Imagine your pantry stocked with the fruits and vegetables of your own garden, available all year round for you to enjoy, to savor, to remember the sights, sounds and flavors of summer and autumn. Perhaps the tomato vines were laden with rich redness, or the peach tree with the juicy taste of autumn.
It may be that you have grown your own beans, have the most succulent sweetest corn on the cob or have made the best Bolognese sauce using only the freshest of ingredients. No matter what - pressure canning will allow you to preserve those flavors for the year.
What is pressure canning I hear you say? Pressure canning is the preserving of fruits, vegetables, meats or sauces so that they can be safely eaten all year round. This is done by sterilizing the contents at a minimum of 240°F for the requisite amount of time in a pressure canner.
While this may sound complicated, it is in fact incredibly easy to do this in your own kitchen at home. Pressure canning has been around since the time of the Napoleonic wars and is still one of the best ways to preserve foods without the use of chemicals.
Whether you are an expert at using pressure canning to preserve your food, or you are a beginner looking to experience the satisfaction of chemical free preserved food, is important that you have the right pressure canner for the task.
The online world is rich with recipes allowing you to use pressure canning to preserve a plethora of different foods. This guide looks at the best pressure canners we found.
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Best Pressure Canners
Why It Is Important To Choose The Right Pressure Canner
In order for pressure canning to be effective, it is important that you choose the right pressure canner for the task. Pressure canning requires a closed vessel that is able to maintain a stable accurate pressure, while also being easy to use in your kitchen.
Pressure canning works by sterilizing food, preventing food borne diseases from contaminating it. While pressure canning is easy to do, you want to make sure that you are using the right equipment, especially when food safety is involved.
A good pressure canner should be easy to use; accurately able to attain the required pressure; easily able to maintain that pressure; and have good safety features.
While it may be tempting to use the old pressure canner buried at the back of your cupboard, there is a risk that it may not properly get up to the correct pressure, especially if the seal has perished.
In order to sterilize your food properly; it is imperative that the pressure canner is able to successfully and accurately achieve the required pressure and maintain it for the minimum amount of time. If you want to enjoy the fruits of your labor, choose the right pressure canner for the task.
Features Of A Good Pressure Canner
The following are the features that we would consider important in a good pressure canner.
Warp Resistant Construction
A good quality pressure canner/cooker will be constructed from warp resistant materials. This is especially important when the vessel is placed under pressure. This comes down to good engineering, as well as the choice of construction materials.
A good quality pressure canner/cooker will be constructed from a heavy gauge aluminum. Heavy gauge aluminum is the ideal material for a good quality pressure canner/cooker as it is a strong, robust material, that will not stain or rust, and is able to heat fast and evenly.
When purchasing any item for the household, value for money should always be a consideration for the discerning buyer. Nobody likes paying too much for an item, conversely the cheapest item may lack quality.
Accurate Pressure Gauge
Pressure canning works by sterilizing our food. In order to do this, it is important that the temperature in the pressure canner is able to get up to 240°F. This is achieved by maintaining a pressure between 10 PSI and 15 PSI (depending upon the altitude at which you live).
If the pressure inside the pressure canner does not reach the required pressure, then the food will not be sterilized properly.
For many of us, a handle on a kitchen item like a pressure canner, would be assumed as a given. While we agree that this is a fair assumption; it is important that the handle on your pressure canner be sturdy, strong and well-constructed and is heat resistant.
As mentioned above in the importance of an accurate pressure gauge, it is important that your pressure canner, has a good airtight seal, in order to achieve and maintain the requisite pressure. One of the common causes for pressure canners failing to get to the correct pressure is due to old and/or perished seals.
If you are using a pressure canner with a rubber seal, make sure to replace the seal every few years, in order to ensure that your pressure canner remains airtight.
Most manufacturers make pressure canners in several different sizes. In order to preserve your foods using pressure canning, many people would use a pressure canner with a 20 to 25 quart capacity. Too small a capacity and you will not be able to sterilize a significant number of jars of food at any one time.
Too large a capacity, and you are likely to have more capacity than you need, which is inefficient, wasteful of energy and limits where you can do your pressure canning.
If the manufacturer believes in the quality of their product, and the standard of their manufacturing, then they should be willing to stand behind their product. A good manufacturer will provide a warranty because they have confidence in the manufacture of their product.
These eight factors should all be taken into consideration when purchasing a pressure canner.
Bearing that in mind, the best pressure canners, in our opinion are as follows:
Best Pressure Canners
Here's our recommendation for the best pressure canners:
Winner - The Presto Pressure Canner
The clear winner when it comes to pressure canners and cookers in the 20 to 25 quart range has to be the Presto Pressure Canner and Cooker. This 23 quart pressure canner/cooker is made from heavy gauge aluminum, making it a solid and sturdy cooker/canner.
The heavy gauge aluminum construction, not only makes it warp resistant but also ensures for fast even heating, which is especially important when preserving food. We like the fact that this pressure canner has a good quality pressure dial gauge, which can be easily read. This allows for a full range of pressures to be accurately measured.
At 23 quarts, the Presto Pressure Canner/Cooker has a good capacity for most preserving needs. While Presto provides smaller capacity pressure canners/cookers the 23 quart pressure canner and cooker is good size when pressure canning the different foods you want to.
In spite of having a good capacity at 23 quarts, this pressure canner/cooker is sufficiently lightweight that people have found it can be used on a glass top range, as well as the more conventional range tops, though you would want to be careful not to scratch the range top.
The Presto pressure canner/cooker has good sturdy handles, allowing it to be easily moved as needed.
This canner/cooker comes with a canning/cooking rack, as well as a, seventy-six page book containing a full set of instructions and recipes. One of the nice things about the instruction book, is that it includes timing guidelines for all sorts of different things that you may want to preserve, as well as the different pressure setting.
We especially like the fact that Presto provide a twelve year warranty for their pressure canner/cooker, as this shows that they have confidence in the quality of their product and its manufacture.
A quality product, from a well-established quality manufacturer, Presto have been making pressure canners/cookers since 1905. In 1915 Presto began producing pressure canners/cookers for home use. With more than a century of experience in the manufacture of pressure canners/cookers, Presto is one of the leaders in the industry.
This experience clearly shows in the quality of the Presto pressure canner/cooker. The Presto pressure canner/cooker is definitely a winner in our opinion. If you are looking for the best pressure canner to buy, you need look no further than the Presto Pressure Canner/Cooker.
Runner-Up – The All American Pressure Cooker Canner
The runner-up for best pressure Cooker/Canner has to be the All American Pressure Cooker/Canner. All American produce several different sizes of Pressure Cookers/Canners. When it comes to pressure canning your fruit, vegetables, meat and sauces at home, you can’t go past the 21 ½ quart capacity pressure canner/cooker.
The all-American pressure Cooker Canner is made from durable, hand cast aluminum, making for an easy to clean surface.
The cover to this pressure cooker/canner is held in place clamping wing nuts. This makes it easy to open and close the lid as required. Unusually, the All-American pressure Cooker/Canner uses an exclusive “metal-to-metal” sealing system, that means there are no rubber gaskets to be replaced.
The All-American Pressure Cooker/Canner has an easy to read pressure gauge as well as an automatic overpressure release. The pressure can be automatically set to 5 PSI, 10 PSI and 15 PSI.
This pressure cooker/canner comes with sturdy phenolic handles.
There are really only two reasons why this pressure canner/cooker was the runner-up. Firstly, the All-American Pressure Cooker/Canner is noticeably heavier than the Presto equivalent. This means that the All-American Pressure Cooker/Canner cannot be easily or safely used on a glass top range.
Secondly, while we are very much in favor of the gasket free sealing system, it does unfortunately come at a greater cost. Depending on how often you intend to use the pressure canner/cooker, and over how many years, this might be a good option for you.
The All American Pressure Cooker/Canner is definitely a superb quality pressure canner/cooker and would make a wonderful addition to anybody’s kitchen, as long as you don’t have a glass top range and don’t mind the price that comes with great quality. There is definitely a certain elegance that comes with its design.
All-American Pressure Cooker/Canners have been made by the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry since 1930. This experience clearly shows in the quality of the manufacturing and the craftsmanship which has gone into producing these pressure cooker/canners.
It is this experience and innovation, which has led to the development of their exclusive precision machined “metal-to-metal” sealing system.
While this pressure canner/cooker will require more of an upfront investment, this would have to be one of the best pressure canners for beginners. If neither of these two pressure canners/cookers is exactly what you are looking for, then here are three alternatives that we can highly recommend.
First Alternative - T-Fal Polished Pressure Canner And Cooker
The first alternative to the Presto and All-American pressure cookers/canners is the T-Fal polished pressure canner and cooker.
While slightly uglier (in our opinion) than the other two cookers/canners it does have a 22 quart capacity and is made from polished aluminum. Like all good pressure cookers/canners the aluminum construction allows for fast, even heating while also being rustproof.
The T-Fal pressure canner/cooker has a quality pressure gauge dial, as well as the ability to choose between three cooking pressure options. Like the All-American, the T-Fal is able to have selective pressure controls of 5 PSI, 10 PSI or 15 PSI.
The T-Fal pressure canner/cooker comes with a sure lock locking lid and has a pressure monitoring device built into the handle.
We especially like the fact that T-Fal have included two canning racks with their pressure canner/cooker, which can hold up to 16 pint size jars. As mentioned earlier, it is important not to put the jars you will be preserving food in, directly onto the bottom of the pressure canner/cooker.
Just as the Presto had its own instruction manual and recipe book, so too does the T-Fal pressure canner/cooker. The value of a good recipe book and the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct use of their product is a valuable resource, that we feel cannot be ignored.
As one would expect from an innovative manufacturer with T-Fal’s long history, they provide a ten year warranty on their pressure cooker/canner, with a one year warranty on replacement parts.
Interestingly T-Fal were the first to produce non—stick cookware and the cordless iron. While some readers might consider their past achievements to no longer be relevant, we feel that it speaks highly of the creative culture that must exist within this company.
We would expect such creativity to show itself and the quality of the products they produce, such as their pressure canner/cooker. It is for these reasons that T-Fal’s pressure cooker/Canner is the first alternative on our list.
Second Alternative - Mirro Polished Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner
The Mirro Polished Aluminum Cooker/Canner would have two be one of the cheaper options available, while still providing good quality. As with all good pressure canners/cookers the Mirro Polished Pressure Cooker/Canner is made from heavy gauge rust-proof aluminum.
This pressure cooker/canner is able to maintain one of three stable pressure settings. These are the 5 PSI, 10 PSI and 15 PSI. This pressure cooker/Canner comes with a sure locking lid system, a side gasket pressure release and a reusable overpressure plug.
In many ways, the Mirro polished aluminum cooker/Canner has much in common with the T-Fal Cooker/Canner. Both pressure cookers/canners have a 22 quart capacity. Both pressure cookers/canners have three cooking pressure options.
Both the T-Fal and Mirro Pressure Cookers/Canners can hold up to 16 pint size jars. The also both have a ten year warranty on the canners with a one year warranty on replacement parts. Like the T-Fal, the Mirro comes with a cooking rack and user guide with recipes included.
The key area in which they differ however is that the Mirro Pressure Cooker/Canner does not have a dial pressure gauge which will account for their lesser price. Mirro was started in 1909, when three aluminum companies merged to form a single company with its base of operations in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
With all three of these original companies founded in the 1890s, Mirro has a long proud history as a maker of aluminum cookware. Mirro is now owned by a French company, however as we all know, the French are some of the best cooks in the world.
Perhaps your preserves will taste even better, if prepared in a Mirro pressure canner/cooker. Certainly, when it comes to a quality pressure canner for low-cost, the Mirro pressure cooker/Canner would have two be the beast pressure canner for the money.
Third Alternative - Granite Ware Pressure Canner/Cooker/Steamer
The fifth pressure canner/cooker we can recommend was the Granite Ware pressure canner/cooker with a 20 quart capacity. Of the five pressure canners/cookers mentioned in this article, the Granite Ware one has the smallest capacity however this will have marginal effect on the number of jars it is able to hold.
Like all good pressure canners/cookers the Granite Ware Pressure Canner/Cooker is made from heavy gauge aluminum to provide strength, rust resistance and even, efficient, heat dispersion.
The Granite Ware Pressure Canner/Cooker has an adjustable pressure regulator system with the standard 5 PSI, 10 PSI and 15 PSI settings and the Granite Ware pressure canner/cooker is able to function also as a water bath canner and also a steamer.
The manufacturers have generously provided the requisite racks that will be needed in order to use it as a steamer or canner. These racks will allow you to use your pressure canner/cooker for more than just pressure canning. This is definitely a bonus in our opinion that is worth taking into consideration.
Granite Ware have not provided a recipe book with their product however there are many recipes available online and their website does have a video clip showing how to use their pressure canner.
Given that Granite Ware can trace its origins back to 1871, this company’s proud history of making cookware ensures that it produces a well manufactured pressure canner/cooker.
We certainly have no concerns in recommending the Granite Ware Pressure Canner/Cooker.
The joy of pressure canning comes from the ability to savor the tastes of summer and autumn out of season. Too often modern society has chosen to use bland tasteless foods pickled in a soup of dubious chemicals, in order to provide long shelf life.
That is certainly one choice that we are all free to make, after all everyone is free to make their own choices.
If on the other hand you prefer the succulent flavors of summer and autumn, and want to enjoy them all year round, then pressure canning may well be what you need, in order to be able to enjoy these flavors.
Pressure canning may at first seem intimidating, however it really is rather easy to do, even for the beginner.
With many recipes available online, as well as many online video clips, there is plenty of resources available to help get you started and give you useful ideas. Such a wide range of online resources allows even experienced pressure canners to try new things.
There is a satisfaction to be had from pressure canning. In order to preserve foods, chemical free, it is important to use a good quality pressure canner/cooker.
The features of a good quality pressure canner are warp resistant construction, good quality construction materials, reasonable cost, an accurate pressure gauge, sturdy heat resistant handles, an airtight seal, adequate capacity and a manufacturer that is willing to stand by their product by way of a good warranty.
In our opinion, the five pressure canners/cookers we have reviewed in this guide, will allow you to experience the joy and satisfaction of pressure canning, for only a very small investment amount.