The Cottage Smallholder

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You can buy a pressure canner in the UK!

Summer runner beans

Summer runner beans

I’d been thinking about importing a pressure canner from America for some time. I already bottle/can fruit and tomatoes each year but a pressure canner would enable us to bottle lots of other home grown vegetables for use during the winter. And of course the thought of being able to can spaghetti sauce, cassolet, confit of duck, patès and pesto to name but a few delicacies would be amazing. No need to pay electricty for freezer space, everything nicely on view on our shelves.

Water bath canning and the oven method takes some time and is only safe for fruit and tomatoes (if you add salt and lemon juice to the latter). Pressure canning is fast – so it’s much cheaper and energy efficient. And it’s safe. No chance of poisoning Danny or the Min Pins. OK you have to pay for the jars – Kilner (made by Ravenswood) or Le Parfait style but once you have invested in the jars only the top seals need replacing. Le Parfait seals seem to be a bit more economical and the used rubber seals can be reused as airtight seals on jars of dry goods.

A lot of people in the UK would like to invest in a pressure canner but no one appeared to supply one. As it happens, back in mid July I got an email from Jean D pointing me to a website that sells a pressure cooker large enough for canning. I rushed off to take a peek. As they didn’t actually mention canning so I was a bit uncertain. However this afternoon I decided to investigate the Hawkins Big Boy 22 litre pressure cooker further. I discovered that in America this is sold as a pressure cooker/canner – check it out on! You will have to invest in a rack for the bottom if this is not included. But these can be picked up quite cheaply in the UK.

I also discovered that you can buy the Hawkins 22 Litre Big Boy on Amazon UK! Also an 18 litre one. The 22 litre Big Boy on Amazon UK is slightly cheaper than the one on the website that Jean D found.

There is a seller on Ebay UK that will send a Mirro canner to the UK – this seems like quitw a good deal as it includes the best rated canning book in America – The Blue Ball Book (see below). However if you import from the USA you not only pay for the international delivery but also the VAT when it comes into the country and sometimes extra Post Office charges too. I had to pay nearly £100 tax when I imported a collection of lead toys from America several years ago, which was a bit of a shock as it was on top of humungous delivery charges.

You do need to check that your stove is suitable for a pressure canner. Ours has a ceramic hob that is unsuitable for most canners. But we also have a small table top gas cooker and we’ll use this for canning.

There is also one final point to consider. And this is very important. During my research I found out the canner with the nifty circukar dial can be a bit of a nightmare. This was a bit of a dissapointment as I liked the idea of checking this guage from time to time. This type of guage has to be recalibrated regularly and apparently you have to stay with your eyes glued to the dial. This is fine if you are just dealing with vegetables but if you care canning a tasty chicken casserole this can take up to 90 mins. The ones with the simple top like the Hawkins Big Boy and the Mirro are strongly recommended by many Americans as they automatically control temperature. You can hear if something goes wrong.

I read a lot of American websites with regard to preserving – canning is BIG over there. If you are going to invest in a pressure canner you would be wise to buy a good, highly recommended book. Ball Blue Book of Preserving seems to be the ultimate bible. A canner is a big investment – this book would help you to guarantee that it’s put it through its paces.

  Leave a reply


  1. The Liquineer

    Sorry that it keeps bouncing- it may be getting picked up by my spam filter as I have had an updated version and it thinks stuff is spam from people I have had contect with before as well as for new contacts.

    Could you try sending a test e- mail without the pdf and I will check it arrives OK – I can then reply and we can go from there. Sorry Fiona as well!


  2. Sue Scott

    Oh dear, I’m adding to the hijacking but I would love a copy please Shaz. I’m thinking about small experiments with the pressure cooker I have that is somewhat ancient but working well.

  3. I have sent the pdf to those that requested but martin yours keeps bouncing back could you check the email you left for errors….thanks

    Sorry to have hijacked the thread Fiona 🙂

  4. HI Shaz….if there is any possibility I’d love a copy too. I live in France and my French neighbour has been instructing me in the art of bottling but my culinary French isn’t too good and I’m worried I may miss something vital and end up poisoning everyone!


  5. Tanya @ Lovely Greens

    Hi Shaz – could you send it to me too? 🙂 Have been looking for a PDF version online but no luck! My email is tanyasjunk at gmail dot com

  6. The Liquineer

    Thank you Shaz- yes I am happy to leave my e-mail which is It would be great to have a copy of the book.



  7. i can’t find where i found it but i have it in PDF format , if your happy to leave your email i can send it direct.

  8. The Liquineer

    Shaz- do you have a link to a download of the Ball Blue book- I have searched the intermet and the only free download requires you to give credit card details for a 14 day free trial to the site (much like do) which means you can be charged if you forget to cancel before the trial ends.I can’t see another link to a free download.

  9. I’ve been looking at importing a pressure canner too, and can’t believe no body is selling them in the UK.

    Mandi, ‘canning’ is what was more widely known as ‘bottling’ in the UK. It’s still huge in the US, as Fiona said, and for some reason canning is the term that’s stuck there. Everyone uses glass jars and rubber seals.
    Canning/bottling is also still popular in continental Europe, though their approach is somewhat more laissez faire than in the US…

  10. My husband reads your blog (and while I’d love to, I just don’t seem to find time to get to read anyone’s blogs lately!), and mentioned this post to me. I would strongly recommend against purchasing a pressure cooker for canning in. I don’t know for sure where I ran across this, so I can’t provide you with documentation, but I am pretty sure that a pressure cooker just doesn’t cut it for pressure canning. I have a fabulous “All American” pressure canner ( which gets used a lot in our household, and while I don’t know what the shipping would be, if you can’t get a heavy-duty canner in the UK, it’d be worth your investment to purchase one in the US to be shipped. In fact, I don’t even use my water-bath canner any longer; this one is cast aluminium which holds the heat really, really well, so you can do batches & batches of water-bath canning without the water cooling off in between.

    You might find the USDA National Center for Home Preservation website useful:

    I’m in Canada, but find there’s a lot more information on American sites, and have gleaned a few good recipes from the USDA site.

    Anyway, best of luck with the pressure canning; you won’t regret it once you get into it. We make stock year round, and it’s so nice having instant chili or sausage from a jar when we’re in a hurry.

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