Under pressure

I have a confession… I’ve bought another a new gadget. It’s something that I’ve wanted for several years now, but have been unable to buy in the UK. Finally, however, thanks to the ‘global shipping programme’ available on a certain on-line auction site I was able to place an order from a seller in the US and pay all the import duty and shipping up-front for a very reasonable price.

So now (having coveted the ones belonging to several of my friends) I am the proud owner of a Presto pressure canner:

Hey Presto - a pressure canner!

Hey Presto – a pressure canner!

It was described on the Presto web site as an ‘entry level’ canner, since it only has a capacity of 16 quarts (US), but it’s certainly ample for what I need. Selecting an appropriate model took a while since I needed one that I could use on a ceramic hob. In addition, I had to read around to discover whether there was a difference between a pressure cooker (for sale in the UK) and a pressure canner (not for sale in the UK as far as I could find). It turns out that a pressure canner has a gauge so that you can maintain it at a specific pressure for a specific length of time (you can read more here).

Having a canner means that I can preserve all sorts of food in jars, not just acidic things like apples and tomatoes, without the risk of botulism. My first experiment is actually going to be with apples, because I still have lots of them to process, despite my dresser already looking like this:

It's an apple-fest!

It’s an apple-fest!

I will report back soon.


Leave a comment


  1. An area designed for confusion. Canning means putting things in Jars and bottling as well as well, “canning”. Bottling usually means putting things in jars. Now, what shall we call putting things in bottles?

  2. jackiebridgen

     /  October 6, 2014

    Oh, how I love my canner. …

  3. New toys! Can’t wait to read about what you get up to with your new toy πŸ™‚

    • I’ve ordered a recipe book too, but that hasn’t arrived yet… yes, I know I could just search the internet, but I really love browsing through a good recipe book… and it doesn’t melt if you spill hot syrup on it!

      • A recipe book is better than online gubbins that you can lose (and have to wade through to find what you are after) and there is nothing like a concrete copy for collecting years of delicious sweet and savoury stains and reminding you of the colour that you need to be achieving…sort of like a tasty paint swatch for your jams and chutneys πŸ˜‰

  4. Canner envy!

  5. So you’ve gone all techie now and joined big business. You’ll have to show us the labels you design for Snail’s Apples or whatever.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  6. Woo hoo! You’re going to have so much fun with that. I’ve just unpacked mine and found all my Ball jars, so I’ll be ready when tomato and mango season comes around again. There are some good recipe books out there, I can’t remember what mine’s called, but it’s better than the one that comes with the canner, which is a bit uninspired. When I find the box of cook books, I’ll let you know.

    • The book I’ve ordered is Ball’s Blue Book, which I read is one of the best available on the subject. Like the canner however, it had to be ordered from the US and it has not arrived yet. Still, I know what to do with the apples and those will keep me occupied for a while!

      • That is indeed one of the authoritative ones. The thing I love about pressure canning is that I can avoid vinegar, which I regard as greatly overrated as a flavour – balsamic is wonderful, but in small quantities – and neither of us likes pickles much.

        • That’s exactly how I feel about vinegar. I do like apple chutney or mango chutney once it has matured enough for the vinegar flavour to have all but disappeared. I hate pickles too, so like you say, the canner should be a great help.

  7. Hooray! Good luck with your new gadget and adventures!

  8. congrats on your new canner! I’m so surprised it was so difficult to buy one in the UK. Why is that? (I’m in the u.s.). I co-own a pressure canner with my sister and love it. I use it primarily for green beans. On a dif. note, does “ceramic hob” mean ceramic cooktop? If so, I’m so interested to know how this works for you. I too have a ceramic “hob” and have been using my pressure canner outside on a propane camp stove because supposedly the thermostat on my ceramic cooktop won’t allow the canner to get hot enough. I bet your UK stove is free of this ridiculous device designed to protect me from myself (as all American products are designed to do!). The camp stove adds a whole other layer of complication because you have to be sure the small propane can doesn’t run out in the middle of processing (as it inevitably does), causing your pressure to drop. sorry for the long comment! have fun!

    • Yes, they do seem to be the same thing. I was unsure whether it would be possible to use a pressure canner on a ceramic hob/cooktop, but the Presto web site says it is. Having said that, I haven’t actually tried yet and I do have a portable indoor gas burner available should I need it… I will remember the issue with running out of gas should it have to be brought into the equation!

  9. What fun! We love ours, though don’t use it nearly enough. Should you take up brewing ale, it makes an acceptable mash tun!

  10. I’m impressed. I only do pickling and jams…in a lobster cooker. I am tempted by the pressure canner though, because–as you said–it expands your options for putting up. Good luck and let us know what you “bottle,” “can,” or “put up.”

  11. Sharon

     /  October 7, 2014

    Congratulations on your new pressure canner, I’ve been coveting one myself. Just thought I’d let you know that WordPress seems to have its own opinions on pressure canning — when I finished reading, the first related link the blog offered was your excellent post “We’re all going to die!”

  12. I love, love LOVE my pressure cooker/canner. Mine is HUGE because it was the only one I could find, but id does the job. I hope you have as much fun with yours as I’ve had with mine. I recommend this book to you: http://www.amazon.com/Putting-Food-By-Fifth-Edition/dp/0452296226. I found the older edition in a thrift store and I love it.

    • Thank you – that looks like a great book, so I’ve ordered a copy. We don’t have a tradition of pressure canning in the UK so recommendations from friends in the US are particularly valuable πŸ™‚

  13. interesting to learn about a pressure canner. All I have been using for decades is a pressure cooker !! An indigenous brand ofcourse πŸ™‚

  14. Oh yummy! My mother used one throughout my childhood.And then had to get a new one a few years after I left home. The moral being her old one had a genuine rubber seal and needed to have Vaseline put on it to create a really good seal. When she did that with the new one and canned a batch of beans, it fused the lid to the pot and required a trip to a mechanic’s with an industrial wrench to remove it. Turns out modern ones have silicone seals and Vaseline melts them into really sticky glue. But she did turn out jars and jars of wonderful stuff for years (although I hate green beans). Have fun–they do work wonderfully.


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