Preserving Know-how/ Spring

Innovations in Canning Equipment

Are beginning to plan for the canning season? Part of preparing for the season is reviewing your canning equipment. In this article I am going to focus on what’s new in canners.

A Review of Acidity

In the canning world, a distinction is made between high and low acid foods. High acid foods are those that are naturally acidic or have been properly acidified so that the pH is 4.6 or lower. Most fruits and pickled products fall into this category. Low acid foods include meat, fish, poultry, game, and vegetables that have a pH higher than 4.6 on the pH scale. High acid food can be safely processed in either a water-bath or atmospheric steam canner. Low acid foods must be canner in a pressurized environment to ensure the temp reaches 240 degrees which is enough to kill the bacteria associated with botulism. Acidity determines the type of canners that will suit you.

High Acid Canning: Water-Bath and Atmospheric Steam Canner Innovations

While water-bath canning may be done in a large stock pot, people often have dedicated pots, or canners. Some years ago, Ball and FreshTech came out with an electric canner. The new iteration of the electric water-bath canner is a digital version that guides you through the proper steps of canning. Enter the ‘smart’ canner!

Many people are fans of atmospheric steam canners because they require only a small amount of water which makes them light-weight, water efficient and easy to use. Victorio introduced a steam canner with a dial gauge making it simple to assess when the steam is sufficient to begin the processing time. One of the limitations of steam canning is that the small amount of water can evaporate with longer processing times (tomatoes or pickled beets). Addressing this issue, Victorio has come out with a canner that is both an atmospheric steam and water-bath canner! The Harvest brand also produces one. If you’re in the market for a canner, this version is super useful and inexpensive.

Low Acid Canning: Pressure Canner Innovation

If you do pressure canning, you know there are two types of canners: Dial-gauge and weighted gauge. Both require careful attention to the pressure, altitude, and processing times. Companies like All American and Presto have many options from small to large.

One innovation is Presto’s introduction of a pressure canner suitable for use with induction stoves by adding a stainless steel-clad base. Since induction stoves are popular, this is an important addition to pressure canning.

Recently, Presto released a digital pressure canner it claims is USDA approved. In truth, the USDA doesn’t approve appliances, but it does approve of methods of processing. Presto is a reputable company with decades of experience with pressure canners. This canner guides you through each step of the canning process. It determines the venting time, automatically adjusts for altitude, holds the pressure at the desired level, and puts a timer on the cool-down phase. For folks who are nervous about pressure canning, this product could help ease your fears. Bonus, this canner can also be used as a water-bath canner!! The downside is it is very expensive.

More and more people are growing and preserving food at home. This trend is influencing product manufacturers who are introducing innovations unheard of in the past.


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