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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 amazon.com! 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.


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80 Comments

  1. Randal Oulton

    Hawkins says it doesn’t support the use of its pressure cooker as a pressure canner. The reasoning is a bit muddled, but still:

    “The Hawkins pressure cooker is not suitable for canning. It is possible to use this pressure cooker for canning with some modification, which is by substituting the standard 15 lb vent weight (which is supplied with this cooker) with a 10 lb vent weight. However, we have stopped manufacturing 10 lb vent weights several years ago and hence our pressure cookers cannot be used for canning. We do not recommend that you search in the market for other vent weights to fit our cooker since our vent weights are precisely engineered to work with our pressure cookers. Further, in our own trials we have found that our pressure cookers cannot be used as pressure canners at altitudes more than 1,000 feet where more than 10 lb of pressure is required for canning low-acid foods such as meat, poultry, fish and virtually all vegetables. Hence we do not recommend that our pressure cookers be used for canning.” — Hawkins Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed  May 2016 at https://www.hawkinscookers.com/11.0.faq.aspx

  2. Chris

    The Hawkins 22 Litre Big Boy is NOT a pressure canner seriously you are giving out potentially dangerous information. I just emailed Hawkins about the subject and this is the response I got:
    Dear Mr xxxxxxx
    Thank you for your interest in our products.
    In answer to your question; None of our pressure cookers are suitable for pressure canning and unfortunately we do not currently produce a pressure canner.

  3. Jane Manby

    the problem with using American cookbooks is the weight and liquid difference which makes a big difference to the pressure canning time. for example, an American pint is 16 fluid ounces a British pint is 20 fluid ounces 20% more. A gallon is the same in words i.e 8 pints to the gallon but 8 US pints is 128 fluid ounces but 8 UK pints is 160 fluid ounces 32 fluid ounces more which is 2 pints difference, which will seriously mess with the recipe ingredient quantities, the number and size of jars and canning times. So if you fallow an American recipe to fill 8-pint jars then in the UK you will only fill 6. For example, American canning calls for a pint jar of meat product to be pressure canned for 75mins and a quart jar for 90 mins. If you use a jar size in between the pint and quart you can as for the above size so a UK pint of meat product would need canning for 90 mins if using American instructions.

    • Melissa Lewis

      Canning with Canadian resource materials might be better? They use ml so it wouldn’t be as confusing

      • I Do not mean to be rude that is not my intent but like the post after mine that points out the recomended canner is not a canner and thus dangerous to use. The canning instructions in the book that this site recomends which is based on US measurment could result in botulism espesially if canning meats. So while the advice to use Canadian recipes is good the complete failure of this author to understand that the importance of weight and canning times is ultra important to safe canning. Like the poster after me notes the pressure canner is not just wrong it is dangerous as is the recomendation to use the US canning book. I am an experienced canner and anyone writing an article giving advice on anything should be checking the info especially if as a result of it you could get sick and die.

    • Such good observation – I’m going to have to convert my book – thanks v much!

      • Mike Reid

        I’d very much like to learn all about canning and to preserve my home grown veggies. There’s almost zero equipment and advice in the UK. So so frustrating.
        If anyone would like to share their knowledge or actually knows where in the UK that sells proper canners, please look me up on Facebook.

  4. Paul Walton

    I’ve ordered the “All American” 930 as a surprise Christmas gift for my wife – ordered from the US so it’s due to arrive in the next couple of days. Knowing my wife, she’ll either LOVE IT or HATE ME for buying such an “out there” gift. We’ve never canned before but, after watching lots of YouTube videos about ladies in the US who rave about them (particularly the All American canners), I thought it would be the sort of thing that my wife would like. Yeah, I know – it’s dangerous for men to presume what a woman might like for Christmas, but, I’m committed now!
    Anyway, I came across this video on YouTube this morning (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnxAdzcf384&list=LLIsQ_z2syxMF7feqmNm415w ) and it seems to be full of a lot of good advice, particularly the idea of having a small and a large canner. If I’d seen this before placing the order, I might have bought a smaller one – just so she could “dip her toe in” without going for a larger model, then possibly, going for the 941 later.

    • Hi Paul how much did that end up costing with import+delivery etc?

      Many Thanks

      Russel Sarrets

    • hannah Beute

      Did your wife like the Xmas gift? How do I get hold of a canner like you did? If she didn’t want it would you consider selling it? ?

  5. Eolwaen

    i imported the 41.5 quart {us quarts are near as dammit a litre] ‘all american canner’ from a vendor on ebay about 5 years ago. it came from the states and all in was about £500. i must have got lucky because i didn’t pay any vat. It paid for itselt within a couple of years at most. The usda canning and preserving book is good,[from ebay] as is the ball book, [again ebay] but best of all are the ladies, and some gents, who can on youtube.
    regards,
    eolwaen

  6. nicnak

    the advert states that they are suitabe for canning by this they mean water bath canning not pressure canning, a pressure cooker doesnt hold the pressure for consistantly long enough to kill off all the bacteria and germs in the products such as meat and chicken,

  7. Barbara

    Do you think one can use a pressure canner on an AGA boiling plate or simmering plate. I am very keen to get a pressure canner.

    • eolwaen

      I use my all american 941 on an oil fired rayburn. Excelent results but slow. I now have a two ring propane burner set up for canning.
      regards,
      eolwaen

  8. Hi, do you still have this in stock? if so? what are the delivery times? Really need one asap! thanks. susie

  9. for those wanting to buy, just do not confuse pressure canner with pressure cooker, they are different beasts!

  10. mike hughes

    Hi Just listed one of these on ebay All American Model 925 hope this helps

    • I can’t find it on ebay.. has it sold? If not I am very interested in purchasing 🙂

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