The pressure canner is a versatile kitchen tool and is a perfect way for beginners to get started with canning or pressure cooking. Find out all the ways this kitchen appliance can be used to save you time and money.
When you decide to start homesteading, you might start in the kitchen. You”ll commit to making more of your household’s food from scratch while preserving local and homegrown food for wintertime eating.
Warning! You will also catch a disease that forces you to start collecting various cookware and kitchen gadgets that help you prepare food in bulk and save 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, and the 20-quart stock pot, to name a few of my favorites.
The star of today’s show is the pressure canner/cooker. I have a 16-Quart Pressure Canner/Cooker. If I were buying one today, I would go ahead and get the bigger one: The 23-quart Pressure Canner/Cooker.
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 buy only those appliances that get frequent use.
After all, 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 get going with all of this homesteading stuff and know for sure you need a particular appliance.
At some point you’ll find an amazing recipe that everyone in the house loves. You’ll make it several times while feeling frustrated because you didn’t have the right equipment (like that spiralizer for making zucchini noodles). Make absolutely sure that nothing else you already have will do the trick before shelling out hard-earned cash for a new kitchen appliance.
Is Canning Safe?
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’.
Whether you call it canning or jarring, many people are afraid of it because of the notorious botulism. In fact, I was too scared to try canning alone when I first got my canner, so I appointed Mr. TAF as my assistant. Having a buddy makes it way more fun, but isn’t essential.
The 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 Over a Water Bath Canner
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether to buy a pressure canner or a water bath canner. They both have their merits, but I’m partial to the pressure canner.
Without further ado, let’s talk about 6 reasons why–if you’re interested in canning–I think 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!
#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 water bath canner (212 degrees F), which ensures destruction of harmful bacteria.
Here’s an article about how it might be safer to pressure can tomatoes.
#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! Prepare food 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!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Pressure Cooker Basics by The Not So Modern Housewife
Here’s how to Pressure Cook Greens by Homesteading on Grace
#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.
That is a lot of work for a beginner to get the hang of, so sometimes I just freeze my tomatoes as they come in.
Compare that to the simple 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’s how to pressure can green beans by The Flip Flop Barnyard.
More articles about pressure canning to get you started
How to Use a Pressure Canner by The Homesteading Hippy
How to Pressure Can Food by The Organic Canner
Getting Started Pressure Canning (podcast) by The North Country Farmer
How to Can Meat by Just Plain Marie
How to Can Roast Beef by The Organic Canner
Lots of recipes for canning Meals in a Jar by The Organic Canner
Canning Moose Meat by Idlewild Alaska
How to Pressure Can Bone Broth by Stone Axe Herbals
Making Turkey Stock by Countrified Hicks
How to Pressure Can Potatoes by A Modern Homestead
Home Canned Carrots by Grow a Good Life
How to Make and Can Tomato Sauce by Melissa K. Norris
How to Pressure Can Apple Pie Filling by Melissa K. Norris
Step-by-Step Guide to Pressure Can Dried Beans by Learning and Yearning
How to Use Home Canned Food
Homestead Dreamer has you covered with the article Cooking with Home Canned Food.
What say you? Do you have a pressure canner? Have you used it as a pressure cooker?