One large all American or multiple small prestos / mirros

AdamWVAugust 17, 2012

I was wandering if anyone had experience using one large top of the line canner vs. More smaller 7 qt's like prestos or mirros. I currently have one completely operational older 70's ish mirro-mattic, one presto that needs a seal,weight, and the gauge calibrated / checked, another presto base same size and model as the other but no lid gauge etc., and one extra mirro lid but no base. All were given to me, by family members when they found out I like to can. Unfortunately not everyone kept as good a track of the parts as my Grandmother with her mirro-mattic. All parts i do have are in great shape, and they are all 22 qt canners. I can what I guess is a fair bit, for a family of four. My Dad and younger brother are full time fruit and vegetable growers so there's always plenty of stuff if I go on grading day. The blessing or problem whichever way you look at it is, I get a lot of one thing on one day. Last Saturday I did 28 qt's of green beans, my wife and kids helped me snap and that wasn't bad, but I ran the canner until one in the morning to get the four loads done. This occurs many times and I like to can deer meat also. Last year 30 qt's was no where near enough to feed my bunch. My girls 4, and 6 said it was better than mcd. Chicken nuggets and that never happens. So now that you have some background what's your folks opinions? Option ( 1) buy one of the All Americans that will do 19 quarts at a shot, and keep my mirro for small batches (2) get the couple parts for the one presto and buy one or two more (3) anybody have a spare lid for presto or base for a mirro (4) buy a few more vintage mirros from the big auction site that all take the same gasket and weight as the one I have so extra gaskets, weights, and racks will be interchangeable. The vintage mirros seem to be 2/3 the price or more of new prestos when you add in shipping, but I don't think there's much to

go wrong with them. Cost is a consideration, that big canner is around 400 but it's not out of the question, just hard when you know you could buy 4 new prestos and do 24 qt's at a time. Any one else only fit 6 quarts in a presto, the old mirro is same size but holds 7. Any ideas, suggestions, experience or opinions welcome.

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

Of all the home canners I know I can honestly say none of us would try to process 19 quarts of anything all at one time much less 24 or 28 quarts. They would break it down into 3 separate batches over a couple of days or use multiple canners as long as the heat source is available. Wife and I often run 2 23 qt canners but at staggered times.

First because if using a mixed recipe it would mean tripling or more the recipe which isn't recommended because of the mistakes in measuring that are often made, second because it would require using huge commercial prep pots and pans, third because unless they had a multiple man assembly line there is no way you could get the hot jars filled and into the canner all at the same time so many would be sitting cooling on the counter while others were sitting in the hot canner waiting for it to get filled and started, fourth because the weight of said filled canner would be almost impossible to lift and require a heavy duty special burner or commercial stove of some kind, fifth because it would take a canner that big so long to come up to pressure and so long to cool down you could do 2 regular batches in the same time, etc.

Just some thoughts to consider when making your decision. :)

Personally, if you have available multiple heat sources then running 2 canners, filling the second while the first gets started running so the second goes on about 1/2 through the first run, is easy. That over-lapping approach works well.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 10:09PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

I agree with Dave. I wouldn't do more than two canners and I wouldn't go for a mega-canner either due to the same weight issues Dave mentioned. Have you ever picked up a big All-American? Now imagine it filled with quart jars. Unless you have a commercial-type canning kitchen, the weight issues are just staggering. Not to mention cleaning one out if there's jar breakage or siphoning.

Two canners are my personal limit also because it's just too easy to get distracted. I can keep track of two and feel I'm maintaining safety. More than that I'm not comfortable with.

Additionally, unless you have a mega-range, you still need burners available for prepping hot-pack, heating lids, etc.

If you're running an assembly line with experienced helpers that may change the picture somewhat, but most people can't count on that.

Your other canners sound like quite a hodge-podge. Personally I am not fond of Mirros. The company has gone through a change of ownership and parts supply is getting iffy, so I wouldn't invest in bringing those up to snuff if I had Prestos. Two Prestos of the same size and the same model (or compatible model) would be for me the most cost-effective option. I would also buy two of the three-piece weights so I wouldn't have to worry about calibrating a gauge.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 11:01PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I agree on no more than 2 canners. My brain, kitchen and stove can't handle any more than that! :)
I can barely move my 22 qt. Mirro off the burner with 7 full quarts in it, no way I'm going bigger.
I also have a cheapo electric stove with a hood fan and can barely clear the top of the canner when removing quarts, so taller is not an option.

Love my Mirros (have a 16 qt and a 22qt), but am in the process of making sure I can get some replacement parts ordered now, before they are unavailable.

There's no reason you can't spread the processing out over a couple of days. Most produce will "hold" in the fridge that long if needed.

Just my thoughts, but I'd hate to spend that kind of $$$ on an AA only to find it didn't work out.

Lucky you on all that produce availability!! Enjoy it.
Deanna

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 9:11AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I currently have one completely operational older 70's ish mirro-mattic, one presto that needs a seal,weight, and the gauge calibrated

As Carol said there is your solution - buy the gasket and the 3 piece weight set for that Presto (for a total of approx. $25) and you are good to go. Forget the gauge calibration bit. The weights are more accurate anyway.

another presto base same size and model can be used to stagger with the other Presto. As the #1 Presto goes into its 45 min. depressurize, cool down and 10 min wait cycle you can be filling the #2 base and then just move the lid from #1 to #2.

In case you have never read it be sure to review the step-by-step instructions for using a pressure canner at NCHFP as the guidelines for proper pressure canning have changed greatly over the years. I linked it below.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Steps for How to Pressure Can

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 9:34AM
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AdamWV

Thank you all so much for your time, i was visiting a friend this weekend, and in there town they had a real independent hardware store that had the three piece weight in stock.I picked it up per your advice. I'm going to try it out with some water in a test run later. When I was thinking more canners I still was planning on two on the stove and one or two cooling. That's what seems to really slow up the process. I agree with you all, actually monitoring I think two is enough. Then I read Dave's post and I think that's a great idea. Using the third base to put the water, rack, jars
an have everything ready for when #1 cools down, switch lids then you have time to remove jars etc. And run as a rotation. I only want to run
multiples when I have enough people. When I did it with water bath. My wife just set two timers and she was in charge of telling me when to take one off the burner, and put on a new one. We did that with the three bases I have. I like to let a water bath also cool down because the first time I did peaches I pulled them out of the boiling water (air conditioner was creating a breeze across the counter ) set them on a thick towel and they started oozing a bunch of liquid out from under the lid, like a volcano. Now I let them cool some in the water bath and make sure the AC is off, so far no more problems.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 3:36PM
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AdamWV

So for less than fifteen dollars and an idea, now I basically have the capacity of three canners, can still do it in my house vs. Outside, saved 385 dollars, and probably my back. You all are great!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 3:52PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Glad to help! :)

Dave

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 4:49PM
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AdamWV

So for less than fifteen dollars and an idea, now I basically have the capacity of three canners, can still do it in my house vs. Outside, saved 385 dollars, and probably my back. You all are great!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 5:49PM
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AdamWV

Sorry I accidentally posted the same thing twice and I couldn't figure out how to edit it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:18PM
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