Pressure Canner Reviews

 

The Pressure Canner – Next Step In Food Preservation Preserving elephant in the refrigerator.

When people think about keeping their food from spoiling, their first thoughts are to just put it in a sealed container or plastic bag and stick it in the refrigerator.

If the food isn’t consumed in a few days – or a week – then the freezer becomes the place to put it – which can extend the shelf life up to a year or so – depending upon what type of food it is.  This is all well and good – as long as the freezer isn’t already jam packed full.  And, maybe, it is a type of food that doesn’t freeze well such as high water content veggies (i.e. cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, etc.).

But, what if you want to store your food longer – say for 2, 3, 4, or 5 years?  Then, canning is the logical food preservation solution.

 

What and How Can I Can?

Boy, say that out loud a couple of times for a real tongue twister!

Canning CornCanning Green Beans

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canning can be accomplished two different ways:

Boiling water bath – The recommended safe process to can tomatoes, cucumber pickles, and other fruits.

Pressure canning – The only safe method of preserving most vegetables, as well as pork, beef, fowl, and fish.

Using either of these methods – and following the directions supplied with your pressure canner – can extend the life of your food for half a decade or more.

 

What Canner Is Best?

Look over the following canner reviews – starting with “the most distinguished” – to a couple of canners that are “not worth your time.”

All American Pressure Canners

All American Pressure Canners

These canners are definitely top of the line.  Produced by the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry since the 1930s, they are widely viewed as the best of the best.  I have never heard a bad word said about them.

All American Pressure Canners are unique in that they are the only canner on the market that employs a precision machined metal-to-metal sealing system – using clamping locks to easily open and close the lid – creating a super tight steam seal.  You will never need to replace a rubber seal or gasket with these canners.

All canners include:

  • A readable steam pressure gauge – allowing you to maintain precise pressure control.
  • Heavy duty cast aluminum construction – provides fast, even heating.
  • Bakelite handle – so you don’t burn your hands.
  • Professional quality, extra heavy duty cast aluminum construction throughout for fast & even heating
  • A safety control valve and an overpressure plug – both are automatic venting features.
  • A pressure regulator weight designed to help maintain pressures of 5, 10, or 15 psi.
  • Cooking and canning racks, instruction book, and recipe book.

Made in the U.S.A.

 

Some Downsides

 

The first limitation is the manufacturer’s warranty.

It’s only 1 year.

The second shortcoming is the price.

These are, by far, very expensive canners – with prices ranging from a little over $200 up to $500 – depending on the canner size.  But, the old saying goes … you do get what you pay for.

Last but not least – these are heavy mamas!

Due to the heavy aluminum construction, the 21 quart pressure cooker canner weighs in at about 20 pounds – empty.  The smaller canners will be a little lighter – but, the larger canners – 30 qt and 41 qt – will weigh in at around 40 pounds – empty.

Add your Mason jars full of veggies to be canned – and, you will add another 20 lbs.  You want to be very careful – and pretty strong – when you attempt to move a full All American Canner around on your stove or countertop – especially, if you have a glass top stove.

NOTE:  Due to the weight of these canners, beware of using them on a glass or ceramic top stove.  They could crack it if your stove’s weight limitations are less than a full canner.  Check your stove’s manual for restrictions.

 

All American Canner Sizes

For a better idea of which size canner will fit your needs, here’s a breakdown of how many pint jars or quart jars each canner will hold.  My preference is the 21 quart pressure cooker canner.  It’s a good size to fit comfortably on my smooth top electric stove.

NOTE:  These jar capacities are based on round regular mouth standard Mason jar sizes.

All American 10 1/2 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner10-1/2 Quart – 7 Pint Jars, 4 Quart Jars

All American 15 1/2 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner

15-1/2 Quart – 10 Pint Jars, 7 Quart Jars

 

All American 21 1/2 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner

21-1/2 Quart – 19 Pint Jars, 7 Quart Jars

 

All American 25 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner

25 Quart – 19 Pint Jars, 7 Quart Jars

 

All American 30 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner

30 Quart – 19 Pint Jars, 14 Quart Jars

 

All American 41 1/2 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner

41-1/2 Quart – 32 Pint Jars, 19 Quart Jars

 

 

Presto Canners

The company goes way back to 1905 in Eau Claire, WI – when National Presto was known as Northwestern Steel and Iron Works.  At that time, they were manufacturing 50 gallon, industrial sized pressure canners.

I love these canners!  The aluminum is not quite as heavy duty as the All American Canners but, they do a great job as a pressure canner and a water bath canner.  They are much lighter – with the 23 quart pressure canner weighing in at only 12 pounds.


I own two Presto canners – a 16 quart and a 23 quart – and, I couldn’t be happier.

Not only are these canners less than one-third the price of the All American Canners, they come with a whopping 12 year warranty!  Plus, the Presto Canner quality is in the same ballpark.

Can’t beat that with a stick!

Presto Canner Pressure Gauge

Both Presto canners have an easily readable pressure gauge for precision pressure monitoring.

The only downside is that, if you do a lot of canning, every 3 or 4 years, the rubber seal on the lid starts to warp – and, will reach a point where it will have to be replaced.  But, considering the overall cost savings, this is not such a big deal.  The same rubber seal will fit both the 16 and the 23 quart canners – so, I keep a couple extras on hand – just in case.

If you are serious about canning your vegetables, meat, cheese, etc., this is the way to go.  Presto canners are unsurpassed.

Made in the U.S.A.

Here are the two sizes available – with jar capacities:

NOTE:  These jar capacities are based on round regular mouth standard Mason jar sizes.Presto 16 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner

16-Quart – 10 Pint Jars, 7 Quart Jars

 

Presto 23 Quart Pressure Cooker Canner

23-Quart – 20 Pint Jars, 7 Quart Jars

 

 

Canners Not Worth Your Time

I won’t say much about the Mirro and T-Fal canners – other than their ratings are mediocre to poor at best.  The Mirro canner is a few dollars less than the Presto Canners and the T-Fal canner is a few dollars more. But, most folks I’ve contacted have recognized the error of their ways after buying Mirro or T-Fal canners – and they have moved on to Presto or All American for their canning needs.

Reports on the Mirro canners include:Mirro 22 Quart Canner
  • The bottom is concave. Therefore, it can’t be evenly heated if it is used on a glass or ceramic flat stove top.
  • The bottom bulges out during the canning process – making the canner unusable. Many have indicated that this has happened after only one use.
  • Leaking steam around the handle – and replacing the seal doesn’t seem to fix the problem. Thus, the canner will never get up to the correct pressure for safe canning.
  • Easily stained and, the stains cannot be removed.
T-Fal also had a number of quality issues:T-fal 22 Quart Canner
  • The handle breaks easily. I would hate to have the handle break just when I was removing it from the stove!
  • Steam escaping around the handle seal or someplace along the side. Doesn’t sound like much pressure is being generated, does it?
  • The pressure valve is not functional. Not a good thing.
  • The pressure gauge is not accurate and the canner cannot reach 15 psi – it tops out at around 12 psi. Sometimes, it can’t even reach 10 psi!
  • Can gouge, scratch, and warp a glass or ceramic flat stove top. Stay away from my stove!
  • The bottom bulges out during canning. Can’t use this canner anymore!

 

Presto Canner - a wise choice.

 

There you have it.  Stick with either All American or Presto for your canning needs and you won’t be sorry.  It all depends on your budget.  How much do you want to spend on canning supplies?

I look forward to hearing from you.  Comment below or email me.

 

Jim, the Lifelong Gardener

jim@perfect-vegetable-garden.com

 

4 thoughts on “Pressure Canner Reviews

  1. Melinda Reply

    I have been considering canning for a lot of years. I was always told that pressure cookers can explode though, so I was always to nervous to try. My husband was left with 2 pressure cookers from when his grandmother passed away. I have no clue how old they are, or if they are any good at all.
    My husband and I have moved and now have a decent back yard, so we are planning on having a small garden next year. As the years go by, we will want to preserve some of the vegetables and fruits that we grow. I think I’d rather go with 2 of the smaller pressure canners than the big one. I have a problem with arthritis, so I doubt that I could even pick the big one up.
    I’ll have to bookmark your website so I can come back to look through these canners again.
    Thanks for the information,
    ~Melinda

    • Jim Reply

      Hi Melinda,

      If directions are followed, a pressure canner will never explode – even the antiques made before 1970.

      Earlier pressure canners had a gauge and a toggle sitting on a hollow metal stem.  In those days, it was important to keep the hollow metal stem cleaned out.  My grandmother kept a package of pipe cleaners with her canning equipment just for this purpose.  If the hollow metal stem clogged up – and, if the pressure in the canner exceeded about 45 psi – it was possible for them to explode – and spew boiling water and steam over everything.

      But, explosions, even in those days of old, were due to negligence – not the fault of the canner, itself.  Those ancient canners had to be constantly watched to ensure that the pressure stayed within canning parameters – typically 5 psi, 10 psi, or 15 psi.  The burner on the stove was adjusted up and down to maintain the correct pressure.  If this was done – and, the hollow metal stem was not clogged, there would have been no possible way for an explosion to occur.

      All pressure canners manufactured after 1970 come with an additional “safety valve” that will pop out and allow steam to escape – if the pressure exceeds 25 psi.  And, the interlocking tops are rated to withstand up to 45 psi – so the lids will stay on until you physically remove them no matter what.  With the added insurance of the safety valve, there is absolutely no possible way for post-1970 pressure canners to explode.

      Following the instructions supplied with the canners and paying attention to the canners has made canning an enjoyable activity for many folks.  Remember though – you still have to tweak the stovetop heat to keep the pressure in the ballpark of 5, 10, or 15 psi – you can’t just start up a canner and go watch a 2 hour movie and not check on it intermittently.

      I’m glad you are considering food preservation and I think any one of the canners I’ve reviewed here would do you proud.  But, I suggest sticking with the Presto canners – since they are light enough for anyone to move around.  Plus, they will last forever.  I know my 2 Presto canners have!

      You may also be interested in my latest post, “Home Canning Made Easy.”  It covers some of the basics of canning.

      Jim

  2. Melinda Reply

    Thanks Jim!
    I will dig out the canners and see if they have the safety valve. I will also check out your other post.
    ~Melinda

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