Only 5 quart jars in a canner?

berrybusyJuly 9, 2009

I am SO disgusted. I finally bought myself a pressure canner only to discover it only holds 5 quart jars.

I'm not new to pressure canning. I've helped my folks for years. It was just that almost everything I was canning could be canned with a BWB, or I could put my produce with the folks' and share the final results. That doesn't work now that I'm several hours away, so after making it through last year's canning wishing for one, I decided I needed one for sure this year.

I "thought" I did good research online. I knew what features I was looking for: large capacity (22 qt), a weighted gauge, price... I checked the local stores online and by telephone, finally found what I wanted. Went to the store, checked the box out, NOWHERE on the box did it say how many jars it holds, but hey 7 quarts is "normal" right? Bought it, brought it home, opened it up to check it all out. Thought it looked a little different, but hey it's a newer design than I'm used to right??? Got to the very end of the manual and in the "fine" print...

HOLDS 5 QUART JARS!!!

Why make a pressure canner that only holds 5 quart jars? Most of the canning recipes are designed to make 7 quarts. What am I supposed to do with the other 2 quarts? Wait around for it to get the pressure up, time it, let it decompress and then do it all over again for 2 quarts???

And this one didn't even come with a canning recipe book that had recipes designed to produce 5 quarts! Although it did proudly say you could pressure cook a whole turkey in it if you wanted.

So here's me, frustrated, upset, and looking for recommendations.

I did call and complain to the company. I don't WANT to keep it, but I really want a pressure canner. However, if this is what I can expect...

My Dad's favorite saying:

People who invent things (or in this case re-design things) should be forced to use them.

Apparently the research and development team never did any home canning.

Here is a link that might be useful: What Pressure Cooker Outlet has to say

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Recommendation - return it and get your money back and buy a 23 qt. Presto instead plus the Presto weight set.

It is still safe to use for pressure canning of course (4 quarts is the minimum allowed for the established processing times) and will work fine for pint-based or pint and half recipes. But it is an unneeded hassle if what you do most of the times is quart-based recipes.

If you elect to keep it then you can either a) cut recipes in half (not recommended but allowed) or b) do not jar more than 5 quarts ata time and leave the rest of the produce in the pot and then re-heat to boiling and jar it while the first batch is doing cool down.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 11:17AM
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jimnginger(9)

Take it back!!
Cutting all recipes in half - not in my world. It would take too long to do anything unless your time has limited value.

Can't return it?? List on Ebay or Craig's List as a 5 quart pressure canner (be honest) - unlike the manufacturer.

Concur about the 23 Presto. I have an older 22 Presto with a pressure gauge and I have the 3 piece weight kit (from Ace Hardware or directly from Presto) and it is the best (holds 7 quarts). Love the fact I can also throw in an extra rack and do pints in a double stack. It is also not so heavy as an All American and I can move it around easily without an assistant.
Jim in So. Calif.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 11:47AM
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caavonldy(8/9 N CA)

I agree about returning if possible. The Presto 23 at Amazon is such a good buy. I love my Presto 23 qt. I really love that the rack for the Presto fits into my 20qt sauce pot for BWB without all the weight of my Presto(it is heavy for a 69 yo woman). I'm throwing out my old BWB with the rust spots.
Donna

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 1:08PM
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calliope(6)

I'd be mad too. The capacity of anything like that should be on the box. And, if it weren't, then you should be able to assume it's a standard size.

No, the only time I've canned less than seven quarts at a time is in an emergency. I certainly would not want to put up a food supply five quarts at a time!

I've had a presto canner (the same one) for all the years I've been canning, and it's still ripping.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 1:29PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Take it back, I agree. Besides, those of you with Mirro, I have gotten word from a gal who sells canning supplies at a major store here. Mirro is either selling out or going out of business. She said Mirro parts are going to be hard to find.
So, I suggest the same thing. Get the Presto and buy the 3 piece weight set and use as a weighted gauge canner.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 2:03PM
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myk1(5 IL)

I just did a quick run through my Blue Book and I don't see where "most" recipes follow any yield guidelines.
The low acid food section is, 2qt, 1qt, 7qt, 2qt, 4qt, 4qt, 3qt, 10pt, 2qt, 2qt, 5qt, 4qt, 3qt, 6qt, 2qt, 4pt, 4qt, 2qt, 6qt, 7qt, 4qt, 3qt, 3qt, 7qt, 7qt and 3qt for all that list a yield.
Seems to me that 2qt and 4qt are tied for "most". At least 19 out of 26 would fit so most recipes would work in that canner just fine.

I have one that holds 5 quarts and have been pressure canning for 20+ years and never knew it was a limitation.

So while 5qts is a good reason for you to return it because it doesn't fit your recipes it is not an inherent design flaw that goes against the ways of the canning gods.
Simply return it because it doesn't suit your needs.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 2:32PM
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annie1992

I'm adding my vote to send the darned thing back. I have an old Presto that was my Grandma's and it's still going strong. It holds 7 quarts or 9 pints, unless they are wide mouth jars, then it only holds 8 pints, I haven't quite figured that out yet. Still, it was free so how can I complain?

Another vote for the Presto.

Annie

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 2:34PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

A few years back, Ball decided to go METRIC. The original quart jars and probably all other sizes are now ever so slightly LARGER in diameter. My canner used to hold 7 quarts, but now they are just too tight to fit in there. I do can 6 quarts now, with one in the middle, but I have both kinds of Ball jars, regular older quarts, and the newer metric, which I think is 33 ounces. Even the cardboard boxes and dividers they used some years ago, will barely allow the newer metric jars to fit. Very tight in there! BWB and pressure canners make the same capacity claims and have not yet realized that a Ball canning jar isn't the same size as it used to be. Returning it is your ownly option. Presto, which has meen mentioned here in THOUSANDS of posts are 23 quart pressure canners. A 22 quart is not something I have ever seen, unless its an obscure brand. The quart rating is not the actual count of quart jars, but the capacity of water that can fill the pot.

Here is a link that might be useful: PRESTO 23 quart pressure canner

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 3:35PM
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berrybusy

Thanks for the feedback so far. Now I have a few more questions maybe you can help with.

> Presto 3 piece weight kit

How would that work? I tried finding it on Presto's site, but couldn't locate it. Does it replace the gauge or work in conjunction? Would I still need to get the gauge calibrated? I didn't see it listed on the ACE website either.

> Can I mix jar sizes? i.e. combine pints and quarts?

I played around with trying out empty jars in the canner. It nicely holds 16 pints in two layers. It also holds the 5 quarts and a layer of 8 pints, so I suppose it's possible to fill 5 quarts and 4 pints, keeping in mind the pints will get over processed in order to propery process the quarts. That, and the pints apparently have to be set just so or they might(?) interfere with the pressure indicator. (As I type this out I'm thinking this just sounds like a lot of extra hassle.)

> Ball going metric

If they did or not, I have noticed that there is a slight difference in jar sizes lately. I don't think it has anything to do with this Mirro canner design though.

Again, thanks for the feedback.
At least my BWB canners work fine. Chocolate strawberry jam anyone?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 4:15PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The dial gauges on all pressure devices is only used as a course reference. They are not very accurate and can also read variable pressures at different pressures which is not useful. This problem indicates that they are not 'linear' in their accuracy. The weight set is far more accurate and is a stack of 3 different size metal disks. A single one of the three is for 5 pounds pressure, add the second weight, and you get 10 pounds. Add the third weight to the stack and you get a total of 15 pounds. Most home canning uses 10 pounds, and the Presto comes with just a single 15 pound weight. Amazon and hundreds of web sites offer the Presto weight set too. I just did aweb search and found that Ace hardware sells them. As shown in the link below. You can also contact Presto at www.gopresto.com

Here is a link that might be useful: Presto weights

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 4:31PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

How would that work? I tried finding it on Presto's site, but couldn't locate it. Does it replace the gauge or work in conjunction? Would I still need to get the gauge calibrated?

Here is a link to one of the many previous discussions here on the 3 piece weight set. It includes links to where to buy it. As mentioned the weights are used (work just like the Mirro weight) and the gauge is ignored.

Can I mix jar sizes? i.e. combine pints and quarts?

It is safe but isn't recommended. Check the recipe. You'll note different processing times for each. Some are just a few mins. difference but some are also very different. If you process pints for the same time as quarts you risk over-processed mushy food at the least.

Honestly, there simply is no reason to use any other pressure canner than the Presto.

Dave

myk1 - what edition of the BBB are you using? I checked back in several editions to 1998 are most all of the most commonly canned produce instructions are based on 9 pints or 7 quarts. Check out the recipes on NCHFP.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 5:58PM
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myk1(5 IL)

"myk1 - what edition of the BBB are you using? I checked back in several editions to 1998 are most all of the most commonly canned produce instructions are based on 9 pints or 7 quarts."

'08, fresh bought last fall.
Most of what NCHFP has are time charts about like the old green cards. Many of the Blue Book things are similar, but the recipes that give a yield are what I listed above.
NCHFP claims 7qts is a "canner load" but that goes against their new rule that 5qts constitutes a canner.

I did check and mine only holds 4qts. I don't can meats but 1 gallon has never been an issue for what I pressure can.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 7:11PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Most of what NCHFP has are time charts

Not sure what you mean. NCHFP has hundreds of canning recipes.

their new rule that 5qts constitutes a canner

What new rule is this? AFAIK it has always been 4 quart jar capacity is minimal approved size for canning.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 9:52PM
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myk1(5 IL)

I didn't see much for recipes there. But then again it really doesn't concern me so I didn't spend a lot of time looking.
I pressure tomato sauce and apple sauce, everything else is either bwb or vacuumed and frozen.

Interesting I was at a site today reading 5qts, looked very similar to the present page at NCHFP saying 4qts but not worded the same. And of course now I can't find the link that lead me to the link that lead me there.
So much for that excuse to buy a new one.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2009 at 11:52PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Pressure canning tomatoes is not necessary if you ad the required acid. Even most all store bought tomatoes have added citric acid, and because they do pressure can them commercially, they are far more safe, than ones with no added acid.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 4:46PM
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calliope(6)

Most of my canning, other than pickles or salsas are single item fruits or vegetables, or straight meats and broths. That's why the quantity I can fit in a canner is important. I don't want to tear into bushels of green beans five quarts at a time. I want the largest capacity of canners I can get ahold of.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 6:16PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Calliope, then you would like one of those GIANT All American ones that hold something like 18 quart jars. I don't mean an 18 quart one, it actually holds 18 or so jars !!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 7:30PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The biggest PC I have seen can do about 19 quart jars at once. Only issue its very big around and almost 2 foot tall. If you do invest on a very large one, consider its extra height if your canning on a hooded stove.

Here is a link that might be useful: 41 1/2 quart

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 8:07PM
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calliope(6)

OK, Lindalou........does one need a hydraulic jack to get it up on the stove? Supports under the floor? I was just thinking the other day I better stay very fit as I grow old, so I can hoist my canners down and empty them. I have heard a lot of reasons for wanting to stay young, but that one is a sign of an addicted person.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 1:09PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

You sure need a sturdy stove and I would also need a step stool just to load and unload it. I know someone who owns one of them.
They are not for me. I stick with my 23 quart Prestos. I can't lift the weight of even the empty All American.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 3:40AM
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