Recommendation for a good pressure cooker/pressure canner?
I have started canning and have been working with a boiling water bath, which works OK but I also wants to speed up my stocks, which I know a pressure cooker can do, so I think it's time to take the plunge. Which one is best and why?
Mirro, Presto and All American are the most commonly used of the people know and they all get satisfactory ratings from the folks I know that use them. There is a big deal made over the fact that the All American doesn't use a gasket but it still has an over pressure plug that will need replacement on occasion. If you need to double stack quarts, you'll have to get an All American because they are the only canners that can do that. You'd need to get the 30 or 41 qt models to double stack quarts. Personally I'd go for one that at least will double stack pints.
I found the Presto to be great for my entry into pressure canning. The 23 qt model is about 80 dollars on Amazon and will hold 7 qt jars or up to 20 pint jars and 24 half pints. I just did 17 pints in mine today a mix of regular and wide mouth jars in one canner load.
Comparing it to the All American of similar size which is 224 dollars on Amazon. The All American is really nice and well made and made in the USA. If I was going to buy the All American I'd get the 30 qt as it's only 50 dollars more and you can double stack quarts. It can do 14 qts or 19 pints in one canner load.
Considering the time it takes to get the canner up to pressure, foods that can take 90 minutes at pressure to can and then the to cool down before you can open it, it's a huge time savings to get a larger canner and process more food in one load.
I started with a very small Presto which works as a cooker and cans pint sized jars. As Rasputina says, the gasket isn't a big deal.
I bought an All American this winter. Part of my decision was based on it's dimensions - it fits perfectly in the only spot I have to store it. I have found that it is quieter than my Presto. It is also easier for me to open than the Presto due to the design. I have weak hands so this is a very big plus for me.
I think replacement parts are easier to find in brick/mortar shops for Presto. But in over 25 years with mine I never needed a new gasket.
You really can't go wrong with the brands Rasputina mentioned.
Assess your storage space, the size of your stove-top, your canning needs and budget. That will help you narrow down the options.
For a pressure cooker go with a Kuhn Rikon, accept no substitute. I don't have a canner but I hear AA are pretty nice.
I use a Fagor Duo 10 qt. Love it. While my storage space isn't at maximum capacity yet, the fact is I don't make gigantic batches of anything. Perhaps four or five quarts, or 10 pints, but rarely more than that. I just like the process. I like putting a few jars up of the things I like. I don't need to make 20. I realize this is a bit more work, but I do it when I'm already in the kitchen making food or processing raw food into cut/diced/sliced ingredients.