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 Post subject: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:22 pm
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:shock: :shock: :shock: Seriously. For some reason I am very afraid of pressure canners. (I'm also afraid of gas stoves.) However, after getting into this garden mode I realize that it only makes sense to be able to can some things that need to be pressure canned. :oops:

You see, when I think "garden".... I think "what do we eat most of, what is cheaper and more sensical to buy at the store (like corn), how much will it produce and how will I keep it from going to waste" and the whole shebang. I plan to freeze some but I also think about power outages and such. SO, that leads me to pressure canning, right?

Dh says he will help me figure it out AND help me do the canning! If he's not fishing. :lol: Now my questions are: What are the good brands of pressure canners? Do I want a big one to do a lot at once or do I want a smaller one to also use like Linda mentioned? And can you do both in the same one? What else do I need to know about them?


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 Post subject: Re: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:06 pm 
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Mirro is the classic brand of pressure canner.

The big ones are for canning any reasonable quantity - otherwise you're going to have to do piddlin' amounts and get very frustrated.

Smaller pressure cookers are for making stew for the evening's dinner or whatever.

The big ones cost over $100., I believe.

(I don't actually DO any of this stuff - but my sister does - and, as an older sister, she has been the source of massive amounts of information for me in life! ; )

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 Post subject: Re: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:50 pm 
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Presto and All American are the ones I have seen. Presto can be found at Walmart. All American can be ordered from manufacturer or Amazon/Ebay, or Lehmans and those type places. The All American costs more but it is a tank and will last forever. Has no rubber seal or anything that will wear out and need replacement. You can look on Amazon and read reviews on the different brands and sizes.

You can use a pressure canner as a pressure cooker, but not recommended to use the cooker as a canner. I have the All American 921 and I use it for canning and pressure cooking. Love that thing! It is heavy and not recommended for glass top stoves. I have a gas stove and have also used it outside on a propane stove, a turkey fryer type burner. This 921 model will do 6 or 7 quart jars at a time or 18 pints at one time. It weighs about 20 pounds empty. I would love a larger one that would let me double stack quarts but it would be so heavy even empty and also would be too tall for my stove since I have a microwave over the stove. Like Anna said, don't get one so small that it will frustrate you. Especially if your garden is producing a lot at once, you want to be able to get more done at a time. And it will not cost you more in whatever type fuel you are using to run a larger canner versus a small one. Once it reaches pressure, it takes a pretty low flame for it to maintain the temperature. You also have to consider that it takes time for the canner to cool down all the way before it can be opened after canning (not the case for pressure COOKING, you can release the pressure and open it immediately when cooking), so you have to factor that into the time it would be before you could get a second canner load of things going. Mine takes a good hour and usually more to cool off before I can get the jars out and start another batch.

Here is a link to a site that keeps current info on all types of food preservation.

http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_home.html

Canning is addictive :) So is dehydrating but that is another story. You can find the manual for most all canners online now, can give you that link if you need it. Read through some and ease your fears :) They have over-pressure plugs that would blow out and release the pressure before it could build up to the point of it blowing the lid off. I think it is very easy, therapeutic actually ;) Just follow the directions in the book that comes with your canner.

Using your pressure canner as a pressure cooker is easy. I cook a whole meal in it by stacking large casserole dishes covered with foil using the racks that came with my canner to stack things on top of each other. For example, ham in one, scalloped potatoes in one, and lima beans in one. Stack it all in, bring up to pressure and cook. Recipes for pressure cooking will be in the canner manual. If I do rice, I do it in a glass or stainless steel bowl sitting in the canner.

One of my favorite things to keep canned up is beans from dried beans. Soak overnight, drain, add fresh water, and process per directions. They come out the perfect consistency, not mushy, and make a delicious broth. They are so handy to have in the pantry and taste nothing like beans that come in a metal can from the store. They taste like you simmered them all day.

Meats are very easy to pressure can also and come out fork tender with a wonderful broth. I do chicken, venison, pork. Besides the obvious benefit of having things stored up and being able to preserve what you grow, it is just such a convenience because things are already cooked and ready to eat when canned. I make big pots of vegetable soup and can it, do jars of split pea soup, chili, etc. to have ready to eat meals on the shelf.

Did I mention canning is addictive? ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:07 pm 
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wow- thanks for a hugely informative post, CoastalCarol!

I had no idea that you could stack a whole meal in a pressure canner! (I HAVE seen the tupperware gadget to MICROWAVE a whole meal, tho ; )

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 Post subject: Re: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:47 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:28 pm
Posts: 436
I should have put a warning on that post lol.

There are lots of youtube videos showing canning anything you can imagine. Just make sure what they are doing matches the directions in your manual so the food is preserved safely.

Backwoods Home magazine has a forum with a section on canning and preserving and you can get some good tips reading through those posts too. Some of those folks do some serious gardening and canning!

I have seen that Tupperware thing too. I am all about saving time and effort in the kitchen :)


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 Post subject: Re: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:28 pm
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Sis, here is a link to another site that has a lot of good preservation information. The links to the various canner manuals are on this site somewhere also.

http://pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:17 pm 
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[quote="coastal Carol"]Presto and All American are the ones I have seen. Presto can be found at Walmart. All American can be ordered from manufacturer or Amazon/Ebay, or Lehmans and those type places. The All American costs more but it is a tank and will last forever. Has no rubber seal or anything that will wear out and need replacement. You can look on Amazon and read reviews on the different brands and sizes.

Wow! Thanks! :shock: :lol: I feel like I have a lot to take in in a short amount of time - but I really have the time before needing the canner, right? Whew. :mrgreen: The negative comments (which are comparatively few to the 1,000 + glowing reviews) were about the weight of it, the difficulty in getting the lid off, and how long it takes to heat up and cool down. One reviewer said she could cycle thru her other canner 4x while this one went thru one.

>>>You can use a pressure canner as a pressure cooker, but not recommended to use the cooker as a canner.
<<<Gotcha. Makes sense.

>>> I have the All American 921
<<< That's the one I'm looking at. :)

>>> Canning is addictive :)
<<< I can believe it! Back in the day when I learned to can jelly I *LOVED* the pop pop popping of the lids and the beautiful rows of colorful jars! (The sugar content in the jelly made me never* touch the stuff again, tho'.) :lol:
*never = as in rarely

>>> So is dehydrating but that is another story.
<<< Doubtful. ;-) NOT very pretty. And I don't like the taste of dehydrated foods.

What about the horrific accidents you hear about?

>>> One of my favorite things to keep canned up is beans from dried beans. Soak overnight, drain, add fresh water, and process per directions.
<<< Be still my heart! (Well, not literally, of course.) :roll:

>>> Meats are very easy to pressure can also and come out fork tender with a wonderful broth. I do chicken, venison, pork. Besides the obvious benefit of having things stored up and being able to preserve what you grow, it is just such a convenience because things are already cooked and ready to eat when canned. I make big pots of vegetable soup and can it, do jars of split pea soup, chili, etc. to have ready to eat meals on the shelf.
<<< I'm beginning to drool! When dh and I were first married we moved into an old farm house. It hadn't been lived in for 7 years. (The rent was $1 a day.) In the basement we found jars of canned meat. We asked the landlord about it and she said if the seals were good the meat should be so, we ate it! It was AMAZING. That was over 40 years ago and I still think it's some of the best meat I ever had.
How do you have enough meat at once to can? Do you ever just can a couple of quarts at a time?


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 Post subject: Re: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:14 pm 
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Posts: 436
I am about to go help a friend do pressure canning for the first time this evening :)

It IS heavy and that does make the heat up/cool down take longer. This is the only pressure canner I have used so I have nothing to compare times to. My friend tonight is using a Presto so I can compare after tonight. The AA is thick where as the Presto is thin, if that makes sense. Like comparing a lightweight sauce pan to a heavy cast iron pan. I am cheap, lol, and I researched and researched and decided on the AA because it is a tank and should last forever, and is made in USA. If I had more space and was stronger I would love one of the larger two so I could process more quart jars per batch but they are really heavy and expensive. The weight of the 921 isn't bad really because you aren't carrying it around loaded anyway. Put it on the stove then add the couple inches of water, it's about 1.5 gallons I think. After processing, I remove the jars and then wash out the canner after it has cooled down more so it's just the canner with the water and that's manageable.

I've had a couple people look at me like I have 3 heads about doing dried beans but we LOVE them being ready to eat and perfectly cooked. My dd even took jars to college. I am trying to get in the habit of canning up extra beans in cooler weather so we won't run out in the summer when it heats the kitchen up (remember I am in the hot south). We do pintos, black beans, northern beans, split pea soup.

As for large amounts of meat, I buy chicken breasts from Zaycon foods and it comes 40 pounds per order. It takes 3 batches usually but we do it in 2 or 3 days and it's not bad. I had some venison this past fall and canned a jar of that to see how we like it, and it was delicious and I have never been a venison eater till this year. I have gotten pork roast on sale and done that. Lots of people get turkeys at the holidays, cook them, then can the meat. I haven't tried that. Even a cheap cut of meat will be tender after canning.

You can do a jar of this, a jar of that, just a few jars, etc. Just watch that the jars won't turn over if you do fewer jars. Process for the time needed for whatever item or ingredient needs the longest time. I have never had a problem with the food quality been lesser if it processed a little longer because a pint jar was done with quart jars for example.

There are also lids that are reusable. Tattler lids. Love them too. These are also great to use with mason jars for storing dry goods in the jars. If you have a vacuum sealer, like a Food Saver, they have an attachment to suck the air out of the jar of dry goods and seal it to keep fresh longer. Obviously this is for things like rice or pancake mix and not anything that needs processing time in a canner.

http://www.reusablecanninglids.com


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 Post subject: Re: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:13 pm 
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Posts: 8837
[quote="coastal Carol"]I am about to go help a friend do pressure canning for the first time this evening :)

>>> What awesome timing!!!!! :mrgreen:

<<< It IS heavy and that does make the heat up/cool down take longer. My friend tonight is using a Presto so I can compare after tonight.
>>> sigh That could be a deal breaker for me. I always think I'm going to get stronger but... I don't. I might sometime but can I count on that for canning season? I doubt it. And not perpetually. I have an 84yo friend that is stronger than I am. She's all stooped over now but she is still strong. But then, I do have my dh that says he'll help. Hmmmm

<<< people look at me like I have 3 heads about doing dried beans but we LOVE them being ready to eat and perfectly cooked.
>>> What? Why?! We buy canned beans all the time because it takes too much planning ahead to cook them when wanted. Why *wouldn't* you can dried beans? I think of all the canned items I buy and figure I could can them, too, if I found good recipes. Home canned corned beef hash? Hmmm.

>>>(remember I am in the hot south).
<<<One of the reasons I am preserving stuff (like in the freezer) is so I don't have to heat the house up when it's warm out. I live in the NW but I get too hot easily. It was 66 in the house this morning and I had to open the window when I was cooking cuz I got so hot.

I KNOW that some soups might can well and others will not. And, knowing me, I will have to experiment with it. The first thing I ever canned was milk! I knew it could be done and tho't how great it would be to have milk stocked up! bleh! :?

>>> As for large amounts of meat, I buy chicken breasts from Zaycon foods and it comes 40 pounds per order.
<<< Is this fresh or frozen chicken? A minimum amount of meat to can might be 10 lb?
Canning venison sounds like a good plan. Ours usually gets freezer burned.
>>> Even a cheap cut of meat will be tender after canning.
<<< :mrgreen:

>>>You can do a jar of this, a jar of that, just a few jars, etc. Just watch that the jars won't turn over if you do fewer jars. Process for the time needed for whatever item or ingredient needs the longest time. I have never had a problem with the food quality been lesser if it processed a little longer because a pint jar was done with quart jars for example.
<<< AHA! Great!

>>>There are also lids that are reusable. Tattler lids. Love them too. These are also great to use with mason jars for storing dry goods in the jars.
<<< I just ran across these while looking at pressure canners. I wondered if they were good.

>>> If you have a vacuum sealer, like a Food Saver, they have an attachment to suck the air out of the jar of dry goods and seal it to keep fresh longer. Obviously this is for things like rice or pancake mix and not anything that needs processing time in a canner.
<<< I almost got one of those for the salad-in-a-jar things. Sucking the air out of those helps them stay fresher longer, too.

Awesome info. Can't wait til you're done using the Presto tonight for your review!


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 Post subject: Re: Pressure canning.
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:54 pm 
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Coastal Carol is a WEALTH of information!! She's the one that helped me with my garden last summer! :D
(She also has way more energy than I do, :lol: )


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