The growing season was a success. Your garden is brimming with fresh zucchini, lettuce, and root veggies ready for harvest. The only issue is that there’s no way you can eat everything before it starts to rot.
Sure, you could give away some of your harvests to your neighbors and residents on your bock, but you’ll still have plenty of leftovers. The question remains, what to do with all the extra fruit and veggies?
The chances are you remember your grannie’s pantry stocked with dozens of mason jars containing preserved veggies fresh from the garden. You can take this tip and can your leftover produce as well.
When it comes to canning your veggies, you’ll need a pressure canner for the best results. However, where do you find one of these machines, and which brand offers you the best canner? In this review, we’ll look at the top canner available to help your preserve the fruits and vegetables of your efforts.
Top 3 Picks
- 1 Top 3 Picks
- 2 The Best Pressure Canners Reviews
- 3 The All American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Canner
- 4 Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
- 5 Granite Ware Pressure Canner – 20quart
- 6 Mirro Polished Aluminum Pressure Canner – 22 Quart
- 7 Zavor DUO 10 Quart Multi-Setting Pressure Cooker and Canner
- 8 How Pressure Canning Works
- 9 The Risk of Canning – Clostridium botulinum
- 10 Pressure Cooker Vs. Pressure Canner – Is there a Difference?
- 11 Pressure Cooker Vs. Pressure Canner
- 12 What You Need to Look for When Purchasing Your Pressure Canner
- 13 Tips for Using a Pressure Canner
- 13.1 Preheat the Jars
- 13.2 Prepare the Pressure Canner
- 13.3 Prepare the Food
- 13.4 Remove the Jars One at a Time
- 13.5 Fill Your Jar
- 13.6 Seal the Jar
- 13.7 Place the Jar in Your Pressure Canner
- 13.8 Check the Water Level and Seal the Pressure Canner
- 13.9 Release the Steam
- 13.10 Let the Canner Rest
- 13.11 Remove the Jars
- 14 The Best Pressure Canner Brands
- 15 Wrapping Up – The Verdict
If you don’t have the time to read through this entire review, then we decided to give you everything you need to know upfront. Here are the top three pressure canners we selected as the best of the bunch.
The Best Overall Pressure Canner – The All American 21-1/2-quart Pressure Canner
- This bundle includes (1) All American 21.5 QT pressure cooker, (2) racks, (1) long tongs, (1) vinyl coated jar lifter, (1) magnetic lid lifter, (1) extra wide mouth funnel, (1) vinyl coated jar wrench, and (1) bubble popper/measurer
- Country of Origin: All American Pressure Cooker - USA, Norpro Canning Accessories - Taiwan
- Sturdy Phenolic top handle with easy on–off cover
- Exclusive metal–to–metal seal – no gaskets to crack, burn, replace or clean
- Capture summer fruit and vegetables at their prime for enjoyment throughout the year by canning at home
This canner wins the top award in our review. The appliance has everything you need to can your surplus veggies and fruits, and its suitable for canning meat as well. The durable construction of the aluminum frame means it will last for generations.
The Runner Up – Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner
- The only method recommended safe by the US Department of Agriculture for canning vegetables, meats, poultry, and seafood
- Doubles as a boiling-water canner for preserving fruits, jams, jellies, pickles, and salsa; Handy as a large capacity pressure cooker
- Constructed of warp-resistant heavy-gauge aluminum for fast, even heating; Works on regular and smooth-top ranges; Extended 12-year limited warranty
- Deluxe pressure dial gauge registers the complete range of processing pressures; This precise measurement is especially important at higher altitudes
- Extra-large size is great for big canning jobs; Includes canning/cooking rack and complete 76-page instruction and recipe book
The Presto is the best value option in this review. You get a canner that’s lightweight and suitable for use on glass ranges. While it lacks some features, it’s a reliable appliance that will last.
The Best Value Pressure Canner – Mirro 22-Quart Polished Aluminum Pressure Canner
- The pressure canner is constructed from rustproof heavy gauge aluminum; 16 pint size jars or 26 half pint size jars when double stacked or 7 quart size jars
- Maintains steady pressure with 3 cooking pressure options 5, 10, and 15 PSI
- Reusable overpressure plug, sure locking lid system, and side gasket pressure release
- Cooking rack and user guide with recipes included
- Limited 10 years warranty for the pressure canners and limited 1 year warranty for the replacement parts
The most affordable pressure canner in this review. This unit has all of the features you would expect in a pressure canner at a great price point.
The Best Pressure Canners Reviews
Let’s take a look at the best pressure canners available. This review unpacks everything you need to know about the top products in this category. If you struggle with settling on the right canner for you, then follow our recommendations for the best canner to suit your needs.
The All American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Canner
The All American 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker Canner is a simplistic design that’s reliable and functional. The canner features design and construction with hand-cast aluminum that sports a satin finish.
The All American pressure canner also features a gasket-free lid, meaning that you don’t have to worry about sourcing replacement gaskets. The pressure gauge is easy to read and displays the pressure reading in PSI. You also get a weight pressure regulator with settings for 5, 10, or 15-PSI.
The canner also has a pressure release valve for emergencies where the canner experiences over-pressurized conditions. You can expect a long service life from this heavy-duty canner, and you’ll probably end up handing it down to future generations.
Considering it features cast-aluminum construction, this is a heavy unit, weighing 20-lbs. Therefore, you might want to position it on the stove before adding your water and jars. This canner is one of the more expensive options in this review, but the superior quality of the canner makes it a worthwhile purchase that gives you decades of use.
- Pressure gauge dial
- Turn-and-seal gasket lid
- Suitable for use on glass top ranges
- Includes a jar rack, manual and recipe guide, as well as a limited warranty
Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
If your kitchen has a glass-top range, then this is the ideal pressure canner for you. The Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner features a flat lid compared to the domed appearance of the lid on the All American.
It also weighs 12-lbs, which is 8-lbs lighter than the All American, making it suitable for use on glass ranges. However, it doesn’t have all of the same features, but it remains functional and useful as a canner or pressure cooker.
The unit features a pressure dial gauge, and the model also includes a 15-PSI weight with the appliance. You have the option of purchasing a 5, 10, 15-lb weight separately as well. You’ll also need to take the pressure canner into an appliance store to have them test and service it every year.
The price of this canner and cooker is remarkably affordable, earning it the best value choice in this review.
- Pressure gauge dial
- Turn-and-seal gasket lid
- Suitable for use on glass top ranges
- Includes a jar rack, manual and recipe guide, as well as a limited warranty
Granite Ware Pressure Canner – 20quart
This multi-purpose pressure canner also works well as a pressure cooker and canner as well. The Granite Ware 0730-2 pressure canner, cooker, and steamer also suit use as a steamer and a water-bath canner as well.
We like the anodized aluminum body that’s stain-resistant, which is something of a problem for other aluminum units. The Granite Ware pressure canner has a short and stocky profile compared to the All American and the Presto, and you won’t get the same jar capacity out of this pressure canner.
However, it’s a functional unit that still offers plenty of utility for home use. We also like that the company didn’t include a pressure dial with this unit, meaning that there’s no need to send it in for safety checks or servicing.
- Stain-resistant anodized aluminum body and lid
- Weighted pressure gauge
- Turn-and-seal lid with gasket
- Jar rack included
- Steamer insert and trivet
- Owner’s manual
- Limited lifetime warranty
Mirro Polished Aluminum Pressure Canner – 22 Quart
It surprises us that the Mirro is the most affordable pressure canner in this review. The canner features excellent design and functionality for its price point. The polished aluminum body is somewhat stain resistant, and you can expect a long service life from this appliance.
The canner comes with a weighted pressure gauge, as well as a turn and seal gasket-free lid. The aluminum body has large handles for easy movement around the kitchen, and you get a recipe guide included in the box.
If you’re looking for a basic, no-frills pressure canner, then this model is your best option, and you can’t beat the price.
- Weighted pressure gauge
- Turn-and-seal lid with gasket
- Includes bottom jar rack
- Limited warranty
Zavor DUO 10 Quart Multi-Setting Pressure Cooker and Canner
As the final pressure canner in this review, the Zavor Duo Stainless Steel Pressure Canning Set is ideal for chefs that want a starter set. This unit doesn’t have the capacity of other canners in this review, but it’s perfect for smaller canning jobs.
The 10-quart capacity is somewhat underwhelming, but if you don’t have much to can, or you don’t use a pressure canner regularly, then this unit is your ideal choice. The canner comes with large ergonomic handles for smooth movement around the kitchen.
However, you get everything you need from a pressure canner in this starter kit, including all of the accessories. For those chefs that have a smaller kitchen, the Zavor is the best product in this review. The canner still has a decent amount of weight to it, but it’s suitable for use on glass ranges.
- Turn and seal lid with gasket
- Large ergonomic handles
- Pressure gauge with eight or 15-PSI settings
- Home canning recipe guide
- Jar rack, lifter, and funnel included
- Jar wrench and bubble remover included
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Instructional DVD and user manual
How Pressure Canning Works
Canning describes the process of using jars to seal your fruits and vegetables under high temperatures to keep it fresh. You can use a canning system to store just about any fruit and vegetable you want.
When it comes to canning, you get two methods, water bath canning and pressure canning. So, which method offers you the best results? Let’s unpack the difference between the two, so you have a clear understanding of the process.
Water bath canning is the traditional method for preserving jellies, jams, and pickles. This method suits highly acidic foods that also feature preservation with items like vinegar and citric acids. However, using this method to preserve foods with a low acidity place places you at risk of contamination.
The Risk of Canning – Clostridium botulinum
Clostridium botulinum is the most dangerous bacteria involved with the canning process. Contracting this bacterium results in the onset of “botulism,” a disease that can become life-threatening if you don’t receive immediate treatment.
Foods with an acidic profile have a natural resistance to this bacteria, but foods lower higher on the alkaline side provide the ideal breeding ground for Clostridium botulinum. Unfortunately, water bath canning machines don’t heat the contents of the can or jar to a high enough temperature to kill this bacterium.
A pressure canner operates at far higher temperatures than a traditional water bath canner. As a result, it kills off any invasive bacteria lurking in the food that could result in contamination. This canner heats the contents to a minimum of 240F, killing off any traces of bacteria. The machine also sucks the air out of the container, resulting in an airtight seal that makes your preserves last longer on the shelf.
Canning meat products have the highest risk of contamination by Clostridium botulinum. Therefore, if you want to can that batch of chili you finished making, you’ll need a pressure canner to avoid contamination of the meal.
Pressure Cooker Vs. Pressure Canner – Is there a Difference?
While they both have the word “pressure” in the title, these two machines have entirely different operating principles and outcomes. The pressure cooker lying in your kitchen cupboard isn’t suitable for canning your food, and here’s why.
Pressure Cooker Vs. Pressure Canner
Pressure cookers come in a variety of sizes, with the InstantPot being one of the most popular versions of this appliance. While a pressure cooker heats your food quickly, it doesn’t offer adequate pressure levels for safe canning of your food.
These appliances also lose heat too fast, resulting in the potential for contamination of your food with the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. A pressure canner solves these issues, and it’s a vital appliance for any home gardener that wants to store their seasonal crop.
Pressure canners also come in a variety of sizes ranging from small home machines to large appliances that can handle up to 22-quarts at a time. When the water in the canner reaches boiling point, it has nowhere to go. Therefore, the steam remains confined to the airtight appliance.
15-pounds of pressure inside the canner results in a canning temperature of around 250F, which is more than adequate for sealing and preserving all types of food.
While no pressure cooker is a suitable replacement for a pressure canner, it’s possible to use your pressure canner as a pressure cooker, with excellent results.
What You Need to Look for When Purchasing Your Pressure Canner
There are numerous features that you need to consider when selecting your ideal pressure canner. Let’s take a walk through everything you need to know about this appliance.
Pressure Canner Construction
The majority of pressure canners feature design and construction with either aluminum or stainless steel. Both material options are suitable for pressure canning with aluminum being the affordable choice. Stainless steel canners look better aesthetically, but they are somewhat pricy when compared to aluminum models.
In terms of performance, both types will do the job, and we doubt there’s any difference. However, stainless steel units are the superior choice for a robust appliance that can handle a drop with minimal damage to the exterior. You also might experience some pitting in aluminum pressure cookers after the first use.
Some aluminum pressure cookers might also experience discoloration after use. However, you can restore them to its original finish by adding a few tablespoons of white spirit vinegar to the pot and boiling it to temperature. The vinegar gets rid of the discoloration.
Stainless steel doesn’t feature the same issues mentioned in aluminum cookers. However, they do tend to distribute heat less evenly than an aluminum version, and they take longer to heat up as well.
How Much Can a Pressure Cooker Hold?
Most pressure canners feature capacities listed in quarts. Some units might also display measurement in the number of jars it can hold. There will always be less jar space than the quart measurement because there’s going to be some space in-between the jars for airflow and to help build pressure in the vessel.
If you’re struggling to decide on a pressure cooker by capacity, then we recommend that you always go with the larger model. Check your prospective appliance for racks included in the package, as well. Racks let you stack jars on each other, and not all pressure canners have this option.
How Heavy is a Pressure Canner?
The weight of your pressure canner is important, especially if you’re cooking on a glass stovetop. Back in the day, pressure canners were large and heavy, as cooking over a fire stove was common practice. However, today, many people cook on glass tops, and a heavy canner could end up cracking the surface.
If your pressure canner surface area is too large for your burner, it might also result in the stoves built-in heat sensors turning off the burner automatically before it reaches the right temperature. This occurrence is detrimental for stainless steel appliances that spread heat through the base slowly, resulting in lower cooking temperatures than you expect.
Most pressure canners are suitable for any gas or electric burner. However, if you have an induction range or glass top, then its best to make sure that your canner works with the range before you make your purchase.
Canning Pressure Gauges
All pressure canners feature a pressure gauge to give you a reading of the pressure inside the appliance during operation. However, the efficacy of the gauge is not always accurate. There are two variations of pressure gauges used in pressure canners.
The safest and most user-friendly gauge is the “weighted gauge,” otherwise known as the “deadweight gauge.” With this system, you set the weight at the same pressure you want your canner to operate. You then place the weight on top of the vent on the lid of the canner.
When the appliance reaches the desired pressure, the deadweight rocks back and forth, allowing the pressure to escape the vessel.
The other option is the use of a dial gauge. With this system, you need to keep an eye on the pressure canners readout, adjusting the heat to suit the canner’s operation. Some older models of pressure canners might have the potential to be dangerous if they don’t feature a release valve for use when the dial reaches its top end.
If you do select or find a pressure canner that utilizes a dial-gauge, then we recommend that you test it every other month to ensure the release valve works adequately. An appliance specialist repair shop can check your dial-gauge to ensure its working correctly.
Pressure Canner Lids
With modern pressure canners, you get a lid with a twist-locking mechanism included for optimal sealing of the base and lid. Most canner lids also feature a rubber gasket ring to avoid steam escaping from the vessel during operation, sealing the steam inside the pressure canner.
When purchasing your canner, it’s important to check that the manufacturer offers replacement gaskets. The rubber in the gasket will perish over the years, and you’ll need to replace it after extensive use. If the manufacturer doesn’t offer replacement parts, you’ll have to buy a new canner.
If you find an old pressure canner, you’ll see that the lid only uses clamps to secure the lid to the body of the canner. While you don’t have to worry about sourcing replacement gaskets with this version, it doesn’t have the same sealing effect as a rubber gasket, and some steam might escape at high temperatures.
Handles and Grips on Pressure Canners
Your pressure canner can be heavy when fully loaded with jars. Therefore, you need to ensure that your canner comes with handles on both sides of the appliance. Tried to pick up a hot and heavy canner is an accident waiting to happen if you skip out on this requirement.
Check that your canner has heat-resistant handles to avoid burning yourself when removing it from the stove.
Pressure Canner Accessories
Now that you have an understanding of the features of a pressure canner let’s take a deep dive into the accessories you’ll need for the appliance.
When operating your canner, you’ll need canning jars designed for the specific purpose of use in a pressure canner. The standard jars you get with your jams and preserves won’t stand up to the high pressure when using your canner.
Proper canning jars feature metal rings with flat lids that have a rubber seal at the base. You can wash and reuse these jars for any food you want. However, you’ll need to replace the lid after each use, as the jar will never seal appropriately after its use. We like using ball wide-mouth jars in a quart size for our pressure canner.
Tips for Using a Pressure Canner
The process of using a pressure canner can be somewhat complicated. In this section, we give you a step-by-step guide to using your pressure canner for the best results. Always ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines if you find any difference in this method to what they describe on the appliance instructions.
Preheat the Jars
Start your preparation process by placing a large pot of water on the stove. Bring it to boil, and then back of the heat to let the water simmer. Place your jars in the pot after checking them for scratches and chips that could reduce the structural integrity of the jar and cause it to crack under pressure.
While you’re letting the jars simmer, clean the lids with light soapy water and then rinse them clean to remove all the cleaning agents.
Prepare the Pressure Canner
While the jars are heating, place a layer of water at the bottom of the canner in-line with the manufacturer recommendations. Most canners require between 2 to 3-inches of water for operation.
Place it on the burner, and bring it to simmer while your jars heat.
Prepare the Food
Make sure that you’re following a recipe specifically for canning. Most canning recipes feature natural preservatives that extend the shelf life of your canned foods. Some foods aren’t suitable for canning, so make sure that you’re following the recipe correctly.
Remove the Jars One at a Time
Use your jar lifter to remove the jars from the simmering water one at a time. Wipe them down with a towel until they’re dry. Place the funnel in the mouth of the jar, and fill it with your recipe.
Fill Your Jar
Fill the jar and make sure you leave a space for the expansion of the food under heat. Overfilling the jar results in it cracking in the pressure cooker when it reaches peak pressure.
Seal the Jar
Remove the funnel after filling and use your canning lid lifter to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the jar to remove any residue, paying particular attention to the threads. Make sure that the sealing lid makes contact with the rim, and then tighten the jar to finger-tight. Over tightening the jar will make it challenging to open after it cools.
Place the Jar in Your Pressure Canner
Add the jar to the canner on the stove and then repeat the process for the rest of the jars.
Check the Water Level and Seal the Pressure Canner
The water level will reduce while you leave the canner to simmer and prepare your food. Therefore, you might need to top it up using water from the kettle before sealing the canner shut. Make sure that no obstructions are blocking the pressure valve.
Release the Steam
Turn up the heat to medium-high, and allow for the steam to vent through the release valve. After you start to see a steady stream of steam coming from the vent, set a timer for ten minutes. Let the steam vent for the entire 10-minute period.
Let the Canner Rest
After the cooking process, remove the pressure canner from the heat and let it cool naturally on a stable, heat-resistant surface, like a granite countertop. Don’t touch the pressure canner until the pressure reading on the gauge reaches zero.
Remove the Jars
After the pressure canner cools, open the canner carefully. Remove the jars using your jar lifter and place them on a towel. The towel prevents the jars from breaking when they make contact with a colder surface.
Check the integrity of the jars after they cool. Lift them by the lid, and you should notice that the jar still maintains a tight seal. Discard the contents of any jars that open during the canning process. Leave the jars to rest for 12 to 24-hours before placing them in storage.
The Best Pressure Canner Brands
There’s plenty of brands offering pressure canners. Here are some of the most popular brands available.
This company has over 100-years of designing and building pressure canners. The company started as a producer of commercial canning equipment, but since migrated to include home canning systems as well. The brand also offers you a choice of aluminum or stainless steel canners.
These canners come from the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, which has 80-years of experience in designing and manufacturing pressure canners for home use. This company relies on a steel-to-steel sealing system, whereas most others require the use of a rubber gasket for sealing. The canner also features a geared pressure readout, as well as a weighted venting system.
This Manitowoc, Wisconsin company has over 100-years in producing some of the best aluminum cookware in the country. Mirro is now a subsidiary brand of Groupe SEB, the company that owns the T-Fal and WearEver brands, along with plenty of other household cookware brands.
With a legacy that extends back to 1871, Granite Wear is a division of Columbian Home Products. This company is a household name for its speckled enamelware, and they also offer an impressive range of pressure canners and cookers as well.
This European brand has a 50-year legacy, and they produce some of the most popular and affordable household and kitchen cookware. While this brand sells its products all over the world, its manufacturing plant is in China.
Wrapping Up – The Verdict
All of the pressure canners in this review are top choices. Pick any of them, and you’ll have a top-quality product you can use for years.
However, if you’re still battling with your decision on selecting the ideal pressure canner for your kitchen, then you can always rely on our top choices. We recommend the All American as the best pressure canner in this review. The design and build-quality of this canner are excellent. However, it might be too heavy for your glass range.
Therefore, if you need a lighter canner with a high capacity, we recommend you look into purchasing the Presto instead. For those chefs that have a small kitchen or don’t require the large size of the others in this review, you can’t beat the versatility of the Fagor duo, with all the accessories you need to operate your canner under any conditions.