Friday, January 7, 2011

Why? Because Now I Can Can!

There is a lot of excitement buzzing at our household right now in great anticipation of the arrival of our new bundle of joy. No, sorry mom, it's not the little pudgy pink or blue-capped kind (yet), but the next best thing not a puppy either.

It's a brand new shiny All-American Pressure Canner! It took a lot of research and thought but we finally narrowed it down to three sizes: the most popular 21.5 Qt, the 30 Qt, or the "Big Bertha" 41.5 Qt.
Clockwise from bottom right: 10.5 QT, 15.5 QT, 21.5 QT, 25 QT, 30 Qt, and Big Berth 41.5 QT
My habits tend to gravitate me towards the biggest and best: I hate buying something, failing to assess my true needs, going cheap, outgrowing it in a year or two, and therefore ending up having to buy two of something instead. To me, that's a waste of time and more importantly a waste of money (something I don't have a lot "extra" of). I have no problem spending more for quality and doing it right the first time.

I was really really tempted to "go big" and pounce on the Big Bertha but the more I analyzed it I felt, for once, it might actually be a bit overkill. Gasp! Did I just say that?! At least for the time being:) Ok, that's more like it.

The reviewers on the 41.5 Qt commented that it took over an hour just to load and then several hours at pressure, and then about an hour to bring it down off pressure. That was a LOT of time and many of the reviewers tended to wait to use the cooker when they had assistance to load it. Not to mention, most likely I would have to be forced to use our Bayou outdoor burner instead of the stove top. I usually use the burner for my water bath canning but I would like to have the option of using the stove top and not rely on extra hands for loading.Plus, it was $100 dollars more...

The 21.5 Qt popularity peaked my interest as an all around multi-use pot. As Cowboy can confirm, I am all about having items in my house that are multi-use products. I hate hate hate having many individual items that clutter up space when I could have one or two products that do them all. Many reviewers not only canned in it, but also cooked in it. However, I was a little apprehensive about only being able to can 7 Qts at a time (with the added consideration of little mouths to feed in the future), and therefore looked on to the 30 Qt.

Product Features
  • 30-quart pressure cooker/canner holds 19 pint jars or 14 quart jars (only 5 qt jars less than the 41.5 Qt)
  • Made of durable, hand-cast aluminum with attractive satin finish
  • Exclusive "metal-to-metal" sealing system for a steam-tight seal; no gaskets
  • Geared steam gauge, automatic overpressure release; settings of 5 psi, 10 psi, and 15 psi
  • 19 inches high with 12-1/4-inch inside diameter; made in USA

Isn't she a beut!

I measured my stove top space to make sure that the 30 Qt would indeed fit. I deduced I would most likely need a step stool to load the beast, but that was not a big deal for me. Weighing in at 30lbs empty, I knew there would be no moving this heavy-weight once it was filled, but I really didn't see a reason to have to move it. Anyways, that's why I have a husband, right? flashing a grin to Cowboy. All bases covered, I compared prices and finally, with much satisfaction (and Cowboy's nod of approval), clicked to buy at The Canning Pantry.

Now I am sitting here, filled with anticipation and searching with great zest recipes to make and can! I already have potato soup (via Cowboy's insistence), BBQ beans from here, ground beef/chunked chicken, and a few others in the queue. I am a little sad that unless I get a heads up notice that the University's football team is coming over for dinner, I most likely will not be able to use this as a pressure cooker. Bulk batches of yummy broth, maybe...dinner, probably not. So we shall see how user friendly it is and maybe consider a smaller 15.5 Qt one in the future for dinners (ok twist my arm, maybe the 21.5 Qt in case we have company).

Soon to come: play by play posts of my pressure canning experience!


  1. Neat stuff. I'm looking forward to reading about your adventures in canning. It's an art I never learned.

  2. Yumm nothing better than homemade soup. What memories of canning stuff from our garden in Eden.

  3. I'm assuming that you and Cowboy are planting a garden this year? It's amazing how much food you can grow in a fairly small space. Why not make your football team's dinner and then can what you and Cowboy don't eat? That would do double duty. Do you have a freezer?

  4. Yes to the garden and yes to the freezer- we have a full sized freezer in the garage that's been crying for some elk!