Canning is considered as one the healthiest ways to cook and preserve food. According to the U.S.D.A., canning method is the safest and easiest way to cook low acid foods. If you want to preserve fruits, meat, and seafood, home canning cookware should be readily available in your kitchen.
Here at CorrieCooks.com, we will review two of the leading manufacturers of home canning cookwares - Mirro and Presto.
Mirro Pressure Canners
The Mirro Aluminum Company has been manufacturing aluminum cookwares since 1909. For over a century, the Mirro company’s cookware sets became a staple of American home kitchens. According to the manufacturer, their pressur canner models are fast, economical, safe and easy to use.
Many buyers get confused with a home cooker and canner. A canner should hold at least 4-quart jars. Anything smaller is called a cooker. The interior capacity of most canners is at least 10-quarts because the smaller sizes can't fit the four jars comfortably if at all. On the other hand a home cooker is used for cooking meals, while a canner is used for canning processes.
Types and features
- 4-Quart Pessure Cooker
- 6-Quart Pressure Cooker
- 8-Quart Pressure Cooker
- 16-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
- 22-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
The Mirro Pressure Canner model has the following features and benefits:
- Quick even heating
- Rust proof & dishwasher safe
- Polished heavy gauge aluminum construction
- Cuts cooking time up to two-thirds
- Pressure monitoring device built into handle
- Locking handle safety feature prevents opening under pressure
- Includes overpressure release valve and gasket release window for safety
- Pressure control clearly identifies when proper pressure has been reached
Only the 16-quart and the 22-quart models can be used for home canning. The other models are best used as home cooker.
Presto Pressure Canners
National Presto Industries has been manufacturing their Presto pressure canner line for more than 50 years. As such, the manufacturer also takes pride in being one of the leading makers of quality pressure canners and seeks the nod of the U.S.D.A in terms of canning procedures.
Types and Features
The Presto pressure canner has the following main features:
- Designed for easy, confident home pressure canning.
- Deluxe pressure dial gauge registers the complete range of processing pressures.
- Doubles as a boiling-water canner for preserving fruits, jams, jellies, pickles, and salsa in pint and half-pint jars.
- Special air vent/cover lock allows pressure to build only when the cover is closed properly and prevents the cover from being opened until pressure has safely dropped. It also gives a visual indication of pressure inside the canner.
- Constructed of warp-resistant heavy-gauge aluminum for fast, even heating.
- Includes canning rack and complete 76-page instruction and recipe book.
- Works on electric, smooth-top, and gas ranges.
- Mason Jar Capacity for 16-quart pressure canner: 12 Half-Pints, 10 Pints, 7 Quarts
- Mason Jar Capacity for 23-quart pressure canner: 24 Half-Pints, 20 Pints, 7 Quarts
There are some restrictions on the use of Presto pressure canners:
- Do not use pressure canner on an outdoor LP gas burner or gas range over 12,000 BTU’s
- Misuse may result in damage to the pressure canner and/or property damage and personal injury
Mirro Pressure Canner pros
- Excessive pressure is released automatically by the side gasket.
- The lid locks tightly thus preventing cases of the lid flying off when pressure is high on the inside.
- The heavy-gauge aluminum material ensures uniform heating of the cooker and makes pressure build-up with ease.
Mirro Preasure Canner cons
- The cooker uses a gasket for pressure release. Gaskets are disadvantageous since they can fly loose or sometimes they may not fit securely on their spot thus impacting on whether you build pressure or not.
- Small holding capacity.
Presto Pressure Canner pros
- Constructed of heavy gauge aluminum which is fast for cooking
- Doubles as a boiling water canner as well as a food preserver
- Large capacity pressure cooker
Presto Pressure Canner cons
- Limited sizes of pressure canners. The Presto line has only two models.
Things to consider when buying a pressure canner
Most pressure canners are made from aluminum or in some cases some smaller models are made of stainless steel. Either type has advantages and disadvantages. Aluminum steel us a great conductor of heat. It means you get fast and even heating. Also, this material is lightweight. You can easily use it on glasstop and flat ranges. An ideal product for home canning.
Aluminum is actually a lot better for canning because it provides the jars a more stable environment to cook in but it is not as good for directly cooking meals in. This is because aluminum can alter the taste of your food, especially highly acidic foods. Most pressure cookers (except the inexpensive ones) tend to be made of stainless steel because it's better for direct food contact.
Another reason aluminum canners are so heavy is because aluminum is a less durable metal than steel so cheaper aluminum canners may be thinner and can wear out faster in time. After a few years of heavy use you might need to replace a cheaper aluminum canner.
Mirro and Presto pressure canners however are both made of heavy-gauge aluminum steel which are built to last a long time under heavy use. Both brands also claim that they use rust-proof aluminum to extend the usage of their pressure canners.
Pressure canners come in different sizes because different homes have varying needs. It is important that you know your specific requirements to get the most out of your pressure canner investment. Ideal for home use are 16-quart to 23-quart pressure canners. Any product smaller than 14 quarts should be used as a cooker only and never as a home canning equipment
Also, it is important to follow prescribed canning capacity for each pressure canner. By doing so, you will be sure that each jar is canned correctly and food is preserved properly. Some users had been complaining that their jars got broken only to find out that they did not follow the instruction manual and canning capacity.
Finally, it all boils down to your budget. You can compare prices and product features. Mirro and Presto brands have affordable models. However, keep in mind that the smaller and cheaper models of Mirro are for home cooking only.
When shopping for pressure canners, look for quality, reliable and easy to use products. Pressure canners are kitchen investments. Owning a good pressure canner can help you preserve fresh vegetables, fruits, meat and fish. This will be good for your health because home canned food is low acid and has no additives.
Make sure that you read and understand the instructions and safety precautions indicated in the user’s manual. This will keep you and your family from accidents. Finally, know your short-term and long-term home canning needs in order to pick the most suitable pressure canner.