreases.
The same is true in a pressure canner. Under 10 pounds pressure at sea level, water boils at 240° F [115 C]. As altitude increases, the temperature in a pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure is less than 240°F [115 C]. This difference is enough to affect the safety of canned products at altitudes above 2,000 feet.”  Tope, Nadine Fortna. Pressure Canners, Vital for Low-Acid Foods. In: Growing, Freezing, Storing Garden Product. USDA Information Bulletin 410. 1977. Page 324 – 325.
Finding your altitude for canning
You can use Google maps to find your altitude. You can enter your entire address in: e.g. 123 Queen Street, Upper Lower Bottom, Wisconsin, USA.
Dial gauge versus weighted gauge
With dial gauges, you can increase the pressure used in small increments.
With weighted gauges, because the weights are only made in 5 lb increments, you must increase the pressure in blocks of 5 lbs (35 kPa).
The following charts represent the pressure required at your altitude to reach 240 F / 115 C inside your canner. Processing time is the same at all altitudes once the correct pressure for those altitudes is applied.
Pressure Canning Meat, Vegetables, Fish, Seafood, Soup: Altitude and Pressure Chart
|Altitude feet / metres||Weighted|
|0 - 1000 / 0 - 305||10||11||69||76|
|1001 - 2000 / 306 - 609||15||11||103||76|
|2001 - 4000 / 610 - 1219||15||12||103||83|
|4001 - 6000 / 1220 - 1828||15||13||103||90|
|6001 - 8000 / 1829 - 2438||15||14||103||97|
|8001 - 10000 / 2439 - 3048||15||15||103||103|
Source for metric kPa and for above 8000 feet / 2400 metres: Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013. Page 12.
Pressure Canning Fruit: Altitude and Pressure Chart
|Altitude feet / metres||Weighted|
|0 - 1000 / 0 - 305||5||5||35||35|
|1001 - 2000 / 306 - 609||10||6||69||42|
|2001 - 4000 / 610 - 1219||10||7||69||49|
|4001 - 6000 / 1220 - 1828||10||8||69||56|
|6001 - 8000 / 1829 - 2438||10||9||69||62|
|8001 - 10000 / 2439 - 3048||10||69|
Caution: to be clear, this second table is for fruits. See first table for all else. The sources for this fruit pressure canning table are the USDA Complete Guide and So Easy to Preserve. They are the guides which give pressure canning alternatives for fruit. Use this altitude table only with the fruits they explicitly list for pressure canning. We have added the column of weighted kPa conversions based on the Bernardin weighted recommendations in the table above, and converted the dial gauge kPa for you.
See also: Altitude Adjustments for Water Bath and Steam Canning
Ball Blue Book. Muncie, Indiana: Healthmark LLC / Jarden Home Brands. Edition 37. 2014. Page 9.
Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013. Page 12.
Bernardin. Canning at high altitudes. (Metric conversions. Accessed February 2015.)
National Presto Industries. Presto Pressure Canner and Cooker Manual. 2014. (Fruit pressure chart, page 25)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Pages 1-8 and 22 – 23.
|↑1||Tope, Nadine Fortna. Pressure Canners, Vital for Low-Acid Foods. In: Growing, Freezing, Storing Garden Product. USDA Information Bulletin 410. 1977. Page 324 – 325.|
I live in south Florida. What pressure should I be at please?
If you google your town, state, and then put elevation next to it, then it will tell you. That’s how I found mine.
Heaven's Best By the Pound
To Jennifer: You are a Lifesaver! Thank you!
I live at 1089 altitude and have a gauge canner. i have been doing 10lb psi on everything even my meats and today i realized i should be doing 11 or some say 15 psi. is my chicken ok doing a 10-11 psi or not.
Leigh Ann Martin
I have a presto 23 quart pressure canner the tall one. It says in the manual to only use the 15lb weight for home canning. Is there a reason for this I have a 16 quart older model and have canned at 10lb for years.
Leigh Ann Martin
Follow the above guidelines for your altitude.
I live at 1011.6ft. Should I use 15lbs instead of 10lbs?
I live at 666’ (Marquette, Michigan), however my pressure canner (12.7 qt. Zavor EZlock model zcwez22) does not have a 10psi. The canner only has two settings: low @ 8.5psi and high at 15psi. How will the15psi effect canning recipes at my altitude. Do I need to alter any procedures or is it ok to process at 15psi?
I’m not aware of any certified pressure canners coming out under the Zavor brand.
m getting so discouraged
I bought my all american brand new a few months ago. I finally got the courage to use it. It went through a test run with just water. I did all the steps; waited for a steady stream, vented for 10 minutes, put on the weight (15 lb for my elevation) it starts to jiggle at around 13 lbs. It takes a while to get to 15 lbs on the gauge, all the while the weight is jiggling like crazy. But from what I understand I don’t adjust anything until the gauge reads 15lbs. I adjust the temperature slightly once it hits 15 so I can bring the jiggle down to 1 to 4 times per minute. And it worked but my guage starts to lose pressure and go down to 13 lbs. But it is jiggling about 3 times per minute. I made sure there were no leaks around the seal, thinking that might be it. Eventually I turned it off and waited for it to cool.
I decided to try it with cans of food. I do everything beforehand to can my ground beef. Close the lid. Wait for it to have a steady stream of steam, start a ten minute timer. Add the 15 lb weight. Again it starts to jiggle around 13 ish lbs. I let it jiggle continuously until it gets to 15 lbs on the dial guage. And than I slightly adjust the presser so I can get the weight to jiggle 1 to 4 times per minute. Again it starts to lose pressure on the dial guage so I turn it up again so it can go back to 15. Than I start lowering the temp slowly. It ended up continuously jiggling for the whole 75 minutes while the dial guage stayed between 12.5 and 13 lbs on the dial. I never got it down to the 1 to 4 times jiggle.
All but one of my jars are sealed but I dont know if these are properly canned and shelf stable. The weight jiggled the entire time but the dial guage said the pressure was under what it was supposed to be.
I understand that the dial guage can be -/+2 psi off, but it was at 12.5 for part of it.
I read the manual and so did my husband, he said the dial guage must be off and just pay attention to the weight. It makes me uncomfortable, obviously I dont want to make my family sick. I just dont know what I’m doing wrong.
If it matters I’m using and electric stove. Not a glass top but the type with the coils.
Also side question. Do I start the processing timer when the weight starts to jiggle, even at 13 lbs? Or do I start it when it hits 15 on the dial guage.
Sorry for the long text I just wanted to be as specific as possible because I cannot find the answer to my questions.
I read that I need to focus on the weight and not even care about the dial guage unless it’s to know when it’s safe to take the lid off. That seems reckless.
I have a presto 23 qt and it tells me this regarding my pressure regulator:
“The pressure regulator acts as a safety device to prevent pressure in excess of 15 pounds from building in the canner. Pressure readings are registered only on the pressure dial gauge. ”
Not sure if this helps. This is my first time pressure canning. I have also watched a lot of you tubers do canning so try that as well. I find it very helpful but I’m having some concern over the pressure guaging also.
That manual for Zavor EZLock had incorrect info….go to their website & they will explain that. I just bought the 10qrt & had the same question, but noticed in the manual that came in box had a whole section of canning instructions missing – the instructions online show that you need to “vent” the cooker for 10 min before counting processing. I’m waiting for reply. The 10 psi is the low (240°) & the high is 15 psi (250)°).
Julia, venting also know as exhausting is the process ofallowing a steady stream of steam to be released for a full 10 minutes before adding the weights or regulator. It’s required for all pressure cookers to ensure ALL air is out.
My wife bought me a zavor pressure cooker/canner for Father’s Day but it only has one psi setting of 15psi. I live below 1000 feet elevation. Any tips for finding the correct processing times for low acid foods?
I’m not aware of any certified pressure canners made by the Zavor brand.
are you sure its a canner as well as a cooker? They are two different things, usually. Read your manual carefully with this in mind.
So my elevation is 607 f for annsville NY so what pressure weight would I use to pressure canning
Gloria Toi Scott
I live in johnson city New York and I can’t understand the pressure part I look up the elevation and it is 873 so is that 12 pounds of pressure please help the book should just have a map to tell u how much pressure
Anything up to 1000 ft elevation is 10 lb pressure, over 1000 ft is 15 pps.
Hi Angela, my altitude is at 89.8 metres above sea level and I wish to can meat and poultry. As you gathered I’m a complete newbie and I’ve tried to get some information from different sources online and information I’ve got so far is very ambiguous regarding this. Would you please let me know at what I should be canning both for meats and fruit & veggies. I would be so grateful. Thanking you in anticipation,
Hi Angela, my altitude is at 89.8 metres above sea level . At how many pounds of pressure should I be canning at for meats and for vegetables and fruit?
I live in Knoxville Tn and I need to know how many pounds of pressure I need here for canning please for all of my pressure canning. Thank you so much.
Knox TN is 886 ft above sea level, you would use 10 pps. Anything 1000 and under is 10, over 1000 is 15
I have just found out that I’ve been canning my dried beans at 10# when they should have been 15#….
So I have about 45 its here done…..
What should I do next? Can I just reprocess them?
My stove has a really hard time getting to 15#… IT takes about 90 minutes just to get up to pressure.
Those jars would be underprocessed. Please check with one of these Master Food Preserver help groups.
I have a small pressure cooker. Can and how do I can sweet potatoes in pint jars????
A pressure cooker is not a pressure canner. https://www.healthycanning.com/pressure-cookers-versus-pressure-canners/
Here are directions for freezing them: https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze/potato_sweet.html
Jean m holihan
I don’t have a pruesser canner so what is the best one for me? I live between 3000 ft. an 6000 ft.?
These particular adjustments apply only when using genuine pressure canners.
I think your answer is simple. Get a pressure canner or freeze your food.
I have never used a pressure canner in my life .. little bit afraid , I mean a lot afraid.. but here is my question I live in southern Ontario Canada.. how do I find out my altitude an amount of pressure needed to safely can with my new PC
Type into google search “What is the altitude for Turkey Point” (or whatever the town is where you live.) If you need advice about what models of pressure canners are available at stores at what stores in the area, let us know.
You can go online and google what is the altitude of your city
I looked up my city and ask google to give me the altitude for my city.
I live in Greece my sea level is 1300 feet,I have a presto 16 my weight doesn’t wiggle I do not now what to do.
Thank you Marion
The default weight that ships with the Prestos is 15 lbs, which is the pressure you need (as you know) at 1300 feet. I’m surprised it is not wiggling. Do you have to wait longer for the pressure to build up enough?
I don’t get it. Here are my numbers from google. 11,45.14517821629582,-88.58470720054356,320.347,1051.008,89
so what do I do with this number, I don’t see it listed in the table. We are usually canning at 10# of pressure
What altitude at you at? https://www.whatismyelevation.com/