In the focus of today’s reviews are three different pressure cookers. A pressure cooker is not like your ordinary pot – it is an air tight pot which mainly cooks food by steaming it. This is a very healthy way to prepare food in the sense that it does not require much oil as frying and deep frying do. Also, when you cook food in a regular pot you need to use more oil to make sure that the food does not stick to the bottom of the pot. With a pressure cooker, this is not necessary, because lower temperatures of the stove are sufficient to reach a high temperature of the steam within the pot. Thus, the food inside is not likely to stick to the bottom of the pot because the bottom itself is not very hot. Actually, what matters for pressure cooking is not the oil but the cooking liquid, which could be water, broth or something similar. Using a pressure cooker to prepare your food is also more energy efficient than using a regular pot. Because the pressure cooker is air tight, less energy gets lost through the escape of steam, thus it takes a shorter time for the food to get done.
A pressure cooker can also be used for canning purposes. The steam produced in a pressure cooker can be enough to cook, sterilize and seal the food, provided that it is hot enough. The process basically goes like this – food is placed into individual containers, which are placed in the pressure cooker and distributed evenly. Water is also added to the pressure cooker. Then, the water and subsequently the steam are heated up to high temperatures. This also raises the pressure inside the pressure cooker. As the pressure rises, the steam is forced through the contents of the container so the food is cooked and preserved thoroughly. Needless to say, due to the nature of this canning process, you need to be very careful when handling the pressure cooker, especially at the point when you need to open the pressure cooker and retrieve the containers. You must follow the pressure cooker directions to the T to make sure that quickly escaping steam does not come in contact with your skin.
Back to the topic of today’s article – today we present to you our top three choices in the category of best pressure cooker for canning.
Best Pressure Cooker for Canning: All American 921 21-1/2 Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
The best cooker for canning that we could find is the All American 921 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner. Here are some more details about it.
Firstly, let us talk about its size and capacity. It is 15 and 3/8 inches tall and 12 and 1/4 inches wide in diameter. The size is sufficient to fit 19 pint jars or 7 quart jars.
Regarding the typical 1/2 gallon mason jars, we reckon that it would fit 4 of those (there is no official guideline about it, this estimate is based on how many we were able to fit in while testing this pressure cooker).
The material used for making this pressure cooker is cast aluminum. It has a smooth satin finish. In addition, it has a couple of features which make it very convenient to use. For example, it has an automatic overpressure release. Also, it has an integrated steam gauge that clearly shows the temperature inside the cooker. There is also a valve for setting the desired pressure – you can choose between 5 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), 10 PSI and 15 PSI. Also, this pressure cooker has an excellent sealing system – it is a “metal-to-metal” system that gives a steam tight seal but does not require the use of any plastic gaskets. Last but not least, it is worth mentioning that this pressure cooker is made in the U.S. or Wisconsin to be exact.
Looking at all of its characteristics described above, we really found the All American 921 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner to be a solid product that comes at a reasonable price. The listing price is about $350, whereas the discounted price you can find it for sometimes is about $200 to $250.
While using this canner we came to the conclusion that the product description provided by All American is absolutely spot on – no exaggerations on their part. The materials and the sealing system are obviously built to last and it does feel and work like a heavy duty canner, as advertised. Thus, the drawbacks of choosing this pressure canner as we have determined them cannot really be held against it given how it is presented. These drawbacks have to do with its size and weight. On its own, this canner weighs above 20 pounds, which is considerable. Thus, for a lot of people it will be difficult to fill it up on the counter and then move it to the stove – considerable upper body strength is needed for that. In addition to that, this pressure cooker is also quite tall – thus, you have to be careful that you have at least 16 inches over your range.
Other than those two remarks, we have to say this pressure cooker works really well. The seal is indeed air-tight, the steam gauge works well and not having to deal with gaskets (and the possible need to replace them later on) is a real plus!
Runner-Up: Kuhn Rikon 7 Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
Our choice for the #2 best pressure cooker for canning would be the Kuhn Rikon 7 Quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker.
Compared to our top choice, this one is different in various ways. For one thing, it is considerably smaller – 7 and 3/8 quart rather than 21 and 1/2 quart. It can hold 4 pint jars or 3 quart jars for canning.
This size of a pressure cooker will certainly be considered an advantage for some people, for whom handling 30+ pounds is not desirable. The Kuhn Rikon 7 Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker weighs only 7 pounds when empty! The dimensions are 16.1 x 9.8 x 9.2 inches.
There are also some differences regarding the materials and design. This pressure cooker is made of stainless steel except for a solid thermal aluminum sandwich at the bottom, which is there for even browning and quick heat absorption. It does not have an integrated steam gauge, but it does have a rather intricate safety system – there are five overpressure safety systems, a locking system and a spring-loaded precision valve.
Trying out this pressure cooker, we quickly realized that this is just as good at canning as it is at cooking just about any stew, soup, steamed vegetables and similar. The Kuhn Rikon 7 Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker is amazing at both uses, which is pretty rare. Given its size, it is actually convenient to use it as a pressure cooker, so if you are looking for a 2-in-1 product, this should definitely be your top choice.
Lastly, we should mention that this particular pressure cooker is made in Switzerland and that it comes with a 10 year warranty. Oh, and one more thing. The listing price is about $250 while the sometimes discounted price is about $200. Thus, price-wise, it is rather close to our top pick.
Third Best: Presto 01781 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
The third best pressure cooker for canning is the Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker.
It is a great cheaper alternative of the other two choices we have here, especially of the All American 921 21-1/2 Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner.
It is even bigger than that one, whereas in other aspects it is very similar. For example, the material is the same – cast aluminum.
It also has an integrated pressure dial gauge that provides very precise measurements, especially of higher pressure. It can work with both regular and smooth top ranges.
The price, however, is quite different. The listing price for the Presto 01781 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker is about $110, while we were able to find it for about $90. Another relevant point of difference is the weight. Interestingly, even though this pressure cooker is bigger, with dimensions of 15.4 x 15.1 x 14.8 inches, it is actually almost as light as the Kuhn Rikon 7 Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker, at 10 pounds.
This pressure cooker and canner comes with a limited 12 year warranty, which is the longest out of all three. Also, it comes with the most comprehensive instructions booklet, which is about 80 pages long and includes instructions for canning and cooking as well as a number of recipes you should try.
There you have it – our top three choices for pressure cookers and canners and all the information you would need to know about each one. Thus, here we conclude our reviews and wish you happy canning and cooking with the pressure cooker of your choice.