Presto PC on sale

2ajsmamaDecember 2, 2013

Not sure if this as low as it will go this month, but Walmart still has the $80 bundle for the 23 qt PC and case of pint jars (I got that 2 months ago). This PC does not come with the 3-pc weight set, you have to order it separately. WM doesn't carry it, but you can order it for $15 (plus shipping) from affiliate.

Amazon has the 23qt PC for $69. Both Amazon and WM have free shipping. Weight set is $12 on Amazon.

I checked out the 16qt Presto at WM store last month and that comes with the weight set, so if you don't need the taller pot you can save a little - the 16qt is $67 (weights only, no gauge, the one shown with the gauge for $72 doesn't have the weight set, just the 15psi regulator).

Ace has the weight set (p/n 50332) for $15 but has 15% off today and free ship to store.

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If you were lucky enough to be at Ace on Saturday, you could have go one regular priced item at 50% off with coupon. I didn't have any money, or I would have been there for more jars.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 7:18PM
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I've seen cases of canning jars at Jo-Anne fabric stores. I picked up the squat 1/2 pint wide mouth jars because they look perfect for mustards ... and used a 50% off coupon. Jo-Anne's has coupons all the time. The company that owns the Ball Jar company now is promoting them for craft projects so you can sometimes find cases of jars at chain craft stores, too.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:33AM
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The short squaty 1/2 pints are also available at WalMart under their Mainstay brand. I don't use them, but have seen them. I would not recommend their lids, but the jars have been pretty good (only 1 jar out of about 15 dozen damaged or odd shaped).

In my area, canning jars are rare, everyone has started canning again. You can't find them even in people's basements.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:51AM
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I've been researching pressure canners, and I don't fully understand the difference between the Presto 23 QT and the Presto 16 Quart -- it says they both take 7 quart jars? Is this correct? So, if the 16 qt. comes with the weights, and I don't need the 23 qt to double as a BWB canner, then does that make the 16 quart the obvious choice? (smaller, easier to handle and store, etc.)

Can anyone clarify this? Thanks!

This will be my first foray out of the world of BWB canning and into pressure canning, so if anyone has other suggestions, I'm all ears. Thanks. (What I most want to use it for is quart jars of pumpkin.)

This post was edited by elisa_Z5 on Sun, Dec 15, 13 at 21:03

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 8:34PM
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Both the 16 qt and the 22-23qt will hold 7 quart jars, but the larger one(s) allow you to BWB quarts and to stack pints and half pints so it really depends on what size jars you most often use and how big your batches are. I wanted a canner I could BWB quarts of pickles in, but actually for the size/weight I would have been better off getting rid of my 12qt stockpot that I use as a BWB (too short for quarts) and buying a larger one plus the 16qt PC since the 16qt Presto is same diameter as larger one and the taller stockpot would fit inside (though taller) for storage. Because of the handles, my 12qt stockpot won't fit down inside the 23qt Presto so both boxes are stacked on top shelf of basement "canning pantry". Also would have saved $ spent for separate weight set (though not huge difference in price between different sized pots/canners).

You do know that you have to can pumpkin in cubes, not puree, right?

As far as cases of jars at craft stores, even with a 50% off coupon, aren't they terribly expensive? There was a recent thread on that...

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:41AM
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ajsmama -- thank you for that clear description.

The one time I canned pumpkin with a friend, we steamed it and scooped it and stuffed it in the jars to can. It worked really well -- we didn't puree it first, but it was mush when we put it in the jars. I did the puree-ing after, when I opened the jars. Is that still a good method? Does the puree not work because there is too much chance of air pockets?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 8:56AM
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Puree does not work due the density of the pumpkin. I have done both, and the puree looked fine, but didn't last as long. After awhile I seen mold and threw them away.

If the puree is pourable thin, then it would be safer, just not worth the chance for me. I'd rather just freeze it.

Why take the chance with people's lives?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 9:39AM
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I think you were taking a risk making it soft enough to scoop, mushy. NCHFP instructions are to boil the cubes for only 2 minutes, though I haven't canned pumpkin myself (I don't grow it). You did PC it, didn't you?

It seems counterintuitive, but the mush/puree actually doesn't heat as evenly as the hard 1" cubes floating in water. I'm a bit of a nervous Nellie anyway, but I just took the FDA's Better Process Control School last week and they pounded into us all the safety requirements and recordkeeping and liability - even though I just took the 2-day Acidified Foods course and not the extra 2 days of Low Acid foods (though it was mixed in a little in the chapters we covered).

When pumpkin puree is commercially canned, it's done in a pressure canner (retort) that is continuously rotated (with speed determined by viscosity of the product and the required processing time). Even intermittent agitation (used for other products like corn) isn't sufficient.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to can pumpkin or winter squash

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Yes, we PC'd it.
Geez -- now I'm finding out that the one thing I wanted to pressure can isn't safe for canning??? I just can't imagine peeling and chopping into cubes -- I'd rather just skip the convenience of being able to make pumpkin soup at the beach (iow, take the pumpkin traveling with me.)

I wonder if I could steam it just long enough that it can be scooped out of the skins in one inch chunks. Then it could be steamed again for 2 minutes, and canned the way they say to do when you chop it raw. I just find it really difficult to peel.

What do you think?

Good thing all the cans I did with my friend are gone, or I'd be scared to serve them!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 11:06AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

First if pumpkin is the only thing you are interested in pressure canning then the cost of the PC isn't justified. Just freeze your pumpkin.

Second, if you wish to pressure can it then it sounds like you need to change your methods of prepping it as cutting it into cubes is really quite easy to do and it doesn't have to be peeled first to do it. Just as with any other melons all you do is cut the pumpkin into wedges, slice the pumpkin into cubes against the skin and then slice the cubes off the skin - one slice is all it takes.

I wonder if I could steam it just long enough that it can be scooped out of the skins in one inch chunks. Then it could be steamed again for 2 minutes, and canned the way they say to do when you chop it raw.

It wouldn't meet the guidelines as the density would be changed. You can, of course choose to ignore the safety guidelines - some do - but that is your choice.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:32PM
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You can go ahead and cook the pumpkin to get it out of the shell, but instead of scooping it out, cut in the cubes and load the jars. Don't smash them down, but add water. You could go ahead and add some of your spices at the same (just don't add as much as you would normally, some spices add flavor while canned).

I agree if pumpkin is the only thing you want to can, the PC isn't worth the cost. But if you like green beans and other vegetables, you can can most of them.

I realize that you are doing the research before buying and that is a good thing.

Go thru your pantry and see what you normally buy, then see if those items should be canned by PC or BWB, or not at all (such as cole crops).

This is the perfect time to figure out what you MIGHT want to can, either BWB or PC. Winter time used to be the time that all gardeners would sit around the table and figure out what seeds they needed for the summer/spring garden. Usually after Christmas was over, and cabin fever was starting to set in.

Myself, I'll checking out recipes for this next canning season.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 1:13PM
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Great suggestions -- thanks.
I lost so much frozen pumpkin when the 3 feet of wet snow from hurricane Sandy knocked out the electric for 2 weeks, that's why I decided this year to learn to pressure can.

Also, when we travel to the beach, curried pumpkin soup is a staple dinner item. (we go off season, so it's chilly.) If I don't have garden food I refuse to cook at all, so the canned pumpkin can travel well and stave off starvation.

I thought I could do tomatoes with it, without having to add the citric acid or vinegar (like I've been doing w/ the BWB canner.) and green beans, and maybe chicken stock.

Thanks for all the great advice, folks. I didn't mean to hijack this thread, but I did NOT know about the dangers of canning mashed pumpkin, so I surely appreciate the heads up! Garden web: 2 points. Botulism: 0. (my canning book is old, so it gives directions for canning mashed pumpkin!)


This post was edited by elisa_Z5 on Mon, Dec 16, 13 at 18:26

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 6:14PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I thought I could do tomatoes with it, without having to add the citric acid or vinegar

Still have to add the citric acid or lemon juice to the tomatoes even if pressure canned.

If you want to learn all about the current guidelines then NCHFP is the place to start. It is THE recognized authority.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 6:59PM
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Thanks Dave!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 9:42PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Elisa, time to retire the vintage canning book ;). Some of them are interesting reading, but otherwise useless...

The site Dave linked is always current. If you want page in hand for quick reference, pick up the latest edition of the Ball Blue Book, less than $10 and available at most places that sell canning supplies.

And if you buy that canner and start pressure canning, come back and ask lots of questions. And please, ask before canning if anything is unclear to you, much more helpful than after ;)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 11:07PM
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Yes, I was thinking that I need to abandon the old book (it belonged to my mother, though she never canned anything.)

The Ball Blue Book sounds good -- I would like to have a hard copy.

I do have some trepidation about starting to PC -- so thank you for the invitation to ask lots of potentially dumb questions! The whole blowing up the kitchen thought looms vividly. But I will follow directions impeccably!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 12:28PM
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I understand your fear, my mother had a canner blow up on her and it frightened me for years.

Just make sure that you take each step as it comes and don't get distracted. After the holidays, sign up to take the online course, even those of us that have canned for years can refresh ourselves every so often. It is a simple, well informed course.

Plus you have this entire forum for re-assurance and questions.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 3:08PM
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And wear a helmet, right?
Just kidding.

Thanks for the tip on the course!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 6:26PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The whole blowing up the kitchen thought looms vividly.

Don't let it please. First because while the stories of someone who heard about someone who knew someone else etc. are common, the documented cases are few and far between and happened long before the implementation of the safety devices now found on pressure canners.

Second, the documented cases all reflect poor maintenance and/or improper use. Many of us who have pressure canned for decades and decades can attest to the safety of pressure canning.

But I ditto morz comments that it is past time to put the old book aside. There have been many changes made over the past 20-30 years as research progresses. So many changes that we generally recommend using books no more than 6-8 years old and never use the pressure canner manuals.

Ball Blue Book 2010 Ed.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 6:47PM
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We did have a canner explode lately, but it was MY mistake. The vent tube had plugged up. NOW I check it each and every time I used it, even between batches.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:17PM
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I actually prefer pressure canning since you don't have to watch the water level over the tops of the jars, especially for quarts. my BWB pot is just barely tall enough to cover quarts and have enough room to have water over them. Nice to sort of set it and forget it. Though I don't go away, I don't have to fidget with it much once it gets going.

Debating whether to go look at an AA someone has on Craig's List for $185. Mine is a Presto from 1998/99 time frame.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Unless you need another canner, I'd stay with the Presto, nothing wrong with the time frame. It's newer than all of mine except newest. I have many because I will be training my kids and grandkids with their own canner.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 6:37PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)


Given time, every kind of food (no matter how thick or solid) can be pressure cooked AND canned. It will just take more time. The 50/50 solid/liquid ratio is just an easy way out.

Temperature differential is analogous to pressure that will penetrate and become stabilized. In deeper solids with less heat conductivity it will take longer. Besides, there isn't much density difference between cubed and pureed pumpkin. Essentially they are made of the same material. AND big percentage of them is H2O> water. All you have to do is to adjust the time few minute upward.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 11:26PM
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Seysonn, you are probably right, but the problem I see is that you can't know the temperature INSIDE of the jar while you are canning.

Without knowing what temp every part of the jar is would be the dangerous part.

Plus there are SO MANY new/newer canned started to can, we should only advise the safest ways for them. Us older canner have a gut feeling after so many years about certain things that just can't be taught.

AGAIN, I would not take the chance, even if I have canned for about 50 years (with and without supervision).

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:49AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

seysonn - One can speculate all they want but that doesn't mean speculation, just like guessing at the processing time needed, leads to safe conclusions. So why argue for speculative and guesswork methods when tested and approved methods are available?

Sure, in theory one may pressure can anything if you don't care about the energy expended or its end quality. Just stick whatever you want in a jar and pressure can it at 15 lbs. for 90 minutes or more. Of course it may be scorched, inedible mush but who cares, right?

The goal of the guidelines is to balance safety AND quality of the end product. So can it in chunks and puree it AFTER opening the jar.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 10:56AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

That is the nature of the beast. Pressure caning (~ pressure cooking) due to higher temperature (230, 240F vs, 212F) degrades the food quality. All I am saying that IF YOU CAN PRESSURE COOK anything YOU CAN PRESSURE CAN IT.
The vessel itself is about 12- 14" in diameter. The biggest canning jar is about 4" in diameter. so the deepest pocket is just 2 inches, as the jar is in the midst of a 235F steam.

And this is not a pure guessing game. You can simply experiment it even in BWB. if it requires, say 15 minutes, it will take much shorter tim in PC. But if that safety organization does not want to be bothered with it, that is another issue.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:40AM
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seysonn, you can experiment all you want, but unless you repeat the experiment with puree of different viscosities (and have the proper instrumentation to measure the temperature vs time at various points throughout the jar, repeat for different jar sizes/shapes) it wouldn't be a valid study.

NCHFP just doesn't have the funding to run the experiments, though they do have the knowledge and the equipment. USDA has not made pumpkin puree/butter a priority to fund for home canning research.

Link below explains the results of the most recent (20 yr old) research done by U of Minnesota - not only is viscosity highly variable among home canning recipes (and individual batches!), affecting the heat penetration and the location of the cold spot (a thin puree will actually have cold spots at top and bottom center of jar, whereas a thick puree will have it in geometric center), but the pH can vary wildly as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pumpkin butter research

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:17AM
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Sorry, Minnesota did research in the 70's, the research in the 90's was done at U of Missouri.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:21AM
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I think I've found the actual research article that the recommendation change was based on--the one linked below was done by the same authors and published around the same time as the one cited above, and it seems to be the research that their recommendations article was based on.

I wonder how much research has been done on the "cube" method, or if it has just been assumed that the cubes will result in more even heating?

The abstract, and the article is linked below (I hope)

Possible processing errors in home canning are considered in two categories. Variation that occurs during the development of the recommended processing times for home canning are caused primarily by incorrect measurements and faulty assumptions. Specific sources of variation considered in this category include temperature measurement error, faulty location of thermocouples, inadequate venting, errors in the D and z value, variability in the z value over the temperature range of interest and within-product variation, Errors that occur in the home may be attributed to mistakes or equipment variation. Inaccurate pressure control and timing of the canning process are the major sources of equipment variation. Each source of error is analyzed in terms of the increased risk of food poisoning or spoilage because of insufficient processing or the additional loss of thiamine, chlorophyll and overall quality due to over processing. The most significant sources of variation (within-product, pressure regulation, and timing accuracy in the home) are combined to form a standard deviation which can be utilized to recommend processing times for canning selected products at 68 or 103 kPa (10 or 15 psi).

Who did the research in the 90"s?

Here is a link that might be useful: research -- Zotolla et. al

This post was edited by elisa_Z5 on Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 14:46

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 1:41PM
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