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How to pick the best pressure canner

Choosing the best pressure canner for you and your family is one of the first steps in becoming more self-reliant. A pressure canner will allow you to stock your pantry and food storage with a wider variety of foods. 

Choosing the best pressure canner depends on your needs, the size of your family, and the quantity of food you intend to eat at home. 

If you are new to pressure canning, watch my free four-part video series, in which I demonstrate how to operate a pressure canner safely, including what can and cannot be safely canned at home using a pressure canner. Everyone is not calm. So, we need to pray and let some days pass until the meeting. 

What is a Pressure Canner and How Does it Work? 

If you have a garden, you have likely already experimented with various preservation techniques, perhaps even home canning. I employ ten distinct preservation techniques for multiple foods. Here you can learn more about each of the ten preservation techniques. 

You have acquired your canning jars and lids and have a basic understanding of the canning process. Check out this helpful guide to home food preservation if you need the necessary supplies. 

Most people begin by canning in a water bath and then progress to pressure canning as they gain experience. Please read my post on the fundamentals of food preservation to gain confidence in preserving food. 

Water bath canning is only safe for foods high in acidity. A pressure canner is required to preserve foods like meats and low-acid vegetables. 

To kill bacteria in low-acid foods, water bath canners (typically made of granite ware) and steam canners do not reach as high a temperature as pressure canners. This could result in botulism, illness, or even death. 

And no, you cannot simply water bath can your food for a more extended period; it will not get hot enough. Pressure canning effectively eliminates all bacterial contaminants by heating the contents of your filled jars to a higher temperature. The weighted gauges on the canner’s lid are necessary to monitor and release the pressure created by the internal heat. 

What differentiates a pressure canner from a pressure cooker? 

The canner and the cooker are designed to build pressure in a sealed environment using steam. It reaches a high temperature, enabling rapid cooking of food. 

The primary differences are size and sustained pressure. Pressure cookers can heat and pressurize containers, but they cannot maintain heat and pressure for the length of time necessary to safely can food. 

Pressure canners are constructed from heftier materials and are designed for sustained heat, steam, and pressure to ensure the safety required for home canning. 

What is the Best Pressure Canner to Buy? 

This is a question I am frequently asked. People have differing opinions based on their experiences with them. You must consider numerous factors when selecting the best option for you and your family. 

Once you learn how to use a pressure canner, you will appreciate how simple it is to prepare a meal from home-canned foods! Peruse my canning recipes for some inspiration. 

In addition, you can pre-order a copy of my newest book, Everything Worth Preserving, right now. This is THE canning cookbook I wished I could find, as it describes every fruit and vegetable and provides safe, approved canning methods and recipes! 

We are now accepting pre-orders for shipment in the fall of 2022. In addition, those who purchase the book directly will receive various bonuses! 

I will walk you through five different decision-making considerations.  

What Size Pressure Canner to Buy 

Pressure canners come in different sizes. If you have a large family and intend to consume only home-canned foods, you should select a model with a larger capacity. A smaller one will suffice if you do not cook for many people. 

I always recommend selecting one that can accommodate both pint and quart jars. Refrain from limiting yourself to quart-sized jars. 

Opt for the larger option if you are on the fence between two sizes. It is not significantly more labor-intensive to can 14 jars of beans than to can only seven. You will save time if you can process them all at once rather than repeating the process. 

Frequently, the liquid capacity of pressure canners is specified in quarts. Read the container’s label to determine how many quarts jars it contains. For example, my All American 21.5-quart pressure canner holds 19-pint jars or 7-quart jars. The measurement of 21.5 quarts is the liquid measurement. 

Consider your Stovetop  

If your stovetop is made of glass, you risk shattering it if you use heavier-pressure canners. They are not designed for the canner’s combined weight and high temperature. 

According to the manufacturer, this Presto pressure canner is safe for use on glass stovetops. 

I possess an electric range that is ideal for pressure canning. Using a gas stove, be careful to set the temperature at a reasonable rate. 

You must use a canner with a stainless-steel base for induction cooktops. This Presto 23-quart induction-compatible pressure canner is the only one I’ve discovered that is compatible with induction cooktops. 

Finding the Best Value 

The price of an item is always relevant. Don’t let the initial cost discourage you from purchasing a pressure canner. If necessary, save your pennies because the years of use the pressure canner provides will quickly offset the initial investment. 

Start with this Presto pressure canner if you’re new to canning and are still determining whether you’ll continue doing it long-term. I have utilized this economic pressure canner for nearly fifteen years, and it continues to perform admirably. 

Invest in this All-American pressure canner for a greater return over time. As its name suggests, this pressure canner is manufactured in the United States and has earned a reputation as an industry leader. 

Replacing Parts 

When the gasket on a pressure canner with a gasket, like the Presto model, begins to wear out, it must be replaced. A gasket is a rubber seal that fits around the lid’s edge. 

You will need to inspect it frequently for cracks and wear. Additionally, oiling it helps to extend its life span. Have a replacement available before you need it. 

Depending on your model, you may also need an additional pressure release valve. I bought both the gasket and the valve at a local hardware store, but you should also be able to purchase them directly from the manufacturer. 

The All-American model’s metal-on-metal seal requires no replacement parts. 

Maintenance and Care 

For these canners, there are two types of pressure gauges. One monitors pressure using a dialed gauge, while the other uses a weighted gauge. 

The dialed gauge has a dial for monitoring the canner’s pressure. If you purchase a dialed gauge pressure canner, it must be inspected annually at the county extension office. They will verify that the dial accurately displays the correct PSI (pounds per square inch of pressure). 

This is optional for a pressure canner with a weighted gauge (pictured above). The control that jiggles, hisses, and rocks back and forth is the weighted gauge. This is the type of pressure canner I prefer to use. 

Regardless of which pressure canner you choose, I recommend purchasing one. This opens fantastic opportunities for food processing for long-term storage. Never again will you need to buy broth from a store; bone broth can be easily pressured canned at home. 

You are new to pressure canning and want to ensure that you do it correctly. Take my free four-part video series in which I demonstrate how to operate a pressure canner safely, including what can and cannot be safely canned at home using a pressure canner. 

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