Last year we retired our Presto canner and upgraded to the All American canner, model 930. Our little Presto was a low end unit we bought at Walmart and it served us well. That little Presto just wasn’t able to keep up with the amount of food we needed to put in our pantry. As a result we needed to upgrade.
After watching lots of YouTube videos and reading more than a few blogs we decided on the All American model 930. It is a 30 quart unit that can hold 19 pints or 14 quarts jars. Canning 14 quarts of those green beans put a big dent in what we have picked for the day.
One good canning session with our All American model 930 would have required 2 sessions with our old Presto. While the 930 isn’t the largest model available, yet it still cut our time canning in half. Additionally, the All American has a pressure gauge and is made in America.
When we have a lot of canning to do we set up our canner outside.
Can you use a pressure canner outside of your gardening season?
Absolutely you can. If you catch a great bulk sale on meats, vegetables or anything else which you can pressure cook and add it to your pantry.
In addition to what you grow or raise at home, local stores will put items on clearance or have a bargain on items like beans. Use that All American canner, and get it added to your pantry. Watch your local grocery stores for really great sales. If you keep looking you can probably find enough sales to use your canner often. Good luck and happy canning
A pressure canner like our All American is an invaluable tool for the self reliant gardener. When we have a large quantity of vegetables, like this mess of green beans, to can you’ll find our canning operation moved outdoors. To do this inside occupies the stove for the day and makes the AC work over time to remove all that extra heat and humidity coming off that pressure canner.
We setup our pressure canner is setup right outside the back door to allow us to sit inside enjoying the comfort of the AC while keeping an eye on the pressure gauge and the fire. This makes it possible to continue our daily routine and still prepare meals in the kitchen.
Using a pressure canner on windy days
On especially windy days we do have to set up a wind block. A strong wind pushes the flame to one side of the pressure canner and makes controlling the temperature and pressure more challenging. The wind makes it harder to get the canner up to operating temperature, that makes for a longer day of canning. A strong wind will also cause you to burn more propane.
If its a windy day and you’ve got to put food in the pantry you can setup a wind break. A crude frame with some sheet metal or even scrap lumber can be fashioned into a functional wind break
I had this camp stove out already but have also used a single burner fish/turkey fryer to run our All American pressure cooker. It’s closer to the ground and actually makes it easier to reach inside the pressure cooker to load it or pull out the finished product. The single burner is about half the cost of this two burner stove I’ve got in the picture below.
It’s always an exciting time when we bring in our first big batch of Kentucky pole beans for the year. We eat the small batches in the early part of the gardening season. When those pole beans are picked in mass we break out the pressure canner.
We’ve had several smaller batches of green beans from our garden so far this year that we’ve enjoyed as part of various meals. As you can see below, our pole beans have really begun to come on strong and it’s time to break out the pressure canner and start putting it in the pantry.
This is our first year growing a Kentucky pole bean. Last year we grew bush bean for the first time with the Mittleider gardening method. The sheer amount of beans we grew in a thirty foot row absolutely overwhelmed us. Our little Presto canner had to be upgraded to handle the 60 plus pints we harvested each week.
After spending so much time bent over that row of bush beans we decided to try growing vertically this year with a pole bean variety. My back is so very grateful!
Canning great northern beans is something new we have been doing. Allow me to explain why Dry beans are always a great item to have in your pantry. They have lots of protein, are inexpensive and have a great shelf life if stored properly. The problem with dry beans is they amount of time it requires to get them from dry bean to ready to eat. By canning them we are able to have them on the table in a pinch.
How we canned our beans
We followed a no soak method that we found in a YouTube video made by a woman named Starry Hilder. (I will include the video below.). In pint jars we added a heaping half cup of beans and added hot water. After sealing up the jars they went into our canner. As you can see in the picture they expanded quite a bit once the process is complete. We will make up labels and get them into the pantry.
Canning great northern beans for our pantry
Starry’s no soak method was super simple and we will do more beans of a different variety soon.
What will you need to do this yourself?
For starters, you will need a pressure cooker. Walmart carries an inexpensive model that will work. We started with one and used it for years. It is a small unit and can only do small batches.
Today we decided to put up some butter in pint sized jars. During our last trip to Costco we picked up 8 pounds of unsalted butter to add to our pantry. There are lots and lots of opinions on canning butter, so please look into it extensively and form your own opinion before you do it. We sterilized all our jars and lids and re-pasteurized our already previously pasteurized butter during this process.
After the butter is in jars with the kids secured you will need to frequently shake the jars as the contents will separate. You can see the separation in the second picture below. We were shaking to combine the contents every 10-15 minutes for several hours. We continued to shake until the color was returning to normal. This morning, as seen in the last picture, the butter has solidified and has its usual appearance. The 8 pounds of butter yielded 10 full pints. In the future I hope to work out how much butter is required to fill an even 12 pints.
Our quest to be self reliant and grow a healthy garden