Difference between pressure cooker and pressure cooker/canner?

linda_tx(z7bTx)December 31, 2006

Could someone explain to me the difference between a pressure cooker and a pressure cooker/canner. I want to can pints of salsa and chili sauce. I don't need anything large like for quarts. Where is a good place to purchase the above?

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I tried using a regular pressure cooker for canning because it was small enough to fit on my stove eyes - a must for the type stove I have. It just didn't work. The people at the extension service thought it was because it heated up and then cooled down too fast.
Most salsas don't require pressure canning.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 2:11PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

That's pretty much it, Missem.

It's a matter of size. All pressure canning recipes include, in the time/pressure figures, how long it takes to heat up and cool down. This takes much longer with a canner than it does with a cooker.

Even though a couple of jars will fit in most cookers, the fact is they are underprocessed if you use one for canning.

So, while you can cook in a pressure canner, it is not recommended that you can in a cooker.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 3:42PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

In order to be called a canner and safe for canning use, it must be able to hold at least 4 quart jars inside. If it only holds pint jars, it is too small to be used for safe canning.
Otherwise, the size will be too small and it will heat up and cool down too fast, making the foods underprocessed. That time it takes to heat up and cool down is also factored into safe processing times.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 4:51PM
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Thanks for the responses. I suppose I will have to give up canning until I get my house built and I have larger burners. I am in a travel trailer and the burners are too small for one of the large canners. This is the pits. I got myself all excited for nothing. What a new years eve dissappointment.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 5:30PM
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I use a small Presto brand pressure cooker/canner that only holds 8 pint jars. Heavy aluminum and does very well on small burners. The vent weight provides 15 lbs pressure. The only tricks to using it are to let the steam flow out the vent for several minutes before putting the weight on and letting it cool down before removing the weight.

It must be 20 years old and haven't seen the manual lately so can't give model number.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 6:26PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

This same question gets posed at least once a year.. If you go with a really big capacity canner, be sure the height of your burner has at least two and a half feet spacing above it for the top of the canner. Many home stoves have hoods over them, and many of these big canners will not fit on the stoves without some serious adjustment. Another thing is the kind of burner you use.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 8:19PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

"Pressure canners come deep enough for one layer of quart or smaller size jars, or deep enough for two layers of pint or smaller size jars. The USDA recommends that a canner be large enough to hold at least 4 quart jars to be considered a pressure canner for its published processes. "

If you go to the Presto site, nowdays you will see they only list the larger size as canners. They have 18 quart and 23 quart. Anything smaller is under cookers.

Here is a link that might be useful: National Center for Home Food Preservation

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 6:37PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

The smallest pressure canner is a 12-quart Mirro, which is quite squat. However, it is wide and I doubt would meet your needs either. You could certainly take a look at it though.


Here is a link that might be useful: Mirro Small Pressure Canner

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 6:59PM
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This has definately been a learning experience. With all the regulations we have now I can't help but wonder why there weren't whole generations of families wiped out by home canned foods. I had decided it might be best if I pressure canned the chile sauce recipe since it isn't a tested recipe (except by my grandmother and mother and those before them). After all these years I don't want to be the one to bump off family members with home canned chile sauce. Gads, this is scarey. Thanks to all who responded and I will continue to research the ins and outs of canning until I get up the nerve to give it a try.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 9:11PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Linda, there's no need to work up your nerve. People have been canning successfully for 200 years.

As you note, there are all sorts of "new" regulations since your grandmother's day. Some of which are actually safety-driven. And some of which are typical American overkill. Experienced canners cheerfully ignore many of them, and, despite scare stories, aren't bumping off their friends and families.

But, until you gain that experience, it's best to go only with tried & true, tested recipes. There are enough of them out there, from Ball, and the USDA, and a half-dozen food-science colleges.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 8:51AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Linda Tx, these are not really regulations, but recommendations by a fedeal agency to insure safety in home canning. If they were regulations, I would expect that we would all be required to pass tests of some kind, and be certified the home canning. Besides that, home canning equipment would require some kind of permit

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 11:57AM
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I finally found my manual.

Now I remember exactly when I bought this one and why. It was in 2001 and perfect size for making 'pulled' burrito meat from smoked and/or BBQed bird and roasts.

Not tall enough for quart jars and holds up to 8 pint jars at a time. Pints and 1/2 pints are perfect for what I do. It has a 15 lb weight.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 12:00PM
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