SALT LAKE CITY — Electric pressure cookers such as the Instant Pot have become increasingly popular in canning circles in recent years, but a new study suggests using these cookers for canning at Utah's high altitude may not always be safe.
Preliminary research from Utah State University Extension professors found that electric pressure cookers don't always reach or maintain the necessary temperatures for canning low-acid food, such as vegetables and meats, safely in Utah.
"We knew from previous USU Extension research that altitude affects temperatures in electric pressure cookers, and we’ve heard rumors of community groups having classes about pressure canning in ‘smart cookers,’ so we knew it was time to do some research," said Cathy Merrill, USU Extension faculty in Utah County and project lead for the research, in a statement.
If the cooker doesn't reach a sufficiently high temperature, the bacteria that can cause botulism poisoning may not be destroyed. Botulism toxin is an odorless, tasteless poison that can cause nerve damage and has been known to be fatal.
USU Extension experts suggest using traditional stove-top pressure canners.