I searched the internet high and low, and researched day and night before I decided on making my first pressure canner purchase. I am still learning my way around the canning world as I have done some water bath canning previously, but I was really interested in getting into pressure canning for a number of reasons, but mostly because of Teenie's love of beans! Teenie is a super picky eater, the foods she WILL eat are pretty healthy (with the exception of vienna sausages) but her favorite thing in the world is bean and cheese burritos, with ketchup, yup...ketchup. I started cutting out a lot of processed foods awhile ago and have been making a pot beans from scratch about once a week. Then I pour them into containers and put them in a freezer. But when your kid eats beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it seems that I am always running out when I need them for a recipe, then I end up at the store buying more before the week is out. I tried making bigger batches but then I run out of freezer space, so pressure canning seemed to be the perfect option for me.
This video was very helpful in my research and ultimately, my decision. Presto vs All American comparison
Pressure canners seem to run any where from $100-500, I didn't want to pay too much but I didn't want to compromise quality either. I will admit the more expensive All American canners were very impressive with them not needing a gasket and all. They seem to get rave reviews and they are American made, which is fantastic! I was torn between two canners the Presto 23 quart and the All American 921, when I decided to look up comparisons online. It seems that both the Presto and the All American 921 (21.5 quart model). Both have large capacities the Presto holds up to 7 quart jars or up to 20 pints. The All American holds 7 quarts or up 19 pints. Both have features that I like, AA has a lid that you have to screw down. Presto has a lid that is faster to take off and on because it just turns and locks in place. The Presto canner is heavy, but the thick-walled AA weighs a ton, about twice the Presto. This is one of the biggest deciding factors for me. I just don't have the muscle to lug that thing out every time I need to can something. And I have a bad back. So the Presto won.
After doing a price search I found that Amazon had the 23 quart Presto for $79 with free shipping! Quite the bargain! I put in my order, and waited ever so patiently for it to arrive. It took about 3 weeks thanks to the Snowmaggedon on the east coast. It arrived safe and sound and I was so eager to can that I could hardly sleep! After reading the instructions thoroughly and carefully about 5 times I felt confident enough to can. Kinda... My biggest fear being that I would blow up my house and the canner and my jars would explode and I would waste all my food. So I finally sucked it up and did it. It was much easier than I thought. Basic canning prep, then preparing the beans and filling the jars. After putting them in the canner it was pretty much just babysitting the thing so that it maintained the correct pressure. I did two batches and I am proud to say I didn't blow anything up. All of my jars look to have sealed properly and made the "pop" sound and everything. I can easily see myself canning everything in the house. EVERYTHING.
The dial gauge was easy to read and the instructions that came with the canner were clear and easy to follow. As for the cons, this pot has the capacity to double stack pint jars, but only came with one rack. The fact that the canner has gaskets doesn't bother me, but I wish I would have ordered an extra set, along with the extra rack with my pot. According to the guide they should be replaced every three years but I would hate to be in the middle of a canning session and have no replacement. So far, so good, it seems well made and I am hoping that it will last me a long time.