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Old 02-27-2011, 09:46 AM   #1
jenn3514
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Default pressure canner vs. pressure cooker

Can you use a pressure cooker to safely can things? Or does it have to be a canner- or are they basically the same thing? TIA!
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: pressure canner vs. pressure cooker

A pressure cooker is most often about the size of a small stock pot, a pressure canner is made to fit jars inside and the most common sizes fit either one layer of quarts, or two layers of pints. I think they are the same except for size so you can use a pressure canner to pressure cook larger volumes of food. I've only used my pressure canner to can, but I think I read in the booklet that it can also be used to cook.

I think you could use a cooker to can if you have the proper weights (different foods can at different weights of pressure), there is a metal disc on the bottom of the pot to help diffuse the heat, and the jars fit snug enough that they don't rock around and break while in the canning process.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: pressure canner vs. pressure cooker

If you know the pressure is high enough, I don't see why not. But knowing for sure is a matter of precision and I'm not sure the valve on a cooker is cut out for that job.

It's common to take your pressure canner to the county extention office to make sure it will get the pressure you need. I don't know if they would do the test for a cooker.

Also, it wouldn't be a very efficient process if the pressure cooker leaves a lot of free space.

Having said all that, when I buy a pressure cooker, one of my requirements will be space for at least one canning jar.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: pressure canner vs. pressure cooker

There can be a difference. Some models are sold as canner/cookers and some are sold as cookers only. To safely can, the canner must consistently maintain fifteen lbs of pressure. Some pressure cookers only go as high as thirteen. Pressure canners vs cookers, also have a rack on the bottom to keep canning jars off of the bottom of the canner. My small pressure cooker was also sold as a canner, it holds three pint jars at a time and has a variable guage that adjusts between 5 and 15 lbs. My larger cooker was not designed for canning and doesn't get up to 15 lbs or pressure. I think on low it is 7 lbs and on high 11 or 13 lbs.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: pressure canner vs. pressure cooker

Thanks for your replies! I was talking to someone who has been canning for awhile (50+ years). She said that the correct answer is that if you are using it to can low-acid food, you should have a gauge on top. Her answer is that people have been doing this for years without gauges or all of the regulations we have now and survived

ETA_ we share our food, so for safety we will just go with the canner.
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