Would you like to make your own homemade jams and preserves? Or have you ever thought of canning fresh fruits and vegetables so you can enjoy them later? If so, you may be surprised to find how easy the process can be with a pressure canner.
In the past, canning was a time-consuming labor set aside for over-industrious housewives or people with too much time on their hands. It was not only difficult; it was dangerous too. If the food is not preserved in a certain way, bacteria can set in and consuming it can lead to serious health issues like food poisoning. But times have changed and so have pressure canners. Now, you can have your food and can it too!
The Best Chart For Pressure Canners
There is a multitude of pressure canners on the market today. They make it easier than ever to preserve jams, fresh fruits, and vegetables too. Well… some do at least. There are those that shortcut the age old practice of canning and take the blood, sweat, tears and guesswork out of the equation. Then there are those that prove to be nothing more than a headache. If you are going to the trouble to prepare foods for canning, you want your pressure canner to perform precisely each and every time. When it comes to pressure canners, there are a number of things to be considered that will help you narrow down your choices and decide upon the one that best suits your needs. But which one is the very best? The chart below will help you in your quest for the best pressure canner for you.
What is a Pressure Canner?
A pressure canner is a device that is intended to preserve foods by way of pressure canning it into a container where it is sealed for freshness and can be used at a later date. The pressure canner uses regulated pressure in order to achieve the task and also kills bacteria and removes air so that the food remains safe and sealed. The unit is used atop a stove and has a locking lid and a relief valve. There are other features a pressure canner may possess as well. Some double as a pressure cooker. Others have thermostats or other bonuses.
How Do You Find the Best Pressure Canner?
The best pressure canners make canning quicker, easier and more convenient. There are some basic things that all pressure canners offer. They should be safe and all should get the job done. Some deliver on that and some do not. There are also some that have added features. There are important things to consider and to compare when choosing a pressure canner that is right for you. Below are some things you may want to check into when doing so.
- Safety is imperative. Pressure canners can be extremely dangerous. Some units are safer than others. Some have been manufactured using strict guidelines while others barely make the grade. There are a number of units that have safety features such as valves that shut off when the unit gets too hot or will not let the steam escape when the lid is off. Look for a pressure canner that will help to ensure you don’t get canned in the process of canning.
- Reliability is of great importance too. Getting things all set up to can is often a fairly involved process and the last thing you want is for your pressure canner to not operate correctly. Be sure that the unit you get is one that is dependable and will provide the service intended every single time.
- Maintenance is a huge factor to consider when using a pressure canner. It is important that the parts be easy to work with and easy to clean too. Look for information what steps are needed in order to operate and service the unit and also what parts must be removed to clean, if they are dishwasher safe and things of the like.
- Doing your homework is important. Keep in mind the things that you want in a unit. You may simply want a basic device or you may want to have some add-on features as well. Take a look at all the models you can and narrow down your choices. Then compare those that are on the very top of your list and decide which one is the very best one for you based on your individual taste and your needs
- Buying a pressure canner is an investment. It will be an important addition to your kitchen. If you are planning to keep it for a while, you will be wise to check to see if it has spare parts available and if so, the cost and how readily you can assess them. A warranty is also helpful to have.
Things Worth Knowing About Pressure Canners
Canning has been a practice of preserving foods for hundreds of years. The act of canning allows food to be packaged under extremely high temperatures and under very high pressure in order to keep them edible for an extended period of time. This is especially important for preserving seasonal fruits and vegetables and is quite popular for making jams and jellies.
It was in 1679 that the first pressure canner was invented. The device was made of cast iron and was successful in raising the water temperature to a very hot boil, but it was certainly not effective all of the time and often gave way to explosions. In 1810, the first real version of a pressure canner was developed. It sealed food in tin cans and also was not perfected, as it was common for the food to become contaminated.
During the U.S. Civil War, food was preserved by way of jars with metal clamps and replaceable rings made of rubber. Though these jars are not optimal for storing canned food, they are still used for dry foods such as beans or flour. The need for a better way of canning still abounds and people kept striving to achieve the task.
But in 1858 with the invention of the Mason jar, which was made of glass, the act of canning was well on its way. By the 1970’s, pressure canning was quite popular and safer as well.
The safety and effectiveness of pressure canning have been a work in progress for the past decades. Now, most units are thin-walled and lightweight kettles that have lids with gaskets that turn on. Some are made of heavy cast aluminum with screw-down knobs around the canner without the use of gaskets though.
You will find canners with such features as removable racks, a vent pipe, safety fuses, and an automatic cover lock with vent. Some have a dial gauge so that the pressure can be indicated and some have a weighted gauge that jiggle and rock as they get to the desired pressure. There is generally a counterweight or pressure regulator on dial version so the vent can be sealed in order to build pressure. It is important to know which type of a pressure canner you are working with.
Commonly, a device will be deep enough for a layer of quart size jars or smaller jars, like pint-sized ones. There is a recommendation by the USDA that a unit be able to hold at least 4 quart sized jars in order to bear the name of being a pressure canner.
Pressure canners can be extremely dangerous. It is imperative to read over all materials containing information about the unit and to proceed with caution. This guide from the National Center for Home Food Preservation is also a useful reference. It is also important when purchasing a unit to look for special safety features that it may or may not possess. There are some models that alert when pressure is being built and some that will not allow for the lid to be removed when pressure is built or is in the process of being built.
Pressure canners are quick and convenient. They allow one to get the task of canning done in a fraction of the time it would take otherwise. They are also devised to keep bacteria from the food in that they reach levels of heat that hot water bathing does not and, therefore, are preferred over the manual method.
With a little knowledge and practice, one can experience the satisfaction of preserving foods for the later enjoyment of them. It used to be a painstaking labor that took much time and trouble to accomplish. Many suffered injury or even home explosions while attempting to can. Still, the desire to preserve food was so tempting and even necessary; many continued the task even still. Finally, the art has been perfected and continues to be improved upon. Pressure canning has indeed come a long way and offers convenience and safety to an age-old desire… to be able to store foods and to enjoy them at a later date.
How Much Do the Best Pressure Canners Cost?
The price of a pressure canner can vary greatly. The price usually correlates with the amount of features the unit has and the size of the device as well. There are those that start at around $50 that are very basic in nature. There are also units that go all the way up to $200 and upward. The moderate price for a pressure canner with at least some features is around $100, give or take $50 or so.
What Do Our Reviews Reveal?
Doubling as a pressure cooker, this Presto brand 23-quart pressure canner uses the only method that is recommended as being safe for canning vegetables, meats, poultry, and seafood by the Department of Agriculture. Also able to act as a boiling-water canner that is great for preserving fruits, jams, jellies, pickles, and even salsa, it is a large capacity pressure cooker.
The warp-resistant unit is made from heavy-gauge aluminum. It operates on regular stove tops but on smooth-top ranges as well. It carries an extended 12-year limited warranty.
One feature of this canner is that it has a deluxe pressure dial gauge that enables it to register the complete range of processing pressures. The air vent and cover lock is another feature. This extra-large size is excellent for large canning jobs and has a liquid capacity of 23 quarts.
The reviews on this unit were very good. It was said the canner performs quite well and was reliable. Safety features were a plus as was the ability to operate on a smooth top stove. The consistency of the pressure canner was given great reviews too.
This All American brand pressure canner is a cooker and a canner. It is a 21 ½ quart capacity and is made of durable aluminum and has a metal-to-metal sealing system with no gaskets.
It features a geared steam gauge plus an automatic overpressure release. The settings are 5 psi and 15 psi. The unit measures 15-3/8 inches high with 12-1/4-inch inside diameter and is proudly made in the USA. It can hold a 19pint capacity or 7 quart jars. The pressure regulator valve is included and is has three settings on it.
The reviews for this pressure canner were great, for the most part. It was a plus that it is durable being made of thick aluminum walls. It was stated that the canner does take a bit longer to cool down. It is recommended that the gauge be checked by a local agricultural extension of the state and for some, that was regarded as a negative but most appreciated the extra care and concern that was expressed in the suggestion.
This 20-Quart Capacity by Granite Ware is a three in one model. It cans, steams and cooks and also holds 7 one-quart jars or 8 one-pints or 24 half-pint jars. It is made of hard anodized aluminum.
This device comes with a canning jar rack and a steamer trivet, has stay-cool handles and a locking stainless steel lid too.
The steamer has an insert that fits a portion of the vessel so that the food is not in the cooking liquid. There are three different pressure levels on this appliance.
The reviews on this model were favorable, for the most part. Many liked the features like the safety valve that provides additional safety measures because it whistles. The performance was praised, but the instructions were said to be lacking. It was also stated that the unit is easy to clean. It was mentioned that it was easy to maintain as well.
This pressure canner is made of heavy-gauge aluminum and has a 16 quart capacity. It features 3 cooking pressure options. The overpressure plug on this device is reusable and has a sure-locking lid system and side gasket pressure release as well.
A cooking rack and user guide comes with the purchase and a 10-year limited warranty on the unit. On actual replacement parts, there is a 1-year limited warranty. The unit is dishwasher safe and offers easy clean up as well as easy maintenance.
In reviews of this canner, there were said to be a lot of features for the price.
One thing that was noted as a negative was the there is a button in the handle that is the pressure monitoring mechanism, but that was not mentioned in the guide. In fact, there were several mentions of the instructions for this unit being lacking in other areas of information as well.
This Fagor Splendid 10-quart presser cooker and canner holds up to 4 quart jars. It is made of high gauge 18/10 stainless steel and has an aluminum bottom that makes for even and consistent heat distribution. It is equipped with advanced safety features prevent excessive pressure build-up. There is an automatic pressure release system as well and a pressure indicator too. It carries a 10-year warranty.
The reviews on this unit varied from good to poor. Some felt that, for the price, this was a great model that performed well and was quite sturdy and well built. The safety features were given good grades and the thick gauge of the stainless steel construction and the aluminum was a bonus factor appreciated by many too. The price was regarded as a definite positive attribute. Some reviewers complained of defective materials and said their unit did not last more than a few go-rounds while others said they had their canner for years and it was still working well.