Summer months used to be filled with picking, stringing, and snapping green beans during the day and canning them later that night. Throughout the night, the infamous pop of the Mason jars would loudly sound as the contents of the can would become pressurized. As time has evolved, so has the method of canning meats and vegetables.
What used to be considered safe has now been determined to have dangerous risks involved. Without reaching a proper temperature, dangerous bacteria can live within the contents of the vegetables or meats inside the jars. Even after hours of boiling, the dangerous Clostridium Botulinum bacteria spores can remain alive and continue growing within the jars once they have been sealed.
Clostridium Botulinum is the toxic bacteria that causes the illness known as botulism. Clostridium Botulinum can live even after it has been boiled for hours. While boiling is typically a temperature hot enough to kill dangerous bacteria, it is not sufficient for killing Clostridium Botulinum; especially if the contents being boiled are going to be sealed in cans.
Botulism is a severe illness that can be fatal. Symptoms of botulism include muscle weakness, weakened eye movements, difficulty breathing and swallowing, double vision, dry mouth, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. If untreated, botulism can result in death if breathing has become difficult, and no attention is given.
The safest method for canning meats and vegetables is to use an electric pressure canner. An electric pressure canner will heat the contents inside to a safe temperature that will kill bacteria and keep you safe when it is time to eat the meat or vegetables that you have canned.
The bacterium Clostridium Botulinum will only die at 240°F or greater, and an electric pressure canner will achieve this temperature. This means that you can worry less about Botulism by using an electric pressure canner to can all your meats and vegetables.
We are going to list some of the most popular electric pressure canners with their respective features for you to decide which one is the best for you.
This pressure cooker and pressure canner retails around $129, but you can often find it on a special deal for about $70. What makes this pressure canner ideal is the large 22-quart storage capacity. You can fit 16 pint-size jars, 26 half-pint jars, or 7 quart-size jars. You control the PSI at 5, 10, or 15. There is an overpressure steam release that will safely release steam as it becomes pressurized. There is also a cooking rack and recipe book included with this pressure canner.
T-fal is a leading brand of cookware, which is why we have featured it first in this list of electric pressure canner reviews.
Editor’s rating is 4.3 out of 5.
Next on the list is this 23-quart pressure canner by Presto. Presto makes a variety of cookware products, so it’s no surprise that they make a quality pressure canner as well. The price point of this pressure canner comes in around $100, making it one of the pricier options.
The 23-quart capacity pressure canner holds 26 half-pint jars, 20 pint-size jars, or 7 quart-size jars. If you do not need to use it as a pressure canner, you can also use it as a water bath canner for foods that do not require high-pressure temperatures for canning, such as jellies, fruits, pickles, and salsa.
Included with the pressure canner is a cooking rack, instruction booklet, and a recipe booklet.
Editor’s rating is 4.7 out of 5 stars.
If you want to save a little money but still get a quality product, look no further than this Presto 16-quart aluminum pressure canner. We have included it on our list because it is an affordable option if you want a Presto pressure canner.
While the size is smaller than its 23-quart counterpart, it still has a large capacity to hold many jars. The pressure canner can hold 12 half-pint jars, 10 pint-size jars, or 7 quart-size jars. This may be the ideal size for you depending on how much canning you do in a season.
It is important to note that the half-pint and pint-size jars are recommended to use only during the water bath pressure process. If you need to pressure can meats or vegetables, you should only use the quart-size jars during the pressure canning method.
Otherwise, you can use the pint-size jars and half-pint jars for water bath canning only. Water bath canning includes canning jellies, fruits, jams, pickles, and salsa.
Editor’s rating is 4.6 out of 5.
This pressure canner by Granite Ware comes in a 12-quart or 20-quart option. We have included the 20-quart option here, as it is the most popular size when canning.
The pressure canner is made of aluminum, but the only difference in this pressure canner and the previous pressure canners we have reviewed is that the manufacturer does not recommend using this pressure canner on a flat/glass stovetop.
The aluminum is made of anodized aluminum to ensure the aluminum does not rust or stain. This is something to consider as aluminum is highly likely to rust after long periods of water exposure. The 20-quart capacity holds 7 quart-size jars, 8 pint-size jars, and 24 half-pint jars.
Editor’s rating is 4.2 out of 5.
If you are going to be canning any vegetables or meats, you must use a pressure canner to do so. You simply cannot “boil out” the harmful bacteria that is found in meats and vegetables as it can survive the boiling process and continue growing in the food once it has been canned.
Pressure canners may cost around $100 upfront, but the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are canning a safe product is worth it.