If you frequently discard produce or grow your vegetables and have an abundance of them, pressure canning may be for you.
Pressure canning, which is popular among homesteaders, backyard gardeners, and doomsday preppers, is a method of preserving food that uses steam and vacuum sealing to extend the shelf life of fruits, vegetables, and even meat and fish. It utilizes heat-resistant mason jars and airtight lids.
Although the USDA does not specify exact expiration dates, food that has been appropriately canned and maintained an intact seal can remain unspoiled for years.
However, the quality may deteriorate after the first year, even though it is perfectly safe to consume. Some people, such as homesteaders, will likely finish the food before that point; for others, such as preppers, the taste will be irrelevant if they are in an emergency and their only goal is survival.
What is Canning?
Canning is a term that refers to the process of keeping food. Canning is a term that refers to the process of preserving food in a jar. Food is placed in a pot or container and heated to a temperature that kills any microorganisms present. With the aid of this process, food does not spoil quickly and can be stored for a longer period.
Canning can be accomplished in one of two ways. The boiling water method involves immersing the food jars in a water container and then boiling the water to a specific temperature and duration. This method is ideal for pickles, jams, and fruits, among other things.
Pressure canning is the alternative method. A specific type of microorganism is not killed during the boiling process. Clostridium botulinum is an extremely resistant microorganism. Pressure canning is used to eliminate this microorganism. This procedure is used to can meat, fish, and other foods.
For canning, a pressure cooker can be used. The following is a list of some of the best pressure cookers for canning.
Best Electric Pressure Cooker For Canning
When it comes to purchasing an electric pressure cooker, there are numerous options. Now, the most popular model — and thus the one with the most readily available accessories and replacement parts — is the Instant Pot.
However, there are numerous other pressure cooker and multi-cooker options available. Here is a brief comparison of four of the best electric pressure canners on the market.
Benefits of using Electric Pressure Cooker For Canning
Electric pressure cookers provide canners with numerous benefits suitable for larger canning projects that require more water and take longer to heat up on stove top or ovens. For home canners using an electric pressure cooker, the benefits include:
- 75%-80% of electric pressure cookers are 6-quarts or more, allowing for larger batches of food.
- It can reduce cooking time by up to 70%. This cuts down on fire risk due to decreased cooking times and reduces the amount of water needed for processing low quantities of jars.
- It can reduce “float”–the water vapor that collects on the underside of a lid and prevents jars from sealing correctly. This prevents the potential for spoilage when making tomato products, jams, jellies or other low-water content foods in boiling water bath canning.
- 4. It is faster than conventional open-kettle canning. It takes approximately 1/3 less time to process low-acid foods and has a faster recovery rate than conventional open-kettle equipment.
- Energy usage is lower than traditional ovens and stove tops, making it an energy-efficient appliance for home canners using boiling water baths.
- Canning is easier, faster and requires less skill to achieve similar results.
- It can be used for pressure frying, steaming, poaching, stewing, sauteing and making yogurt. These are useful functions that make the electric pressure cooker a smart choice for many home canners.
- 8. It is available in both stainless steel and aluminum models.
- 9. It has a removable cooking pot that makes it easier to move canned goods in and out of the pressure cooker for storage.
- 10. It is an appliance suitable for smaller kitchens such as apartments, small homes and RVs where canning space is limited or non-existent. It also makes canning accessible to people who are disabled, elderly or have other mobility issues.
- It has a safety mechanism that will not allow the cooker to come to pressure unless all parts of the lid are properly seated and secured.
- 12. It is readily available online and at home improvement stores for lower prices than many traditional boiling water canners.
- Electric pressure cookers are dishwasher safe. Some models even come with their own dishwasher basket to make clean up hassle free.
An electric pressure cooker has all the advantages of stovetop models, but without the hassle of having to monitor it. It is easier to use, with its automatic settings and ready lights. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s directions for food amounts and pressure settings, your vegetables will come out cooked more quickly than they would on the stovetop or in an oven.
Before starting an electric pressure cooker, make sure the venting knob or dial on top of the cooker is clear of any obstructions and can move freely. This knob vents excess pressure and steam to the outside during the cooking process, so it needs to be clear of any residue or food particles.
You will also need small amounts of liquid for certain recipes, such as 1/2 cup water or broth for each pound of meat. The cooker will use this liquid to build up the pressure needed for cooking, and it will evaporate during the process.
These are just a few factors to consider when shopping for a pressure cooker for canning.
There are two pressure cookers suitable for canning. This weighted gauge pressure cooker features a round disk on the vent to help regulate the pressure inside. When the pressure inside the cooker reaches the recommended level, the gauge begins to jiggle or whistle. The other type is a pressure cooker with a dial gauge. This method involves attaching a dial gauge with a needle to the top of the cooker, which indicates the internal pressure.
Compared to pressure cookers, canning cookers are more expensive. A pressure canner is highly durable and can be used for decades. Thus, when splurging on a canner, one should place little emphasis on the price, as it is a one-time investment that will benefit for decades to come.
The capacity of a pressure canner indicates how many jars/cans it can process in a single round. A 16-quarter canner can hold up to nine jars. As a result, an individual must select a canner with a specific capacity based on the requirement.
Pressure canning kills microorganisms by combining heat and pressure. A pressure canner must bear the UL approval symbol and adhere to NCHFP standards to do so safely and effectively.
Additionally, most modern pressure canners should include the following critical features:
- Removable ventilated racks
- A locking lid
- An automatic vent/cover lock
- A steam vent
- A pressure gauge or regulator
- A safety plug
Most pressure canners are made of aluminum to reduce their weight and cost. If you have an induction cooktop, you’ll need one with a stainless-steel bottom.
FAQs about Electric Pressure Cooker For Canning
Pressure canning is a method, and each step ensures that the food in your jars is safe to eat. Make sure to read and follow the specific instructions included with your canner, as well as the NCHFP’s pressure canning instructions.
They’ll instruct you to bring several inches of water to a boil, add correctly filled and lidded jars, and secure the canner’s lid. Allow the canner to steam and then reach and maintain a constant pressure before beginning the timing. When the timer sounds, allow the canner to cool and naturally depressurize before removing the lid and jars.
These are the fundamentals, but the devil is in the details specified by the canner’s manufacturer and the NCHFP.
To ensure food safety, use a pressure canner whenever low-acid foods need to be preserved at their natural pH level.
This category includes poultry, seafood, and vegetables, as well as soups and stocks.
According to the FDA, low-acid foods have a pH greater than 4.6. You could use pressure canning for foods with a high acid content, such as most fruits, but it will take longer and maybe less tasty than boiling water-bath canning.
Pickling is an alternative to pressure canning for low-acid foods. By adding an acid such as vinegar to green beans, you can raise the pH to a level that allows the jar to be processed safely in boiling water. 6
Without the additional acid, microorganisms must be killed using a combination of ultra-high temperature and pressure, which a pressure canner provides.
If you want canned green beans that have the flavor of fresh green beans, pressure canning is the way to go. Pickle green beans if you want them to retain their fresh crispness but have a tangy flavor.
Canning requires jars explicitly designed for home canning and flat canning lids secured with rings until they seal.
To make canning more enjoyable and less messy, you’ll also need a spoon, a wide-mouth funnel for filling jars, and a jar lifter for moving full and hot pots.
A second jar rack is beneficial when stacking jars in a pressure canner.
Don’t forget to bring a marker or labels with you to record what’s in the jars and when they are canned.
Pressure cooker manufacturers have recently started designing electric pressure cookers which can be used not only for cooking food, but also for canning. The primary advantage of using an electric model is that you don’t have to monitor it or worry about burning your house down.
Yes! Home canning using a CANNING SPECIFIC ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER is COMPLETELY safe because the cooker automatically maintains the correct pressure and temperature, regardless of altitude. There’s nothing quite like it. It does all the work for you! Before electric models hit the market for home use, ALL pressure cookers were only able to reach a maximum of 15 PSI (pound per square inch).
However, today’s electric models can increase much higher than that and maintain a set temperature and pressure. This means you don’t have to worry about over pressurizing the machine and destroying its valves and gaskets. Thus, they can safely be used for home canning purposes if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the number of cans and size of jar it can accommodate
The USDA does not recommend using electric pressure cookers to can food, but with the addition of a small water bath this is possible.
When the machine is set to “High Pressure”, put two cups of water in your pressure cooker (for electric models) and turn it on. Once the indicator says that the unit is up to pressure (15 PSI), you can start timing. A full steam cycle usually takes about 3-5 minutes–just enough time to get the right pressure and temperature needed to kill bacteria. And, if needed, a quick release will be automatically performed by your machine from there.
Note: If you purchased an electric model which does not have a canning setting of 15 PSIs, follow manufacturer’s instructions for high-altitude cooking. In addition to increased pressure, wide-ranging altitudes may require increased cooking times.
Yes, you must always use new two-piece metal lids and clean, sterile jars to ensure a safe product. To sterilize jars before filling them with food, boil the empty jars in water for at least 10 minutes at 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
For altitude above 1,000 feet: Increase processing time as indicated for water-bath canning.
Note: The directions I provide are geared towards people who live at sea level. If you live in an area with higher elevation adjust your ingredients and process times accordingly to compensate for lower atmospheric pressure or if you have a canner that goes above 15 PSI.
Processing is the term used for heating jars of food before they are stored to kill harmful molds, yeasts, and bacteria such as Escherichia coli 0157:H7, Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella enterica, and other species.
Jars are heated in boiling water or in a steam pressure canner to ensure that they are free of these harmful pathogens which can cause food poisoning if ingested. Bacteria will not grow when the jar is properly sealed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For boiling water method jars, this is when the jar reaches at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit. For steam pressure canners, it is when your entire gauge reads 10 pounds of pressure.
Note: Check your manufacturer instructions for detailed information on how to get cans up to pressure and get accurate readings on your controls.
Only high-acid foods such as vegetables, fruits and tomatoes that have been acidified with lemon juice or citric acid can be safely canned in a pressure canner.
Non-acidic food such as meats (like beef, pork, fish), dairy products, poultry and seafood cannot be canned at home since they have not been pre-acidified. These foods are safe to freeze or dry at home but must be commercially canned for shelf storage.
Only process in an electric pressure cooker when the recipe specifies 15 PSI and double the timing recommended for boiling water bath canning. If you are using a stove top pressure cooker, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for canning foods per the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning and process in batches at 10 pounds of pressure.
The best electric pressure cooker for canning will depend on the size and type of food you want to prepare. If you plan on preserving a lot of soup, stews, or other liquid-based foods, then an 8-quart capacity is ideal as it has enough room to accommodate large quantities without fear that they’ll overflow during cooking.
We hope this article has helped you make an informed decision about which electric pressure cooker is best for canning. As you know, the right cookware will go a long way in helping to ensure success with your DIY canned food projects. If there are any other questions that we didn’t cover here, or if you have feedback on our list of recommended models, feel free to reach out! All comments are welcome and appreciated.
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