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Pressure Canners

Discussion in 'Preserving, Canning and Freezing' started by drogers33, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    So in late 2013 I decided that relying on a freezer to store all of my meat (we raise beef and chicken) was not the best option. Not only it costs power to run year round but where I live I'm reliant on grid power without any really good backup options. So I went looking for options to get stuff out of the freezer and onto storage shelves. Enter the world of pressure canning.

    Having done high acid bath canning for years I didn't really know what I needed so it was off to Google. After discovering that the first page or so of results were people trying to find new gaskets, I knew I didn't want one with a gasket. I settled on All American Pressure Canners, they were highly rated and didn't have the dreaded gaskets.

    IMG_20131214_091506.jpg

    This is just after unboxing it (we bought the 941), as you can all see they are serious about making sure that they have warning labels. Everywhere. These are heavy, no other way to say it. It is a weighted vent style with geared pressure gauge. The seal is machined metal to metal. I found while researching reports that some people had leaking from the seal, I've kept the canner clean and have had no issues with the seal leaking or any other issues. However if you were to not have a clean seal it would leak for sure. Almost all of the common complaints come under "internet retard" heading. The only complaint I have is my own fault, it doesn't fit on my stove under the range oven.

    IMG_20131214_092852.jpg

    We have to pull the stove out 1' to use it. However we have switched to using a propane burner outside on the deck and we have found it far better. It requires more attention to keep the pressure correct ie it goes higher than it needs too, but thats not a huge issue. Also with the cooler air outside it cools faster allowing us to do multiple batches per day and it keeps the kitchen cooler.

    I won't get into the details of canning. I will say however that the most we've run thru this is 2 batches in a day (with prep that's a long day). Full batches are 18 1L or 29 500mL. Needless to say that's a lot of soup, chili, spaghetti sauce, or garden produce to prep in a day. Our usual method is to start a batch of soup chili or sauce in the morning and let simmer till afternoon. At the same time we run the jars thru the dishwasher to clean and get them hot. This lets us pack the jars and start the canner. The canning cycle (heat up/pressure build, time at pressure, cool down/depressurize) is about 2.5-3hrs total in total.

    We have run 100lbs of ground beef into chili and pasta sauce. Any bones we have we make into soups. The official shelf life is 5 years, but 10 isn't unrealistic if store properly. We try and build up 1 batch per month more than we use, the only time we don't is during the fall when we are packaging the garden harvest (2 batches per day for 4 days). We use the oldest for work lunches/fast dinners, it means we can tweak our recipes and keep the stock fresh.

    In short I have to say in the just over a year we've had this canner we are totally happy with it. I won't claim its a cheap (US amazon was the best price I could find) or simple (shelf space) but I do think it's absolutely worth it. The other benefits of knowing whats in your food and eating better etc are big but not the main reasons I got into this.

    Some words of wisdom you will need more shelves for sure, as well as when mason jars and lids go on sale its a buggy full. You will have to play with batching to get the size for full batches. The included manual is good but a more in depth canning manual is useful and will have more ideas.
     
  2. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    Fantastic write up! Do you have any idea how much money you save verses freezing?
     
  3. TopSecret

    TopSecret I told on you! Staff Founders

    Definitely on my wish list, as well as a dehydrator (for fruit and herbs).

    Now where's the pictures of the shelves full of jars? :D

    Can't wait to have a garden myself and start storing food and produce!
     
  4. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    Navy:
    Cost savings aren't really a factor due to the fact I'm running the freezer either way, in fact it costs me about 2lbs propane to do a batch. However everything I run thru isn't relying on power. For savings vs buying sauce, chili, soups premade, it saves me some but not huge amounts. The main upside is the shelf life and better quality product. Once the garden is expanded this year we should have better savings.
     
  5. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    My other question is how do you ensure there is no botulism? I've read you can't see it and you can't taste it.
     
  6. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    In all canning: if the lid has ANY movement (using a finger) when sealed or if the lid doesn't hiss when opened=spoiled.
     
  7. Shawn

    Shawn Moderator Staff Founders

    Great write up and thanks. This is something I am thinking about getting into

    Shawn
     
  8. stevebc

    stevebc Lead Moderator Staff Founders

    Hello drogers33, nice to meet you. I'm still catching up around here.
     
  9. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    Then your still ahead of me lol.
     
  10. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    It's a lot like reloading in a lot of ways. "Why make ok ammo when I can make perfect ammo?" This weekend was an experimental batch of pasta sauce. :eek:
     
  11. canadianpsyko

    canadianpsyko Chief Grand Breakage-er Staff Cam Founders

    MULTIQUOTE!
     
  12. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    Not just any multi-quote either, select to multi-quote! Just like in games trust drogers to ignore the tutorials.
     
  13. canadianpsyko

    canadianpsyko Chief Grand Breakage-er Staff Cam Founders

    You can also click the quote.PNG button.
     
  14. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    True, though I often find myself only needing to quote a segment of a post and that's why the select to multi-quote really stands out to me.
     
  15. TopSecret

    TopSecret I told on you! Staff Founders

    On topic guys.... Fudge!
     
  16. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    20151122_023648.jpg
    This is what 3 batches of chicken and barley soup looks like.
     
  17. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    Enjoying yourself?! Looks good!
     
  18. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    2 batches today is a long day, but yes I happen to be. Also I have to get room in the freezer sooner rather than later so I'm getting on it. Lots of chicken scraps to be processed into soup or if we run out of time, chicken stock with meat. I guess to be honest about it I should also get a picture of the aftermath in the kitchen of making 42L of anything, the finished product looks so nice and clean.
     
  19. stevebc

    stevebc Lead Moderator Staff Founders

    I'll show this to my partner- she's into canning, preserving, dehydrating. And today we're going to harvest the last few cabbages before they really freeze. Supposed to hit -12 next week.
     
  20. Mel Kalashnikova

    Mel Kalashnikova Rock Slinger

    Hah! Came looking for pressure canner threads on my first day here, and of course I find a DRogers thread on it.

    To anyone reading on, we had seen his canning set up, and decided to get the exact same canner. We went hog wild with it and tried all sorts of things. We even made a massive pot of bone broth in it--my usual 16-20 hour slow simmer for beef bones was reduced to 2 hours under pressure, then I got to use that same pot to can it all.

    Someone had asked about savings. I don't have exact numbers, just a theory. It involves time and money. Lets take squash for example. I love squash soup. I'll eat it maybe 15-20 times a year. Price varies throughout the year, but ranges around 1.50$ to 2$ a pound. Each batch is about 3 lbs of squash. For every batch, you would buy squash at the store, run the oven to roast it, or the stove top to boil it, taking about 60 minutes to make each time. More if you make your broth. But by canning, I went to the local farm market and got 3$ massive 7-10 pound squashes on special and in season. I bought it once, processed and ran stove once, and now can have my 40 portions of squash soup throughout the year with a simple reheat and a blend. The whole process took about 5 hours.

    I think that there must be hidden savings that are hard to calculate as well. For example, when you are too lazy or rushed to cook, and still want to eat something nice and gourmet. We tend to hit the restaurant. Canning has reduced restaurant outings for sure. One could argue that you can just freeze nice meals, but it's just not the same, IMO. If you didn't pre-thaw that uneven microwave heat up can make some parts of the meal overcooked. Depending on what it is, that might really suck. There is also the nutrient loss factor. For sure, the moment you heat up any produce, you will loose nutrients. But with canning, the nutrient loss does stall. Whereas in a freezer, with oxidization, the nutrient loss continues with time. And as drogers mentioned, freezers are also energy hungry beasts. They still have a place in our home for sure (baked goods and meat) but I do like relying on them less.

    Some drawbacks: initial equipment purchase is not cheap. The canner itself and the jars will ring up a good bill. But unlike tupperware and rip-offs, jars stay nice forever and never take on the taste of what was previously in it. And once it's all purchased, you are done, minus the lids that you have to keep purchasing. The other drawback is the initial learning involved. I like that kind of challenge, but I have to admit that there is a lot too it at first. Recipe hunting can be a little tricky. We started with recipes that came from agricultural depts of universities. Tried, tested and true. But eventually you do want to stray a bit, so we've so far used these approved recipes for their proportions to make our own recipes, or adapt web recipes. They say not to do that but we do anyway. We're pretty wild like that... Not dead yet, but we'll see I guess ;)
     
  21. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    We still so a fair amount of prepared freezer meals. We buy the tin take out trays, ideally taking out the nights meal in the morning to fully defrost and then pop it into the oven.

    Works well for us, but I do want to can and not rely as much on the freezer. Both of our freezers are rated to two days without power, though that can be a bit nerve racking knowing there is literally a couple thousand dollars of perishables that could be ruined by one long power outage.
     
  22. Shawn

    Shawn Moderator Staff Founders

    Yeah but you can now hook them up to your car and presto more power

    Shawn
     
  23. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    I don't have a large enough inverter and at best I have 24hours of power to keep one freezer in service.
     
  24. Shawn

    Shawn Moderator Staff Founders

    BS

    We already covered this:

    [​IMG]

    Can your car not be used a generator like the prius can?

    On top of that you only need to power the freezers maybe at the most four hours a day, depending on outside temp, giving you at least 6 days of power for your freezers.

    Shawn
     
  25. NavyCuda

    NavyCuda Grand Nagus Staff Founders

    My car can be used as a power source, I just don't have the equipment to get power from it.

    It's also more efficient to maintain a temperature than it is cool something down over a short period of time and then let it warm back up again.

    The big issue is that I only have ~20kWh of power available if the car is fully charged.
     
  26. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    Another convert, excellent!! Soon my evil plan will be ready.
     
  27. Mel Kalashnikova

    Mel Kalashnikova Rock Slinger

    I must admit that we did get a generator just for the freezer. Just in case, ya know? The rest of the house is just dandy in an outage, but the meat and baking in the freezer is just so sad to waste.

    Our off grid buddy only has the freezer space on the top compartment of his pretty tiny propane run fridge. This got is thinking. As we do want to eventually end up off grid, we've been trying to put some thought into powerless ways to store food. And it has to be good food too, life is too short to eat shitty food!

    Not quite at salting raw meat and burrying it in the yard, yet, though. Maybe give it time ;)
     
  28. Mel Kalashnikova

    Mel Kalashnikova Rock Slinger

    Does it involve a militia, with home-brew? And pressure canners. Of course. Gotta eat!
     
  29. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders

    More involves having people able to feed themselves when everything falls apart.
     
  30. Mel Kalashnikova

    Mel Kalashnikova Rock Slinger

    Hopefully not just fed either, also well fed! Guess I should devise a plan to loot spices... ;)
     
  31. drogers33

    drogers33 Longbow Man Founders



    Found this and it is good info. Until 2:20 and it goes off topic.
     
  32. Mel Kalashnikova

    Mel Kalashnikova Rock Slinger

    Doh! I failed the etiquette rule... I never give back the jars :/ oops!
     

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