I understand the hesitation some of you feel about bringing a piece of equipment into your house (a pressure canner) that, at one time, had the potential to kill you in several ways, including but not limited to blowing the roof off the place. But it’s not like that anymore. Honestly. Canners are incredibly reliable. Today’s pressure canners regulate their own pressure, so there isn’t the fear of them blowing up in your kitchen like there might have been in the olden days.
Even though canners are much more reliable now, if you plan to can, you still have to be careful about your canning recipes. Most canners use the Ball Blue Book of Preserving or the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. If you’re thinking about canning, I recommend investing in at least one of these.
You’ll also have to choose a type of canner. And the word canner is important because a pressure canner is not the same as a pressure cooker. You can pressure cook in a pressure canner, but you cannot pressure can in a pressure cooker. Got it? Canners come in two types. There’s the weighted-gauge canner or the dial gauge. A weighted-gauge canner has little weights on top that control the pressure inside, while a dial-gauge canner has an actual dial that controls the pressure. The dial gauge is easier to read, but it needs to be checked every couple of years to make sure it’s still reading true. A weighted gauge needs no maintenance. I personally use a Mirro weighted-gauge pressure canner. But that’s only because no one has ever given me the Rolls-Royce of pressure canners, the All American, as a gift.
Now you’re going to hear the best advice you’ll ever hear about canning: buy the tools! For the first few years of canning, I had no idea the tools even existed. There are only a few things that you should buy, and they won’t cost a fortune, but they will make your life as a canner infinitely easier.
These essential tools for canning will make the process a lot easier.