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Autoclave definition and function

Autoclave definition and function


What is autoclave

The autoclave (from Greek and Latin literally translates as self + self-locking) is the tight equipment in which manipulations at very high pressure and temperature are carried out. In the medical field, only this unit is used for sterilization processes.

The equipment resembles a large metal barrel, which has very thick walls. In a certain place in it put already rolled up cans and hermetically close. The high temperature inside the cans appears due to the increase in pressure.

Autoclave - a device used in various industries and in everyday life. Its action is based on a significant increase in temperature, accompanied by high pressure. This allows you to create conditions for quality processing of vegetables and meat, fertilizers, and any substances placed inside the device.

An autoclave at home is used to make canned food. With it, harvesting canned food will turn from a tiring activity into a favorite pastime.

In winter, homemade canned foods always act as a source of vitamins and nutrients. A jar of jam, homemade stew, various compotes, juices are considered useful delicacies in winter. To procure such stocks, you have to make some effort and try to use special additional equipment.

With medicine, everything is very clear, the device is used to sterilize medical instruments and other accessories. The main topic will be a review of the use of the autoclave for conservation. The autoclave is used not only in medicine for sterilization of surgical instruments and linen, but also for various processes of heat treatment at very high pressure inside the unit. This method is considered an advanced and reliable technology.

The autoclave prepares all kinds of poultry, fish products, vegetables, and fruits. Freely use tin or glass vessels. Proper adherence to the established canning technologies ensures high-quality products at the exit with the complete absence of harmful bacteria.

How does an autoclave work

The main task of the autoclave is that the water in it boils at 100 degrees with needed pressure. The temperature of both steam and water rises. Then the system will stop the release of steam, and the accumulated completely neutralizes the bacteria.

When used in the home, the main advantages of the device are:

  • convenience at preservation;
  • possibility to use various recipes;
  • maximum degree of food safety;
  • it is not necessary to sterilize jars in advance.

In the process of heating the device destroys all known pathogenic microbes. Minerals and vitamins are stored in preservation, thanks to a tightly fixed lid that prevents water from evaporation.

Use at home is not limited to the area where autoclaves are popular. Thermostats are used in the chemical (herbicides, organics, dyes, synthesis), hydrometallurgical (processes with precious and non-ferrous metals, unique elements), and rubber (eg, vulcanization) industries.

It needs for the food industry, as well as in-home canning. All canned food from stores must be processed in this device.

In pharmacology, components are prepared for various drugs, providing perfectly sterile conditions. An industrial autoclave is used in medicine to sterilize instruments.

The design is based on several elements:

  • a metal cylinder, which houses the main chamber;the cover providing tightness;
  • measuring instruments are placed on the device;
  • a valve designed to relieve pressure;
  • additional elements to reset and adjust the pressure level in the device.

What is the principle of operation of the device? At the heart of all the heating that occurs under high pressure. Due to this, the boiling point is shifted, reaching 125 degrees. This should not be done under normal circumstances.

To understand how the autoclave works, it is necessary to distinguish the main stages - heating, sterilization and cooling.

The principle of operation of the device depends on its type. There are two main types of water autoclaves:

  1. Autoclave that requires pre-pressure pumping. Water is poured into the tank and heated to about 60 degrees. Next, you need to put in it pre-prepared jars of food. The next step is to close the autoclave lid to create a seal. The pressure is pumped inside by means of a pump. Then the heating is turned on and the temperature is brought to the desired rate according to the recipe. The cooking time depends on the type of product and the specific recipe. Canned meat and fish are usually cooked longer than vegetables or fruits. When the required time has elapsed, the heating is switched off and the autoclave is allowed to cool naturally. Finally, the pressure is lowered and the liquid is drained.
  2. Autoclave that does not require pre-pumping pressure. This type of device is much easier to use because there is no need to inject pressure. Prepared jars are placed inside the device and filled with cold water so that the edge of the tank was a couple of inches. If there are cassettes, make sure that the top cassette lids are completely in the water. Next you need to turn on the heat. Temperature and pressure must be monitored with built-in sensors. After the time allotted for cooking, it is enough to turn off the device and wait until it cools down.

From the cooled autoclave take out ready canned food and clean in a cellar or other cool place where they can be stored for a long time. Usually canned food cooked in an autoclave remains edible for 2-3 to 10 years. It is important to make sure that all the ingredients used in the recipe do not spoil for a long time.

Autoclave sterilization

The main purpose of the autoclave is to completely neutralize harmful bacteria and various sticks. In the process of canning in the traditional way (in the manual version of heat treatment) the development of pathogenic microbes in ready-made canned products is not excluded. Diseases associated with spoiled canned food are called "Botulism".

Processing of canning products in the autoclave involves a heating temperature inside the device of more than 110 degrees. At the same time taste qualities are not lost, and on the contrary, get unique "taste", thus with a guarantee on 100% become absolutely harmless. As a rule, the twists prepared with use of an autoclave keep all useful qualities. In any case, the recipe, the technology of canning and most importantly everything is quite simple. This is especially true of seafood twists and meat recipes. Where strict adherence to the technological process is required.

How to use autoclave correctly

Before starting to prepare pickles or canned food, prepare containers (jars). Pre-filled with stuffing, according to selected recipes. Then roll up tightly with lids. This technology can be called semi-automatic. In this case, you do not need to heat large amounts of water to boiling, and when seaming scalds each jar separately with steam from a sterilizer. Everything is much simpler.

Ready to process jars carefully placed on an iron grid inside the autoclave. If it works, make several layers. Attention, on all banks without exception to seal sealing covers reliably by the special device. You need to create pressure in the autoclave.

This is done so that the lid does not break during heat treatment under pressure. Then proceed to the sterilization process. At the end of the unit, according to the set date, cool the entire load. The method of sterilization with pre-pumping pressure. Air is pumped into the unit with a force of one atmosphere. It is recommended to follow this condition according to the instructions.

Heat to a temperature of 100-120 degrees and stand for 30-50 minutes. After passing the set time interval, allow to cool. The last stage is to release the air from the device with a special valve.

Cooking and canning using Autoclave

With the help of an autoclave, a large number of different delicacies are prepared. A lot of recipes adapted for preservation in the autoclave have been developed.

Options for available recipes include:

  • Vegetable, tomato sauces, juices.
  • Canned meat and fish.
  • Mushrooms under the marinade, beans, corn, peas.

In an autoclave, the main feature of preparing tasty blockages for the winter is fast and not complicated processing large parties. By right, this technology is considered an advanced method of safe preservation. This is what will suit every housewife.

How to choose autoclave

Types and features of autoclaves

The criteria that are recommended to pay attention to when choosing an autoclave for home canning are price, material, capacity, purpose. In addition to preparing blanks at home, the autoclave can be used:

in medicine for sterilization of instruments, as well as workwear;
in catering establishments: cafes, restaurants, canteens;
in factories and workshops producing meat, fish, canned vegetables, preserves;
in the research direction.
The home canning autoclave can be operated with gas or electricity. The chosen method does not affect the taste of the food. It is believed that electric autoclaves are more convenient to use than gas autoclaves. They are equipped with a thermostat that maintains a temperature of 120 °C throughout the entire cooking cycle and a pressure gauge that controls the pressure in the chamber. The created conditions for processing products make it possible to speed up the reaction without reducing the yield of the dish.

Another point to consider when buying an autoclave is volume. The average autoclave capacity is 14 of 0.5 liters or 10 liter cans. An autoclave for 24 cans is suitable for the home. If desired, the autoclave can be loaded partially, this will not affect the quality of the canned food. For a home, such a household autoclave will be just right.

It is recommended to buy a home autoclave for owners of summer cottages. If you have a medium or large vegetable garden, it is difficult to close all vegetables and fruits by hand, especially if only 1-2 people are engaged in this. In addition, manual labor will not give the product quality that can be achieved with a special autoclave. Canning can be done both in the country and at home in the apartment. It is especially convenient to use stainless steel autoclaves. Their light weight and compactness make it possible to conveniently place the autoclave in a standard kitchen and find a suitable place for its storage.

Autoclave made of steel


cheaper than a stainless steel autoclave;
the use of a metal autoclave for home canning makes it possible to prepare high quality canning.


  • due to susceptibility to corrosion, the autoclave breaks down faster;
  • it is better not to use the autoclave for cooking open food;
  • the autoclave weighs 15-20 kg, which complicates its transportation and transfer from place to place;
  • a metal autoclave requires careful maintenance, without which it will not last more than 6 years.

The appearance of this home canning autoclave is not attractive. This is not a critical flaw, but sometimes it matters as well.

2. Stainless steel autoclaves


  • such an autoclave for home canning can last more than 60 years, without requiring complex maintenance;
  • it is possible to prepare open food in an autoclave, including preservation by steam;
  • the autoclave looks good, it will fit in the kitchen or other room in which you plan to cook spins;
  • home canning autoclave can be used to make moonshine;
  • the weight of a stainless steel autoclave is on average 8 kg, which simplifies their transportation and operation.

The disadvantages include the high cost of the autoclave. Due to the use of food grade steel, the autoclave costs an order of magnitude more than its metal counterparts.

Advantages of electric and gas autoclaves

Autoclaves are divided into electric and gas models. They do not differ in the quality of preservation and perform their functions perfectly. The only difference is in ease of use and cost.
Electric autoclaves have more advantages. The most important is comfortable use. Product quality and safety are not affected, both devices fully support the necessary functions. Advantages and disadvantages of electric and gas autoclaves. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. They are not so significant, but can influence the choice of home preservation device. The disadvantages of gas autoclaves are that the units are large and heavy. It is inconvenient, the device needs to be lifted together with banks on a gas stove, water will add even more weight. The biggest disadvantage of the electric autoclave is the higher price. Due to electrical appliances and automation, it can be a little more expensive than gas. This parameter can seriously influence the choice of another option. It is important to watch the power cord so that it is not damaged, otherwise there is a risk of electric shock or short circuit. Pay attention to which device will be more profitable for you. In some regions, electricity is much more expensive than gas. But, in general, the cost of one preservation process, both in the gas and in the electric version, will be approximately equal.

Which device to choose

When choosing an autoclave, most are based on two parameters: cost and convenience. In the first case, the gas appliance wins. Their market price is slightly lower, can be used on an open fire or on a gas stove. The cost of gas is often lower than that of electricity. If comfort is important to you, choose an electric autoclave. It does not need to be lifted and carried, it is enough to bring it closer to the socket. If you plan to do a lot of twists, then this option is more suitable. And you can recoup the high cost in a short period of time.

What else is worth paying attention to

The size and volume of the device. Gas autoclaves for a large number of cans are quite inconvenient, and for electric volume and 40 liters will be comfortable. The capacity should be chosen, depending on the desired amount of work.
Execution material. Units made of ferrous metal will be cheaper, but inferior in quality and duration of stainless steel autoclaves.
Complete set. Gas autoclaves have a smaller set, electric ones have a control unit that automates the whole process.
The need for additional functionality. Stainless steel appliances can be converted into a moonshine machine by adding some elements.
Both versions of autoclaves are safe to operate, allow you to make canned meat, vegetables, fruits at home. They save a lot of time, effort and money. With regular use, you can provide the family with delicious preparations for the whole year.

Why is it better to use home autoclaves for canning

Manual canning takes more time and effort. A household autoclave for home canning makes it possible not only to speed up the process, but also to destroy harmful bacteria, including the causative agents of botulism and others. A good preservation quality can be achieved by treating the food at 120°C in an autoclave. No other method makes it possible to cook food at such temperatures.

Anyone can buy an electric autoclave for home canning. The autoclave is designed for an ordinary user, so it's easy to figure out how it works. The autoclave must be prepared in advance, washed, and then loaded with cans into which the products are already packaged. They are rolled up with can lids and then installed in clamps. When cooking, it is recommended to adhere to the recipe containing the sequence of actions, as well as temperature, pressure, cooking time. After cooking, it is better to put the jars in a dry place where direct sunlight does not fall, for example, in a pantry. Store the autoclave away from moisture.