Home canning is getting more and more popular. In fact, it has never gone out of trend, especially among home gardeners. And indeed, is there anything better than home-cooked vegetables and fruits all the year round? Here is when the glory hour of a pressure canner comes; nothing is safer, quick and efficient at saving nutritive properties of foods than a good pressure canner. However finding one that is truly good and suitable for your needs is not quite an easy task. The market of today offers an incredible variety of sizes, types, and features. That’s why it might be difficult to choose the one corresponding to your specific requirements, especially if you are a beginner. We hope that the information given below will be useful both for beginners and experienced users of canning devices.
First of all, let’s clarify what a pressure canner is and what its intended use is.
A pressure canner is a capacious pot that uses regulated pressure for cooking and preserving foods. It is designed to be used on a stove top and has a tight-fitting lid that ensures all the steam is kept inside. For safe cooking, it is equipped with a pressure gauge and a relief valve. Checking the pressure gauge readings you can monitor the level of pressure throughout the entire cooking process and adjust it by reducing or increasing the heat.
Cooking under pressure you can prepare meals quicker or preserve and can foods in a safer way. Regulated pressure allows you to eliminate bacteria present on foods or jars and remove extra air from jars. Pressure canning is the quickest and safest way to preserve such low-acid products as poultry, meats, dairy products, seafood, and vegetables.
A good pressure canner allows you to cook and can different products quickly and safely, therefore it will be a nice asset for all those who prefer healthy eating.
What are the benefits of a pressure canner?
In the process of cooking or canning, a pressure canner heats food to the temperature of at least 240° F, which is higher than with any other method. With such a high temperature, the pressurized steam kills all possible bacteria, making jars genuinely sterile and foods truly safe. For low-acid fruits and other foods, pressure canning is the safest method recommended even by the United States Department of Agriculture. Using a pressure canner, you will be able to kill all food born bacteria in such products as poultry, seafood, meats, tomatoes, dairy products and vegetables. In such a way, you will control the quality of your canned products and rest assured that they are absolutely safe and healthy.
Key pros for using a pressure canner:
- Can be used for cooking and preserving a variety of food quickly and easily: through using a pressurized steam a pressure canner considerably reduces the time required for cooking any products. On the average, it requires three times less time for cooking than any traditional methods;
- A pressure canner provides controlled pressure that you can easily adjust and maintain;
- It’s far safer than a pressure cooker and won’t heat up the area in your kitchen;
- While cooking quicker it also consumes less energy and, therefore, is energy-saving;
- With a pressure canner you can cook in canning jars, preparing tasty and healthy meals in store, it allows you to cook and preserve all sorts of vegetables and fruits in a safe and convenient way;
- Food cooked and preserved with a presser canner retains more nutrients. Pressurized steam kills all bacteria but allows you to preserve more nutritional elements in legumes, vegetables, and other products.
What features should be taken into account when picking a pressure canner?
As pressure canners are getting increasingly more popular, the manufacturers strive to improve their products and make them stand out among all other models. Thus, modern pressure canners are getting safer, their quality becomes higher while using them is getting easier. New convenient features are added, and in order to pick a pressure canner with perfect properties for you, you need to pay attention to the entire series of aspects. To make your cooking and canning quick, convenient and easy, it’s recommended to choose a pressure canner with an automatic pressure release. The pressure gauge should be easy to read and it would be ideal if no gaskets and rubber rings for sealing were required, like in the All American 921 Pressure Canner.
But there are three key aspects that should be considered first as you choose the best pressure canner for your needs:
Before you purchase a pressure canner you should think of how much food you are going to process with it at a time and how often. Pressure canners with the capacity from 16 quarts to 23 quarts will be most suitable for home use.
There are also smaller and larger pressure canners, but smaller ones (under 14 quarts) will limit the amount of jars processed at a time and will be more suitable for cooking. Larger canners are heavier and, therefore, more difficult to handle.
Another essential factor that should be paid attention to is the material of a pressure canner. Two most popular materials for pressure canners are stainless steel and aluminum. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages.
If you want a durable pressure canner for regular use for years, than the one made of stainless steel will be better. However, aluminum is a better heat conductor and it’s also cheaper and more lightweight. For better heating properties and increased durability, it’s recommended to choose heavy cast aluminum.
The price of a pressure canner is not the least important aspect. Having the available budget and actual needs in mind, you will be able to make the right choice. Two most popular brands in the market are All American and Presto. Their pressure canners being rated as the best models, both have advantages of their own. So the final choice should depend on your specific requirements and preferences. Bear in mind that more heavy-duty products are more expensive too.
Customer rating and reviews is definitely not the last thing to be considered as you are planning a purchase. Other people’s experience with a specific model might appear very handy as you make your final choice. Customer reviews might help you to understand a product’s features better and learn more about its performance.
The bottom line
A pressure canner is a great device allowing one both to preserve foods and save one’s time and efforts. We hope that the above information will help you to find a quality device that will be most appropriate for your needs and will help you to benefit from safe and tasty homemade canned goods.
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