Are you looking for a way to save money, preserve garden produces, and feed your family wholesome and nutritious food at the same time? Then canning could be the solution you have been searching for.
Pressure canning is a method of preserving food in a safe way without the use of freezers, meaning you have less food waste, and you always have food on hand to feed yourself or your family. If you’re new to canning, or on the lookout for a replacement pressure canner, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount of choices available. To help you in your search, we have broken down the important elements to look for in a new pressure canner, along with the top 5 canners currently available.
Pressure canning is the only method of preserving food recommended by the USDA. In simple terms, it involves heating up your canned produce to a level that safely removes any bacteria, allowing you to keep your jars of food for extended lengths of time with no risk to your health.
There are many benefits to canning; these include:
If you grow your own produce, then oftentimes, you will find that you have harvested more food than you can possibly eat before it goes bad. Typically, people will share their excess produce out among neighbors, or in some cases, it simply goes to waste. If you would prefer to keep all of the fruits of your own labor, quite literally, then canning is a great solution. You can preserve your excess fruits and vegetables, giving you a constant supply all year around. For anyone who breeds animals for food, meat can also be preserved in this way, preventing anything from going to waste.
Buying produce in bulk is usually far less expensive than buying in small quantities; however, when you buy food in bulk, you have the problem of storing the food and trying to use it before it goes out of date. Canning solves this problem. You can buy your fresh produce in bulk, and can it to be saved for later use. This can dramatically cut your grocery bills.
No More Reliance on Freezers
Lots of people freeze meat or other produce as a way of preserving it, but this is an imperfect means of keeping food for several reasons. Meat kept in the freezer should only be frozen for one month and should then be defrosted and used. This is a very short timescale compared to canned products, which can be kept on the shelf for much longer.
With freezers, you are also reliant on not having a power outage. Most people at one time or another have experienced the dreaded power outage, which has resulted in a whole freezer load of food thawing out and then being unsafe to eat. This won’t be a risk with canning. Canning also eliminates the energy bills associated with keeping a freezer running for the purpose of storing extra food.
Some people like the security that canning gives them. With a shelf unit fully stocked with canned goods, people feel reassured that they are prepared with plenty of back up food in the event of a snowstorm or something that prevents them from getting to the grocery store.
Wholesome Prepared Meals
With canned goods you have made yourself, you always have a meal on hand to feed your family that you know the contents of. In today’s busy world, we often find ourselves short on time and need a meal option that we can quickly prepare to feed a hungry family. In many instances, people will turn to a frozen pizza or a pre-prepared microwave meal option, but these are typically not very healthy and full of preservatives and ingredients we cannot even pronounce. With canned goods, you know you always have a healthy meal available that only has wholesome ingredients inside, allowing you to feed your family or yourself with a clear conscience.
What to Look for in a Pressure Canner
The key factor most people will be looking at when buying a pressure canner is the size. You need to strike a good balance to avoid your pressure canner, causing you inconvenience. If your canner is too small, you will have to can in batches, and this can be annoying, especially when you consider the time it takes to wait for the pressure canner and its contents to cool down before you can use it again.
But if you buy a pressure canner with more space inside it than you really need, then you might find yourself having to struggle to lift and move a cumbersome product unnecessarily. Consider not only how many jars you are likely to fill at one time but also your storage space. Canners can be large and hefty items that will take up plenty of space in a cupboard or on a work surface, and most people don’t want them hanging around on the countertop while they are not in use. Therefore, it’s a good idea to think long and hard about what size pressure canner will best suit your needs. Fortunately, there are plenty of different sized canners available so once you have narrowed down your size needs it shouldn’t be hard to find one in that size.
Some people are quite fearful of pressure canners and avoid ever using them, which is no surprise because they build up a serious amount of pressure, and it can be a scary thought that they might explode in your kitchen. But pressure canners are actually very safe if designed properly and used with care.
When buying your pressure canner make sure it has an automatic over-pressure release. This is simply a flap that will automatically open if too much pressure builds up in the canner, and pressure will be safely and steadily released from the flap until the canner pressure is back down to a more suitable level. If you’re concerned about safety, this is definitely a key feature to look out for.
The majority of pressure canners use gaskets to help create a secure seal between the canner itself and the lid. It’s a matter of preference as to whether you want your canner to have a gasket or be gasket-free. Gaskets inevitably start to fail over time, and your canner will be unusable until you replace it. For some people, this is not considered to be a big deal. Some gaskets can last for years, and when they need replacing, you can easily source them for a few dollars in a hardware store. However, some people find this to be an inconvenience and would prefer to have a gasket-free canner to prevent having to deal with this.
As with any purchase, price is a major consideration for most people. Some people would rather pay for an expensive item with the expectation that it will last a long time, while others would prefer to buy a budget product and run the risk that it may not perform well for very long. Fortunately, there are many good canners available at various price points to meet the needs of everyone’s budget. When considering how much you are willing to pay for your canner, think about how much use it will get. If you are a very keen canner, then it may be worth paying more money for a higher spec product which will see you through many years of heavy use.
All American Pressure Cooker Canner
This pressure canner by All American is the ultimate machine to meet all of your canning needs, and more. The 21.5-quart size fits 19 regular pint-sized jars inside at once, though a range of sizes is available to suit the occasional canner to the pro canner, with sizes available from 10.5 quarts all the way up to 41.5 quarts. The stand out feature of this product is the metal to metal closure, which is exclusive to All American. This ensures a perfect seal, and also means that no gasket is required. This is good news is that because gaskets typically require maintenance over time, the elimination of the gasket means you have one less thing to worry about. This canner also features an automatic over-pressure release, for your safety, and comes in a stylish wipe clean aluminum satin finish.
The majority of users of this product are delighted with it and believe it to be the best canner on the market. They like how high quality the build is, and that things continue to work as they should, even after several years of heavy use. Another feature popular among users was that the canner comes with two racks, so purchasing additional racks is not necessary. Many users love that this canner has no gasket, and feel they’ll never be able to go back to using canners with gaskets after experiencing the positive difference with the All American.
- No gasket
- Automatic pressure release safety function
- Range of sizes available
- Heavy-duty construction
- Excellent customer service
Granite Ware Pressure Canner/Cooker/Steamer
This pressure canner is constructed from anodized heavy-gauge aluminum, which promises to not rust or stain. The black color of the canner might appeal to some people aesthetically who are looking for something a little different to the typical silver aluminum canner. This canner comes with a rack which makes it useable as a steamer, as well as a pressure cooker and pressure canner.
In two sizes, 12 quarts and 20 quarts, this canner has options to suit people who can in bulk or smaller amounts. The canner comes equipped with a rack to keep jars off the bottom of the product, as well as a steamer trivet for multi-functionality. The lid locks safely and is clearly shown by a pop-up indicator. Calibrated to perform at 3 different PSI levels, this canner is made by one of the oldest cookware manufacturers in the US. They have been producing high-quality porcelain and steel cookware since 1893, with products being manufactured in their Indiana factory since 1901.
Users of this pressure canner love the simplicity of the weighted pressure valve, which helps to keep the cost of the product relatively low, and means it won’t have to be recalibrated annually like canners with pressure gauges. Some users expressed delight that this canner was still working perfectly after several years of use and believe that it is the best canner around for the price. It is heavy-duty and expected to stand the test of time.
- Two sizes available
- Reasonably priced
- Solid and long-lasting construction
- Inadequate instruction manual
- Not for use on induction stoves
Mirro 92122A Polished Aluminum Pressure Cooker
This budget-friendly pressure canner is available in two sizes: 16 quarts and 22 quarts. It is constructed from rust-resistant aluminum, and can operate at 3 PSI levels: 5, 10, and 15. It is worth noting that this canner cannot be used on glass worktops, which frustratingly is not stated in its advertising or product information but is listed on the box. The canner does come with a 10-year limited warranty and a 1-year warranty on replacement parts.
Users of this pressure canner offer both praise for it and warnings against it. It is less expensive than many similar sized canners, which is a big plus point for lots of people, making canning affordable to those who are not prepared to spend a large amount of money on a pressure canner. The lower price seems to have been made possible by Mirro producing this canner using lightweight aluminum. Again, this might be a positive for some people who struggle to lift the heavy weight of pressure canners, but thin walls on a pressure canner lead to the obvious problem of warping. Some users found that this canner warped after just the first use, making it unsafe and unsuitable for future use.
Some users also had problems getting the weight to ‘jiggle’ when it reached temperature, as it is supposed to, and this prevented them from having a good experience with this product. Another user concern about this Mirro product was that the lid seal depends on a gasket, which inevitably will need replacing over time. However, these are easy to source from hardware stores, typically only cost a few dollars, and are simple to replace. This might be a risk worth taking if your main priority is finding a budget-friendly canner.
- Lightweight and easy to pick up
- Two sizes available
- 10-year warranty
- Uses a gasket
- Thin construction susceptible to warping
- Not for use on glass stovetops
Presto Pressure Canner and Cooker
This pressure canner from Presto comes in two sizes: 16-quart and 23-quart. It comes equipped with a rack and recipe booklet. It has an impressive 12-year extended warranty and is made from heavy-gauge aluminum, which is resistant to warping and ensures even distribution of heat for fast and even cooking. It is safe to use on regular stove tops and glass stovetops, though it cannot be used on outdoor gas burners.
Users of this pressure canner have various opinions about it. Many users rate it very highly, claiming it is very easy and safe to use. Of particular note is the customer service helpline which many users found to be useful, friendly, and knowledgeable.
The main complaints against this pressure canner are that the gauge breaks after a short amount of time and that the lid doesn’t seal properly. The problem with the gauge comes up again and again among user reviews, though one would hope this fault would be easily remedied under the 12-year warranty from Presto. Without a working gauge, the user will obviously have no idea what pressure the canner is operating at, making it completely unsafe to use.
The problem with the lid that won’t seal is likely a gasket problem, and this is common with canners which use gaskets. While many users found no problem at all with the fitting of the lid, there was a significant amount who did have this problem, so a poorly fitting lid is a risk you take when buying this product. Due to the 12-year warranty and the good customer service, a faulty lid should be something you can have replaced if this does occur.
- Two sizes available
- Sturdy construction
- Easy to use
- Gasket issues
- Unreliable gauge
T-fal Pressure Cooker Canner
In a polished aluminum finish, this canner looks effortlessly stylish on a kitchen countertop, and the heavy-duty body is resistant to rust. It is available in a 6-quart and 22-quart size, which should be suitable for both single people or average sized families. Two racks are included with this canner, along with a recipe book. It features an overpressure steam release safety function, a sure-locking lid system, and 3 PSI settings. Pressure can be easily monitored from the deluxe pressure gauge dial, which is both stylish and functional.
Users of this product are primarily positive about it. They note that it is easy to use and easy to clean. However, many users of this canner found that the handle completely snapped off after a few months of use, and it was not covered under the warranty. Some users also found that the canner stopped being able to reach high pressures after a few months use, on some occasions, this was caused by a faulty gasket, and on other occasions, the cause was not identified.
The fact that this product has a gasket will be a problem for many people as gasket-free canners do tend to be much more reliable and long-lasting. Another common issue users found was that the canner did not come calibrated to meet the 3 PSI levels it advertised, with the highest level for some users only able to reach a pressure level of 12 instead of the advertised 15. It is possible to recalibrate the canner to make it reach the necessary pressure levels, but it is a cause of frustration and hassle for some users that the PSI levels did not come set as they should have been.
- High-quality construction
- Reasonable price
- 2 sizes available
- Equipped with safety features
- Uses a gasket
- May not last long
- Cannot reach indicated pressure levels
If the price is not a consideration, then the All American Pressure Cooker Canner is hands down the best pressure canner that money can buy. It is well-designed and excellently executed. It is strong, sturdy, stylish, and will stand the test of time. It is gasket-free and is equipped with vital safety features.
Aside from the expense, there are very few negative things to say about it. However, if the price takes this canner out of your budget, then the Granite Ware Pressure Canner is a fantastic option at a lower cost. It is made by a longstanding, reputable company in the US, comes in two sizes, and is built to a high standard that should see it lasting for several decades of use without a problem.