Electric Pressure Canners Are Ideal for Canning Your Extra Veggies

Home canning is a great way to preserve food and have homemade canned food all year round. Whether you're in it for the jams and jellies or the soups, stews and chilis, it's hard to beat having homemade food available throughout the year. Although there are a few different ways to can food, one of the most efficient is using an electric pressure canner.

What Is an Electric Pressure Canner?

Pressure canner, with jars of beans

Getty Images/The Washington Post

A pressure canner is made to can low acid foods like veggies, meat, poultry, fish and wild game. It holds the canning jars upright and processes the foods at the right temperature, which is higher than that of a boiling water bath canner, which is best used for high-acid foods.

This kitchen appliance is ideal if you have too much food to eat in the moment, like an overly bountiful season of green beans or too many batches of stock. It works by trapping steam inside and creating pressure, which leads to a temperature high enough to kill the bacteria that causes botulism. The canner keeps the food at the correct pressure and heat until the food is safely preserved and all bacteria has been eliminated.

Can I Use a Pressure Cooker to Can Foods?

Although pressure canners look similar to pressure cookers like Instant Pots and multi cookers, they're not the same. The USDA and National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) advise against home canners using multi cookers for home canning because of the risk of botulism poisoning, a type of food poisoning.

Electric pressure cookers don't always reach a consistently high enough temperature at high altitudes compared to how they function at sea level. Even if they reach a high temperature for part of the processing time, they might not do so for the entire time on all parts of the food. This is an issue because low-acid foods must be heated with the right amount of pressure and the right temperature during the canning process to eliminate the spores of the bacteria that cause botulism poisoning.

Types of Electric Pressure Canners

Apple sauce in the pressure canner

Getty Images/Apple sauce in the pressure canner

Although using an electric pressure cooker for canning isn't a good idea because of food safety, there are a few different types of electric pressure canners. A dial gauge canner has a pressure gauge on the lid to display when the pressure has reached the necessary level.

A weighted gauge canner, on the other hand, has removable, weighted regulators that determine the pressure. There are also some canners that are a combo of these two. The All American pressure canner is a weighted gauge canner, ideal because of its large capacity, lack of gaskets, and easy to read steam gauge.

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