Can Anything Be Pressure Canned & Other PC Questions

decemberdaisyOctober 2, 2011

I know my lead-in question is potentially explosive -- let me re-phrase the question. Can any approved canning recipe be pressure canned?

I've been consistently canning for the last few years and I really enjoy it. I've been exclusively BWB but I'm discovering that I'd like to expand my repitoire into canning low acid items & I also like the additional safety pressure canning offers (especially with things like tomatoes).

1. If I were to purchase a pressure canner, can I use it for things I could also can with a BWB like unsweetened applesauce? Or is a pressure canner really just for things like tomatoes (& tomato products), meats & low acid veggies?

2. Can a pressure canner work as a multi-tasker by using it as a BWB without pressurizing the canner?

3. I am considering the all-american 921 21 1/2 qt pressure canner (holds 7qts or 19 pts). I understand that it is one of the only modern pressure canners NOT using a gasket. Is there a benefit to this as opposed to canners with a gasket?

I'm sorry if this seems like an ignorant newbie question, but if I'm going to invest $$$$ in a good quality pressure canner I want to do my homework!

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

1. Yes you can in those cases for which a pressure canning processing time has been determined. In some cases there is none, only BWB processing time is available, so in those cases you couldn't pressure can as you would only be guessing at the time needed. But many food instructions, including applesauce, provide pressure canning instructions.

Further, some people don't like the results obtained from pressure canning some foods that are normally done in a BWB. The texture, taste, and quality may be affected by pressure canning. In some cases it is improved, in some it isn't.

So as a very general guideline, pressure canning is usually reserved for the foods that require it.

2. Yes, if it is deep enough. Many of us do it. You just don't lock down the lid nor put on the weight. It has the drawback of being quite heavy - a PC full of jars and water - but it works fine.

3. Is there a benefit? Not really. Some prefer Presto, some All American. Some swear by each brand. Some of us have both the Presto 23 quart and the All American. Some, myself included, prefer working with the Presto, some prefer the All American. The BIG difference is the price between the 2 models/brands. Just stick with one of those 2 brands only.

You'll find lots of discussions here about the pros and cons of both brands and it boils down to a matter of personal preference.


PS: and in case you aren't familiar with it, be sure to explore all the info at NCHFP

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 10:25PM
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I'm about ready to purchase a Presto 23 qt and put my AA 21 qt up on the shelf. I'd keep it just in case teotwawki happens and I can't get gaskets anymore (though AA now has that rubber saftey botton, so it's not completly free of needing to replace a stiffened rupper part).

I bought a Presto 16 qt and the AA 21 qt. I would not recomend getting the Presto 16 qt as you can't BWB quarts in it. The thing I love the most about teh Presto is the little valve that pops up and drops down when pressure rises or is fully released. No guessing if the pressure had been normalized, and so far I've never had trouble getting the lid off the Presto like I have with the AA if I didn't guess correclty and left the lid on longer than I should have.

After two years, the gauge on my AA is off, so I can't tell if it's back to Zero, I only try to see if it appears to have dropped since I looked five minutes ago, but the movement is small. Then I very carefuly remove the weight, and if I feel air coming out, I quickly put it on and wait longer. I found that I can't tell the difference in sound between sucking air in (vacume forming) and letting it out (still pressure inside).

If you get the Presto, buy one with a gauge and then get the three piece weight set for it.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 9:23AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

"Just stick with one of those 2 brands only.

Dave, is there a reason why you don't include Mirro?
I love mine! Price is more comparable to the Presto than the AA. It comes with the 3-pc weight already installed.


Here is a link that might be useful: Mirro

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 12:58PM
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teotwawki? Definition please.


    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 1:38PM
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jeanwedding(6 ky)

I think it means "the end of times as we know it"""
or shorter version when "the ###### hits the fan"'''' the common way its said. LOL
Just my thoughts....back to gardening cleanup and canning..

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 2:52PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes, Mirro is no longer recommended by many as the quality of them has been in decline for several years. Then the company was sold 3-4 years back.

Old Mirros are great - I have one too - but the newer ones are cheap imitations of the original. The lock spring is prone to breakage and so are the gauges. Plus parts for them are now in limited supply and difficult to find and per the company only limited parts production is the future.


teotwawki = the end of the world as we know it

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 2:57PM
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yup - they have the right of it. I guess I've been hanging around with the survivalists too long. I'm not a serious prepper, but they have a lot of good ideas for food storage and things like that.

They typically recommend the AA over the Presto because it has no gasket to fail, that may need to be replaced at a time when replacements may no be available. Though then you'd have to worry about getting lids - but they recommend tattler lids too.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 7:43PM
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Dave, thank you! Makes perfect sense. I perused the NCFHP site for pressure canning before posting & you answered the questions I didn't glean from my research.

I have a friend who stockpiles & cans in an effort to prepare for teotwawki -- I can't say that is me by any stretch of the imagination -- but I really enjoy the fruits of my labors in mid-winter. It is very satisfying!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 10:34PM
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