Everyone enjoys fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden or the farmers market. What if you could have fresh produce all year long? It is possible when you can your produce. A pressure canner is a great way to preserve the fresh produce so that you can enjoy it throughout the year. Using a pressure canner can not only preserve your produce, but you can also use it to preserve meats, seafood and poultry. You can use it to can low acid foods but you cannot use it to can jams, jellies, pickles, salsas and some fruits.
If you plan on preserving foods, if done improperly your food may spoil through enzymes, mold, yeast or bacteria. All four of these spoiling agents can be killed if you can your food at a temperature higher than 212 degrees Fahrenheit which is the temperature of boiling water. Bacteria however cannot be destroyed as easily. Bacteria live in low acid foods but can be destroyed at a temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a pressure canner is the only way to get the temperature high enough to destroy bacteria.
The Presto 01781 23-quart pressure cooker/ canner is the perfect tool for anyone learning how to can. Presto was founded in 1905 which was when they began selling pressure canners. In 1905 they invented and commercialized the first saucepan pressure cooker. They have created and manufactured many small household appliances and also many commercial pressure canners for more than one hundred years. Today they are still creating pressure cookers and they have perfected the product that they created one hundred years ago.
Features of the Presto Pressure Cooker
The Presto pressure cooker is made of extra strong aluminum. It is not as heavy as some pressure canners and is also safe to use on any type of cook top including a flat top range. It has a pressure dial gauge that registers a range of pressures in psi. There is a pop up pressure indicator and a steam release mechanism that helps to depressurize the pot when cooking is complete. The unit has a twelve year warranty.
The Presto pressure cooker also includes a canning rack and an instruction and recipe book. The recipe book lists several different items, explains how to process them and for how long to keep them in the pressure canner. It is recommended that you read the manual thoroughly before using your pressure cooker. There are many things that can go wrong when using a pressure canner and by following the instructions exactly you can avoid any problems.
Not only is this a pressure canner but it can also be used as a hot water bath canner if you remove the pressure gauge. It is 23 quarts and can fit twenty-four half pints and twenty pints and seven quarts. You would stack the half pints and pints in order to fit so many cans at once.
Maintaining Your Pressure Canner
Most pressure cookers come with a sealing ring around the inside of the lid. This sealing ring is also known as the gasket. It is important to clean the gasket occasionally in order for it to work properly. To clean the gasket, remove it from the lid and wash it in soapy water. When it is dry rub it with vegetable oil. Clean the crevice in the lid where it sits and then replace the clean gasket. Over time this gasket gets worn down and occasionally needs to be replaced. It is easy to find replacements online for less then $10 but it may be an inconvenience if you go to use your pressure cooker and find a gasket that has been worn down.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this pot is not dishwasher safe. To clean it use a non-abrasive cleaner and rinse it out without immersing it in water. Make sure that when you clean the pot you also clean the vent pipe which can easily be cleaned out with a pipe cleaner.
How to Use this Canner
Place three quarts of water in the canner along with your canning jars. Place the lid on the pot and turn it to lock it. Position your canner on the burner and heat it until a steady flow of steam can be seen and heard coming from the vent pipe. Let the steam escape from the vent pipe for ten minutes and then reduce the heat. Place the pressure regulator on the vent pipe and wait for the pressure gauge to register at the correct pressure. Process the cans for the specified time and then turn the burner off. Let the pressure drop and let the canner cool then remove the pressure regulator when the canner is completely cooled.
Things to Keep in Mind
Before using this pressure canner for the first time there are several things that you have to do to make sure your unit is ready to use. First is to remove the gasket or sealing ring that is in the lid, and wash it with hot, sudsy water. Also wash the lid and the pot before first use. Rub a small amount of vegetable oil on the sealing ring before replacing it back on the lid.
Also before using your pressure canner for the first time you have to check the pressure gauge. You can do this by taking it to the county extension office and they can check it for you. Also, you can check it yourself by putting one quart of water in the canner. Get the pressure going in your pot and when the rocker rattles check to make sure it is at 15 psi.
This is a durable unit and was highly rated on amazon.com. Customers that reviewed this unit on line gave it an average of 4.7 stars out of 5. Many people mentioned that although they have never canned before, it was easy to use. Not only is it a popular unit but it is also very affordable at $79. If you are looking for a reliable pressure cooker but not looking to spend a lot of money, the Presto pressure cooker is a great option!