A few years ago my mom and sister & I decided we wanted to go in together and get a canner from all american.
We decided on it in the 30 quart version because it has a huge capacity and we would often do “canning parties” during the canning season.
Unfortunately, life moved us apart geographically, but lucky for me I ended up with it!
So Why to choose An All American ?
When we were doing the research , reading pressure canner reviews on which one to get, and there were lots of options. The main other option brand-wise that you could get is a Presto canner.
Presto canners are much, much cheaper, which of course is attractive. Having said that, they have two major drawbacks – they are made in China and they use gaskets. Actually, none of the other brands I saw were gasket-free and made in the USA.
I’ve been around on the net for a while now and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read posts from frustrated people who bought or inherited old canners and then could not get gaskets or other parts for them.
Given the fact that it is important to all of us to have equipment that will last long enough for our children and grandchildren to use, we didn’t want to look at them that would be rendered useless at some point if the company went out of business and no gaskets were available. We felt the fewer potential replacement parts, the better.
OK Then, Why The the MODEL 921 Specifically?
Now that I have this canner at home, though, I have to say that when I’m just trying to can up some extra soup that I made, or a few jars of beans, etc. I really do wish I had the 921 model.
It holds 21 ½ quarts of liquid, but what you REALLY want to know is that it can hold 19 pint jars or 7 quart jars. It’s the perfect balance in size between not being too small, but not being too huge that it is really unwieldy like my 30 quart model.
I think it’s probably the best selling of All canners because of that reason – it’s the ideal size for your average canning household.
I use it all. the .time. It’s huge and an eyesore but sometimes it sits in my kitchen for WEEKS.
Here’s a few things I’ve done in it that have really started to save me money.
I make a lot of “basics” that I can then use to make meals, which is nice because I can season them how I want them. Most people tell you not to season your canned stuff so you can have more versatility, but I season all of mine because I know how I like to cook!
Aside from the standard canning of fruits, vegetables and pickles, here’s a few things I especially like to use it.
- Hummus-in-a-jar – I take dry garbanzo beans and can them whole with all the seasonings I need for hummus, so them when it comes time I literally dump a jar in my blender, add some peanut butter or tahini if I have it, olive oil and lemon juice and voila! Delicious homemade hummus.
- Canned beans – We eat a lot of Mexican food and canning my own dry beans is awesome for super quick meals. The easiest way is to can up quarts of beans with a Tbs of taco seasoning, then when it’s dinnertime I just mash them with a potato masher and have super easy refried beans.
- Tomatoes & Salsa – Oh man can you imagine how much money you’d save over buying commercial canned tomatoes? This goes for salsa, diced tomatoes, whole peeled tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato soup, tomato sauce, pizza sauce, marinara sauce…
- Marinara sauce. Yes, I’m repeating myself, and yes, it’s that important. What’s easier than opening a can of delicious homemade spaghetti sauce and boiling up some pasta? I usually just make a double batch of sauce and then when we’re done eating, I can up what I have left.
- Meats Canner – the thought of canning meat was kind of off-putting to me until the inevitable day when I had a FABULOUS deal on ground beef and decided to try and can it. I was so glad I did! Canned cooked ground beef is wonderful in soups and casseroles and you can’t even tell the difference. The first time I used it, I made it into Taco Soup for a work potluck and no one even knew it was canned. And it won’t freezerburn! Gotta love it!
- Leftovers – Like I do with the marinara sauce, I have several recipes that are canning-approved. Here are few more online. It’s just as easy to make a double batch of those and can the leftovers, and then I have quick meals whenever I want. Homemade convenience food cat its best!
- And so much more! Canning vegetables from the garden, fruit fillings with low-acid fruits, and oh – did you know you can use them to sterilize?
Pressure Cooking Insight
Before I go into detail, I would like to say one thing – this is a canner and pressure cooker, but I don’t use mine for the pressure cooking capacity. I’ve heard they work great but since I haven’t had any firsthand experience with it, I won’t go in to that.
I will say, though, that mine is the perfect size for boiling a gigantor turkey carcass into stock! Oh, and scalding chicken carcasses as well… but I’m getting ahead of myself
So how do I use it for Pressure Canning?
It is is simple to use. You basically just load your jars in the canner, you can do either 7 quart jars or two rows of 8 quarts.
It comes with these little metal trays to space out the jars on and everything. So you load in your jars, add some water, close it up, latch it tightly, put it on your stove and turn it on.
You might have to monkey with the temp a little bit on your stove until you get kind of familiar with it (but all of them are different, naturally) and what level of heat it takes to get to your desired PSI and maintain.
I could go into more detail but frankly, it’s boring and there’s a WONDERFUL instruction for canning with recipes and everything that comes with it, so I’ll leave you to that.
One thing, very important – you can’t use them with a flat top stove! That would be bad – they are quite heavy and needs better support than what a flat top stove will give them. So if you have a flat top stove, you might want to check into getting an outdoor propane stove before you go on any pressure canning adventures.
How ’bout more detail ?
The dimensions are 15 3/8 inches high and a 12 ¼ inch diameter. It’s made from durable, hand-cast aluminum with satiny finish on the outside.
It’s been pretty easy to clean although the monstrous size of my 30 quart combined with the tiny size of my kitchen sink hasn’t always been a match made in heaven. I don’t have any idea how it works, but they have this exclusive “metal-to-metal” seal which is completely tight and works perfectly.
They made the “heaviest wear” parts made from a double thickness of aluminum, so this thing is Sturdy with a capital S!
canners from all american have a top of the line geared steam gauge which is nice and big so it’s easy to read, and two methods of pressure release.
It’s got an part which is automatic overpressure release- a fancy way of saying a little rubber thingy on the top that will release steam before it explodes, if it ever got to that point.
The pressure is simple to regulate with a pressure regulator weight with settings for 5, 10 and 15 psi.
(I have to admit I wrote out a whole part on how it works and realized how BORING it was so I removed it.)
Ahem. Oh, did I mention that it’s made in Wisconsin? And last, but certainly not least, it comes with a 1 year limited warranty.
On Deciding Which Canner is elite
Like I said above, one of the main factors for us specifically going with an All American is because we didn’t want to deal with gaskets that will wear out, and were looking for something a little more solid that our kids & grandkids will be able to use.
The other thing that is important to me is quality of workmanship. I generally try to buy Made in USA whenever possible. Actually that’s not true – really what I prefer is to NOT buy items that are made in China, Taiwan, etc.
I’d much rather pay a little more for a piece of quality workmanship that will last for generations, than save a little money now but have to keep shelling out for replacements.
For instance, I’d much rather have a few good cast iron pans that will last forever and my kids and grandkids can use them, as opposed to continuing to repeatedly have to buy cheap pans every 5 or 10 years.
So when we were looking at canners, we took those things into consideration, and also how nearly everyone that I asked either said they had an All-American and they loved it, or they had an off-brand but really actually lusted after it. The 30-quart pressure canning equipment was perfect for what we got it for – it had a great capacity (14 quart jars!) and has served us well during our canning parties.
So if you are looking for a canner that has a huge capacity to can up tons of food, you might want to look at it. Having said that, the average household (mine included) would really be best served with this.
I’ve heard a lot of GOOD, but is there any BAD or UGLY?
Of course! With anything there’s always drawbacks. Nothing’s perfect, right? I will say, nothing that’s any kind of big deal.
- It’s heavy. Yep, heavy. My 30 quart is heavier, and while I’ve never technically lifted it I can say that with my 30 quart canner, I fill it while it’s already sitting on the stove burner so I don’t have to try and lift a heavy canner with full jars AND water onto the stove.
- The pressure regulator weight is not attached and could technically get lost. Having said that, they are cheap and I actually just bought a spare just in case. The nice thing is, they won’t ever break! I do like to store all the canning accessories in the cleaned and dried canner once I’m done, so everything is always in one place. I even keep the recipe and instruction booklet in there for quick reference.
- Some people report problems opening these after using them, as if the pressure is creating a suction. I had that problem at first but then I read in the instructions (after the fact, of course!) that we’re supposed to lubricate the seal just a little with some petroleum jelly. I just use a little cooking oil on my finger and run it around the inside of the seam and I’ve had zero problems opening it since.
So where’s the best price on this wonderfully engineered Canner?
It is definitely an investment. It retails at $362 but you can usually find it quite a bit cheaper online, especially at Amazon.com. I haven’t seen it above $200 on Amazon, which naturally doesn’t surprise me.
Amazon consistently has the best prices on things like this, and free shipping to boot. You can also try to find them locally, though they are kinda like a unicorn… good luck!
You might find one at a thrift store if you are really lucky. I also say try Craigslist to see if you can get a used one – these things are awesome and used are just as good as new, but they are rare to find there. I think I see ads for them once every couple months or so, and half the time the seller wants more for their used canner than you’d pay buying it new at Amazon.com!
So really, you have two best options – wait and see if you can find one cheap locally which will save you $$ but might take a long time, or just buy it now for under $200 with free shipping at Amazon.
For your money, you’ll be getting the following parts:
- Pressure Canner
- 2 canning racks
- Instruction/recipe booklet
- Pressure regulator weight
What do the Reviews Say About the model 921?
Oh I am SO glad you asked! I was just reading a review on Amazon and I have to say it’s a perfect summary of why I got and highly recommend it.
It’s titled: “If you are considering buying any other canner, send me the money and I’ll throw it away for you.”
That one made me chuckle just a little. This gentleman inherited his grandmother’s 30 year old All-American and tells everyone to “Buy this and pass it on to your grandchildren!” Now that’s what I call a good piece of homesteading equipment!
Q: How much water do you use in the canner?
A: I just put in a couple inches and call it good. Generally speaking when I do canning, the water comes up to about a third to halfway level of the jars once I have the first layer added and it has worked fine for me. More for longer canning times, less for shorter.
If you are canning multiple batches, though, make sure to top it off each time. I’m not sure if that’s what you do with most canners since I’ve only ever used an All American (at least, for high pressure canning).
The general idea is to have more than enough water to create steam which is what gives the canner its pressure. Boiling water does not create that pressure, so if your jars are submerged, they won’t get the right amount of pressure heat and they won’t be canned properly.
Q: Can I use a regular pressure cooker to do pressure canning?
A: No, unfortunately not, and here’s why.
Pressure canner cookers are designed to maintain an exact level of pressure as per what is safe to process foods at. For instance, pressure canners of all american have a pressure regulator to keep it at exactly 5, 10, or 15 lbs of pressure. Those settings are a must when it comes to safe canning – if the pressure is slightly too low, it may not be able to get the canned goods to the required temperature for the required amount of time to prevent botulism spores.
Pressure cookers are designed to cook effectively and quickly with pressure but do not actually require a specific pressure level. Because of this, the pressure levels can vary from cooker to cooker and even with the same cooker depending on what you make and how long you have been cooking it for. There is simply no way to ensure that your canned foods have reached the proper pressure level to be safe.
Not only that, but if you live at 1000+ altitude, most cookers don’t even go high enough. I live above 1000 feet, and I have to can most of my items at 10lbs minimum. That is a pressure level that’s not attainable by any pressure cookers.
Q: I always have problems opening my canner after I’m done using it. Is there an easier way?
A: I’ve actually had the SAME problem in my All American. What fixed it for me was rubbing a little oil or fat of some sort around the inside of the seal – you know where the metal is sort of angled inward? I just put a little lard or olive oil on my finger and run it around the rim. A tiny bit will do the job. Also – it could be a matter of pressure difference, so make sure you are waiting until the canner has lost its pressure before you try to open it.
Q: Is it safe to pressure can peanut butter?
A: No, unfortunately it is not safe to home can peanut butter, even with a high quality pressure canner like the model 921. Canning in pressure canner relies on having liquid “space” between the pieces of whatever you happen to be canning in order to be able to bring the food up to the proper temperature to kill off the organisms to safely preserve the food.
Thick textured items like peanut butter, refried beans, and other similar foods do not have any such liquid “space” since they are all one thick paste. Because of this, even with a very long time in a pressure canner, there is no guarantee that the interior will get up to the necessary temperature.
Peanut butter is one item that is best bought commercially and stored. Luckily, it has a long shelf life, so it’s an easy item to stock up on when you can find a good deal.