Pressure Canners vs. Cookers
This week we just had one reader question, but it was a really good one.
Q: Can I use a regular pressure cooker to do pressure canning?
A: No, unfortunately not, and here’s why.
Pressure canners are designed to maintain an exact level of pressure as per what is safe to process foods at. For instance, my All American canner has 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.
So – in essence, your pressure CANNER can be used as a COOKER but not vice versa.
Hope that helps you guys! Until next week.
P.S. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about making that home-brined corned beef! So here’s a current update – Saturday’s beef tasted great, just like it should, but was really tough even with cooking it in liquid for 10 hours on low. I discovered that commercial corned beef has a tenderizer in it, so NEXT time I make it I’ll add some pineapple juice or a pureed kiwi or something. They have enzymes that help tenderize meat At the risk of burning out my family on corned beef, I’ll be trying again in a week or so.
Filed under: Mailbag Monday
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