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What Size All-American Pressure Canner Should I Buy?

16 years ago

I used to have a Mirro 12-quart that finally bit the dust. Recently, I realized the bottom was very warped and the canner was wobbling on the stove! I can't recall doing anything wrong as I have been successfully pressure canning since 2004, but it was, nevertheless, hopelessly warped. Sadly, into the trash it went.

Now I am going to buy an All-American canner. But I can't decide if I should get the 15.5-quart or the 21.5-quart model.

I usually can 8 pints at a time, but I'm thinking that will change as I would like to plant green beans in the spring, and then I could easily fill the canner up with pints. Also, I'm thinking about making soups, stew, and pork and beans in tomato sauce in larger quantities.

If I only do 8 or 9 pints, should I put them all on the bottom rack or would it be better to use both racks and have more steam circulating around the jars? Or does that make any difference?

I believe a smaller canner would come up to pressure quicker and would probably drop down to 0 pressure quicker. Is this a problem as far as the total processing time?

All the recipes I'm using are from the "Ball Blue Book" 2004 edition. It doesn't really discuss the processing times being different in different size canners, so I'm just wondering if it would somehow be a problem to only can 8 or 9 pints in a 21-quart canner, having so much extra space inside.

Just for more information, I always follow canning steps to the letter - at least 3 quarts of water in the canner, venting for 10 minutes, timing carefully, letting the pressure drop completely before opening, etc. I need to can at 15 pounds of pressure as my altitude is 1,450 feet. I never have sealing failures or spoilage.

Any comments and opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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