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Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Good Investment

I mentioned in my last post that I had been canning everything I could. That's true and if you have been reading my stuff all along, you know that I'm big on home canning. Well I've now taken that big thing to new heights. I got on Greedbay and purchased "the Big Kahuna", a 41qt. pressure canner. Technically it's a portable autoclave by D.A. Kadan, but don't let that fool you. The only difference I can tell between it and the All-American 941 pressure canner is two manual vents instead of a single weight.

My test run with it used a batch of 19 quarts of beef stew. From the picture you can see that I used two burners on a glass top stove, which is a no-no according to the stove manufacture. The weight of the canner is supposed to be too much for the glass top. I've never had any problems canning on a glass top stove, but your mileage may vary.
Since it has manual steam vents rather than a weight, you have to be very careful to completely vent the canner one time when it first reaches pressure. Supposedly, this allows the entire volume to reach the temperature of the steam, IE no cool spots in the top of the canner. Not something that I get wound up about with a weighted release valve, but with the manual, I could see how it could be a real issue.

The second thing is that it is a MANUAL steam release. If you don't relieve the pressure when it gets too high, there is a real danger of turning the canner into a bomb. The nice thing is that you can order the parts to convert it from manual to automatic. I just haven't wanted to part with the extra cash just yet to do that.

The long and the short of it is that instead of it taking me 6+ hours to can that batch of stew, I only needed just under two hours. I'll call that a good investment.



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