Finally, after placing the order back in January, the pressure canner has arrived! Hooray!!
These are almost impossible to buy in Europe, but are really popular in the US, so I ordered mine from Lehman’s Store – famous for working alongside the Amish, and off grid specialists. The only problem was that because of the pandemic, the company that makes them were totally out of stock, so I had to wait until July for it to be shipped, and another two months for it to finally arrive here!
The one I’ve gone for is the All American 915 – after reading lots of reviews, I bought the one that everyone said would be a once in a lifetime purchase – and to be honest it’s likely to outlive me from the reviews!
So, why is this a game changer for us?
It means I can preserve and bottle pretty much anything – this size isn’t recommended for fish, but bottling fish doesn’t really appeal anyway so not a problem! But where we produce more veg than we can eat, it means that we can enjoy them all year round, rather than eating cabbage until we’re sick of the sight of it followed by none for 10 months!
In the Spring we had a complete glut of cabbages and kohlrabi, and this summer we could’ve filled the pool and had a swim in tomatoes! I ended up giving loads away so they didn’t go to waste, but the whole idea of this life is to be able to provide as much veg for ourselves as possible. There’s only so much tomato chutney you can make, and our freezer is too small to be able to preserve anything that way. A chest freezer would be great, but we don’t have enough electricity to run one. So this pressure canner will allow us to achieve our goal. There’ll be no more holding back on planting veg now!!!
They are similar to a pressure cooker, but definitely not interchangeable and a little more technical to use … you need to use a special weight on the top and altitude makes a difference – I will definitely need to do some thorough reading before I start using it – I have visions of blowing the house up at the moment 😱. I have a good stock of clip top jars as these cookers require proper preserving jars such as Le Parfait or Mason jars. If using the clip top jars then the seals need to be replaced after each use, and if using mason jars then the inner lid part needs replacing each time – but these are pretty cheap to buy. There is a distinct lack of these jars available in Spain, not sure why, and the ones that are available are a fortune. Luckily some friends were driving over from the UK so I bought a load at wholesale prices and they delivered them to me!
Bottling (or canning as it’s known in the US) is the only surefire way to remove the risk of botulism and safely preserve vegetables – I have done some tomatoes just in a water bath this summer and it can be a bit hit and miss as to whether the jars seal properly – everything gets very closely inspected before it’s eaten!
We’re at the end of the tomatoes and peppers from the garden now so there’s nothing that needs bottling urgently … not a bad thing as it will give me time to get thoroughly acquainted with it before I have a load to do … but I can’t wait to get started!!