Pressure Cookers

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HollyL, May 19, 2004.

  1. HollyL

    HollyL New Member

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    I would like to be able to can fruits vegetable and possibly goat's milk. I know some canning can be done with a hot water bath, but I think a good pressure canner would help. My mom knows a lot about canning, but her pressure cooker is older and neither of us know what to look for in a new one. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice? I was hoping to buy a used one, but I saw some stuff on the internet about the possibility of a defective pressure cooker exploding! :eek: Can this really happen?
     
  2. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    No, pressure cookers have a saftey seal built into the lid that will blow out before the cooker could explode. In my opinion its best to buy the top of the line stainless steel gasketless cooker that will can 7 quarts at a time. This is an item that I consider a necessity, it will last many lifetimes and pay for itself quickly.

    Tom
     

  3. HollyL

    HollyL New Member

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    What would be a good brand to look into? I've seen some as cheap as $80, but then others at $400 or more!
     
  4. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    Holly, I might have spoke too soon about getting a stainless steel. We still use a pre-worldwar II National canner and I just thought that when I have to replace it, it would be stainless steel but it looks like that would be very expensive. If I bought the Aluminum one, I would only use it for canning. Here's some info, http://missvickie.com/canning/canning-frame.html
     
  5. ovsfarm

    ovsfarm Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My pressure cooker is an early 1940's model. I contacted the manufacturer (Mirro) to order new seals a couple of years ago. The representative told me that there were still thousands of the old ones in use and in her opinion, they were better made than the new ones.

    I took my cooker to the local Extension Service office to have the gauge checked and calibrated. After all these years it was only off by about one half of a pound of pressure at one reading, all the rest were exact. The person doing the testing told me she had seen brand new pressure cookers tested that were off by over 3 pounds on every reading and had to be sent back to the manufacturer for recalibration.

    So, IMHO, you might be better off with an old, well made pressure cooker with new seals and that has had the calibration recently checked than with a brand new model. Not to mention better off financially. I bought mine for $10 through the local Trader newspaper.
     
  6. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    My mother had an older Presto one that she'd had for years while we were growing up. I bought her a new one, same diameter and canend 7 quarts, but her was *taller* and you could stack pint jars on top of each other, getting 18 pint jars in it. So I traded the new one (cast aluminum from Walmart - about $60 I think) to her for her older one. She's doing just fine with hers, but time will tell.

    Found the manufacturer of the Presto online (go figure!) and ordered new seals, a new pressure guage and a new weight for it, all for under $30 including shipping. I've been using it for the last six years and love it!

    I don't, however, recommend canning milk it a pressure canner. It changes the color as well as the flavor - tastes more like condensed milk. Fine to cook with and I'm sure it's okay, and probably *keeps* longer, but it isn't as good as the boiling water bath canend milk. IMHO. Tomatoes, fruits, vegetables, meats, *everything* else goes in my pressure canner! :)

    -Sarah
     
  7. EricG

    EricG Well-Known Member

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    Keep an eye on ebay, sometimes you can find a deal. We use one of the gasketless ones that use wing nut type clamps. Works great for us. The weight has three holes so you just choose which pressure you want and set it to clattering away, no need to calibrate the gauge.

    Eric
     
  8. I've picked up pressure cookers and pressure canners at thrift shops and yard sales. Cheap, from $2-$5!!
     
  9. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    A pressure canner is nothing you want to take a chance on. While there are plenty of safety features on the new ones, the older ones had rubber gaskets that wore out and cracked, and you would need to have the pressure guage tested by your extension service for accuracy.
    A new good-sized one will run you between $150 and $250, but it's a worthwile investment. It's something that you will pass down through the generations if you buy smart now. Look for a metal to metal seal, an adjustable pressure guage, and a thick wall construction. I recommend an All American.
     
  10. cowgirlone

    cowgirlone Well-Known Member

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    I'm happy with my Presto. I purchased it last year to replace a really really OLD one I've had for 30 yrs.
    It is a 22 qt size. It holds 7 Qt jars or 20 pint jars. I spent a little under $100. for it at my local farm store.
    It works for me! :)
     
  11. Ann-NWIowa

    Ann-NWIowa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have two pressure canners both purchased at auctions - both like new. One holds 7 quarts or 9 pints the other 7 quarts or 18 pints. $5 for one $10 for the other. Seals are less than $10 although I didn't need to replace them in either canner. Seals last for a long time so aren't a big deal. There is nothing wrong with using an older canner and if your mother's works with new seals and passes the Extension Service gauge testing, I certainly wouldn't spend $'s on a new one.
     
  12. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Yes it can. It happened to me about 20 years ago with a used one. The lid blew off and the food was splattered to the four corners of the kitchen ceiling and walls. I could have been killed had I been in the kitchen at the time. My family has used pressure cookers for eons and swear by them. They think I am being unreasonable- the one I had must have had a defect or it could have been operator error :eek: . I have a new one in the utility room that I never use. My mother uses it when she's over.
     
  13. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    Holly, I bought the 21 1/2 quart Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry pressure canner from the site I gave you, it seemed like a good deal and I couldn't turn it down, you get a 25.00 rebate until the end of May and free shipping, the total was 115.00.
     
  14. Ann-NWIowa

    Ann-NWIowa Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would think the only reason a lid would blow off is because it wasn't locked on properly. After letting it steam for 10 minutes, you close the exhaust, then start taking the pressure up - at that time watch the area where the top and bottom come together. If steam is escaping there turn the canner off immediately, let the pressure go back to zero, check that the lid is on properly. If its not, remove and put it on right. After doing this and it still steams from that area repeat the steps and remove the lid and check the seal. Sometimes just turning the rubber seal over will help it to seal better. Remember when you take the lid off, tip it toward you so the steam doesn't come up in your face. The only people I've ever heard of having a canner blow a lid was my cousin's wife and she didn't have it locked on right and my mother-in-law ended up with tomatoes all over the ceiling when she took the lid off before the pressure was complete down. If the lid is locked on properly, a pressure problem should result in the safety plug blowing not the lid blowing off. The extension service has bulletins on care and use of pressure canners. Plus around here you could make an appointment and take you canner in and discuss it with the extension lady.
     
  15. Balancedmom2003

    Balancedmom2003 Well-Known Member

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    I bought two used ones last year at a local thrift shop for $10 each. One was an old CO-OP with large wooden handles and the large pressure gauge and one was the newer Presto with weighted top. I took both of them to the local ag extension office last week. They are telling me that the older one is no good, parts can't be found and said it had tiny mold spores growing in it and it would not be safe to use. The Presto is in good shape except for the petcock. The agent was trying to find me a new one at the local hardware store. I sure hope that she can. Right now I am using my aunt's cooker to can peas. I would like to have two going at once though. Makes canning alot easier on me. If they can't find the petcock I will probably buy a new pressure cooker. Boy I hope that they find one!!

    Michele