6 Reasons to Buy a Pressure Canner

6 Reasons to Buy a Pressure Canner

When you decide to become a homesteader and transform your home into a unit of production, you make more of your food from scratch and preserve fresh, local, and homegrown food for wintertime eating.

But you also catch a disease that forces you to start collecting various cookware and kitchen gadgets that assist in making stuff in bulk and/or saving you time.

A pressure canner is at the top of my list. Read on to find out why!

How to choose Homestead kitchen appliances

Appliances that do more than one thing are really appealing, since storage space can fill up quickly in most kitchens. Looking around my kitchen I see a blender that does lots of cool stuff, a 7-cup food processor, 7-quart crock pot, 6-quart salad spinner, 20-quart stock pot, and the star of today’s show… the 23-quart pressure canner, to name my favorites.

One might be tempted, then, to exclaim that homesteaders are also consumers in disguise! This is true, but I prefer to purchase items that are going to get a lot of use. I use all of the aforementioned appliances at least once a week.

They would be a waste of my money and the earth’s resources if they were going to just sit on a shelf. My advice is not to buy these things until you really start getting going with your kitchen homesteading.

Experience a couple of times of making a recipe that you love, and feeling frustrated because you didn’t have the right equipment. Make absolutely sure that nothing else you already have will do the trick before shelling out hard-earned cash. And perhaps even more importantly, put your money towards debt and pick a different recipe!

Our makeshift root cellar a few years ago: canned, dehydrated & dried, and fresh winter storage vegetables in the Seedstarting Room.

Our makeshift root cellar a few years ago: canned, dehydrated, dried, and fresh winter storage vegetables in the Seedstarting Room.

That said, more and more people are becoming interested in canning. The term is a little confusing since we’re not actually using cans, but jars! This is why nowadays some are referring to it as ‘jarring’. Whatever you call it, many people are afraid of canning because of the notorious botulism.

In fact, I was too scared to try it alone when I first got my canner, and made Mr. TAF try it with me. Having a buddy makes it way more fun, but isn’t essential.

Truth is that canning is just the simple act of following a recipe.

If you follow recipes frequently from start to finish successfully, then you can practice canning! Botulism is a serious illness caused by improperly canned foods. It is rare, and usually shows up because someone decided to practice canning without following a recipe.

Don’t make recipes up, and you’ll be just fine!

6 Reasons to Buy a Pressure Canner

Without further ado, let’s talk about 6 reasons why–if you’re interested in canning–you need to purchase the versatile kitchen appliance known as a pressure canner.

#1: Can anything.

Water bath canners are restricted to canning only high-acid foods such as salsas and pickles. Pressure canners are used for canning low-acid foods such as vegetables, meats and soups. Fruits and tomatoes can be processed using either method. But since a pressure canner can double as a water bath canner, you get all the benefits with one appliance.

#2: Processing time is shorter.

Tomatoes are a good example. In a water bath canner, processing time is 40 minutes, while in the pressure canner, processing time is 15 minutes. It is also said that because the processing time at high heat is shorter, more vitamins are retained in the final product. I can’t support or deny this claim, but it sounds good!

pressure canned tomato sauce

pressure canned tomato sauce

#3: Processing temperatures are more accurate.

For the beginner who is worried about following the procedure correctly for safety, there is no guesswork with the pressure canner. The external pressure gauge guarantees the internal pressure, and thereby, the temperature.

The pressure canner processes at much higher temperatures (240 degrees F compared to the 212 degrees F of the water bath canner), which ensures destruction of harmful bacteria.

#4: Pressure Cooking reduces cooking time by a minimum of two thirds.

This versatile appliance can be used as a pressure cooker, in addition to being a pressure canner! Make beef back ribs, braised kale and carrots, or a big pot of beans in lickety-split time.

Cooking black beans the regular way in a pot on the stove will take around 2 hours (8 hours in the slow cooker). Or you can pressure cook them in just 2 minutes!

#5: Save Energy.

Shorter processing and cooking times mean less fossil fuel energy used, which means cost savings for you and less carbon emissions for the planet.

#6: It’s so easy.

I admit that I was drawn into canning because of the delicious jams and tomato sauce. What I realized is that processing fruits and tomatoes is really high-maintenance. Preparing them for processing is a multi-step, messy process.

Basic tomato sauce starts out by coring, chopping, crushing, and boiling tomatoes; working them through a food mill to remove skins and seeds, and then returning to a boil prior to canning. In a boiling water bath canner, tomatoes process for 40 minutes.

Compare that to the process for pressure canning green beans: Fill jars with 2-inch long green bean pieces, cover with boiling water, and pressure can-process for 20 minutes. There’s no easier way for beginners to give canning a try!

Here are some more articles to get you started:

How to Use a Pressure Canner

How to Pressure Can Food

How to Can Roast Beef

Home Canned Carrots

What say you? Do you have a pressure canner? Have you used it as a pressure cooker?

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  1. krista says

    I have just started to use mine this year. I did apple sauce and beets. One of my apple sauce batches had a bunch of jars leak and not seal. Followed recipie and instructions. Have any tips, or heard anything about this?

    • says

      Congratulations on using your pressure canner!

      There are a number of reasons why jars leak and fail to seal, the most common one is that the screw bands are too loose. Do you have a bubble popper & measurer? < —affiliate link —-This cool little tool helps me release air bubbles before I put the lids on, and it helps me measure the proper amount of headspace…two other common reasons why seals fail. Jars can also fail to seal if jar rim isn’t cleaned sufficiently before putting on the lids. Food particles can keep the bands from making the proper degree of contact. Although it is very frustrating and disappointing when this happens, don’t despair, it happens on occasion to even the most experienced canners. Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason :-)

  2. Amy Schmelzer says

    Processing time IS technically shorter, but total time is not. With BWB, the water canner is boiling in the background while I’m getting my product, say tomatoes, ready to go. Fill jars, put in canner, set timer for 40 minutes, process, turn off heat when timer goes off, wait 5 minutes and remove jars. With PC, water in the canner is simmering/boiling while preparing product. Fill jars, put in canner, close and seal lid properly, wait for steam to begin spitting out, exhaust steam for 10 minutes, place weight on the vent (I use a weighted gauge type), wait a few minutes for pressure to come up fully and weight to jiggle, then set timer for 15 minutes, when timer goes off turn off heat, wait for pressure to return to 0 before removing weight — easily 20-30 minutes, remove weight and wait 2 minutes before removing lid, take off lid and wait 10 minutes before removing jars. Please don’t tell people that pressure canning is quicker because it isn’t.

    I wait 5-10 minutes before pulling my jars out of the canner to minimize thermal shock. I have seen pressure canned beans that were still boiling inside three hours after pulling the jars out of the canner. Ten minutes doesn’t lower the inside temp very much, but it does help reduce the chance a hot (212-240f) jar will break when I bring it out to my colder (70-80f) kitchen. Plus, nobody wants all the contents to push out from under the lid and contribute to seal failures.

    • says

      It seems we agree that processing time is shorter for pressure canners, even if total time stays the same. Pressure cooking is definitely faster.

      And yes, as mentioned, follow recipes, which give complete instructions on how to safely manage the canner, when to open the lid etc.

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