The Presto 23 quart pressure canner and cooker packs quite a punch for a modest sum. Presto makes good quality, dependable canners and the the latest model of the 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker is no exception. This model serves easily as both a canner and pressure cooker. You might remember that this is the canner I have owned and used extensively for about 10 years. You can see it in use in my canning pork article. The pictures below are of my 10 year old model. It was the best way to show you things you cannot see when you are shopping online. You can see the canner on Amazon here.
- 1 Why Should I Get A 23 Quart Presto Pressure Canner?
- 2 Components
- 3 How do I use the Presto Pressure Canner?
- 4 About Presto The Company
- 5 Final Thoughts On The Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
- 6 Coming up
Why Should I Get A 23 Quart Presto Pressure Canner?
The Presto 23 quart pressure canner is simple and straightforward to use. It is not expensive yet it is durable and it offers a good user experience. The aluminum is dubbed as heavy-gauge, but in my comparisons there are other models made of thicker aluminum. Presto’s thinner aluminum is not necessarily a draw-back. The lighter weight of this canner makes it perfect for those that might struggle with a heavier unit. It is still quite sturdy as it has to be able to withstand pressure. This canner is easily used on all kinds of stoves — gas, smooth top electric, camp stove or even our beloved rocket stoves.
It’s very easy to use as a cooker or as a canner. I’ve enjoyed many meals with it as a cooker and only recently tried canning. It is so easy to operate that I can’t believe that I had not used it to can until this year.
The Pesto comes in two sizes, 16 and 23 quarts. I chose the 23 quart because the capacity provides ample room for a large batch of jars to be processed at once.I usually process 16 wide mouth pint jars at a time. The 16 quart canner reduces your canning capacity nearly in half as you don’t have the ability to use a rack and stack within the unit. For pressure cooking, this model easily accommodates roasts and other large cuts of meat. The meat is cooked quickly and retains its juices when pressure cooked. I value efficiency, and the Presto 23 quart canner provides!
Some people will say this is heresy but I’ve put two frozen and cut up slabs of ribs in it and had them juicy and ready to grill in about an hour. Don’t worry, the ribs weren’t boiled. I just put a little bit of water in there to steam them. The bottom ones end up boiling in their own juice, which happens when you braise anyway. Using the canner as a cooker greatly sped my freezer to table time without sacrificing flavor.
The Lid Works Super Fast and Easy
Putting the lid on the Presto Canner is fast and easier than the All American Canner. The All American has several clamps that have to be screwed down. To seal this canner it’s quite simple. You see the arrow on the handle there? There is another arrow on the lid. You put the lid on the canner just off set fo arrow and twist. This twist motion engages the inner spokes to connect and create a strong seal.
In the picture, you can see the seal ring around the components. The ring is removable for cleaning as is the other parts. Inside the ring, from left to right: two different weights, the dial gauge and the hardware to go with it, the over pressure plug and the lock. One drawback of this canner is the rubber parts will need to be replaced. It’s not a big drawback though. I’ve never replaced any of these components in the 10 years that I’ve owned the canner. I’m not sure how long they will last. I purchased one of the weights later and I’ll talk more about that below.
A search on Amazon for “Presto Pressure Canner,” not only brings up both of their canners, it also brings up all of these parts. This includes the extra weight and extra racks that I talk about below.
A dial gauge showing up to 20 PSI is also a component of this canner. 20 PSI is higher than you would can at but the gauge will tell you if your pressure is climbing for some reason. A lot of foods are canned 10 psi at sea level or nearby. I’ll talk about how that is achieved below.
The pressure relief plug will pop out and release excess steam if needed. In 10 years of operation, mine has never popped out and I would not expect yours to either. It’s just there as a last resort, for your safety. It is easily pushed in to remove for cleaning.
The lock prevents you from opening the canner when it is under pressure. As you can see, Presto has your safety covered in several ways here.
The standard model comes with a 15 pound weight. Obviously it doesn’t actually weigh 15 pounds. The weight weighs 15 pounds per square inch of surface area that rests on the vent pipe. The 15 pound weight is the one to the right in the picture. It allows you to bring your canner up to 15 psi and hold it there. Once it gets to that pressure, steam lifts it and it vents out the vent pipe. When you are pressure cooking, this is the weight you will primarily use. It makes for the fastest cooking.
The instruction booklet says you can achieve lower pressures by adjusting your stove. I found this to be next to impossible but fortunately, there is a solution.
If you plan to can, I highly recommend obtaining a variable weight to obtain more control over your pressure for canning. On the left of the picture, you can see the variable weight that I purchased here. It consistes of a 5 pound weight that you can slide two 5 pound rings on. So it allows you to achieve 5, 10, or 15 pounds of pressure.
Here is the underside of one of those weights. That pin goes inside the vent pip and is what is pushed up with the steam pressure. That’s how such a small weight achieves 15 pounds per square inch of pressure. It doesn’t have a lot of square inches.
Here you can see the vent pipe where the weight sits
The canner comes with a rack to keep the jars off the bottom of the canner. For stacking the jars within the pot, you can buy a second rack or just stack jar on jar. I decided to get the second rack for mine. I’ve stacked them in this picture for you, so you can see that outside the pot. As of this posting one of the options is a combo that comes with a 2nd rack.
Here you can see the lock on the lid. The lock fits loosely and rides up and down in it’s slot. When the pressure comes up, the lock pops up.
When the lock pop ups it engages this bracket and prevents you from being able to twist off the lid. When the pressure drops, the lock falls and lets go of the bracket.
How do I use the Presto Pressure Canner?
Rational Preparedness included a simple guide to canning in a previous article here. Canning can be a fun and easy activity once you learn the steps. The purpose of the guide is to let people who are new to canning understand what is involved and just how easy it is. Beyond that:
We have good news! Your canner comes with a 76 page booklet that very thoroughly answers this question. The first step to using any new pressure canner is to read this instruction manual. It not only tells you how to operate the canner safely, it tells you the cooking times for various types of foods. Cooking times vary by pressure cooker and you can use this guide as a way to always know how long to cook something.
If you want to use the canner for canning, there are instructions for that in the booklet too. I purchased this ball canning book that you see in every store that sells anything to do with canning. It’s a great book and I recommend it. When I searched Amazon to get that link, I discovered dozens of similar books. You always want to follow key instructions in a reputable canning recipe book because these are more than just recipes. They are instructions for how to make sure every last living thing in that canning jar is dead, before you put it on the shelf. It’s important but not complicated.
About Presto The Company
Presto has been in business since 1905. They were founded in Wisconsin. While they have expanded their product line to include a wide range of small appliances, it all started with industrial pressure canners. Like any older company, they have a fascinating history, (if you are into that kind of thing). Very briefly, Presto was a maker of industrial pressure canners. It was preparing to make home based pressure canners in 1915. In 1917, the Department of Agriculture determined that pressure canning was the only safe way to can meats and low acid veggies. Presto was poised to be a success and they were. Although it is a US company this canner is currently being made in China. Read the full story here.
Final Thoughts On The Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker
I am happy with my Presto 23 quart pressure canner. For a budget conscious buyer, this canner is a great value in the entry level price range. At 23 quarts you can pressure can a large batch all at once cutting down on your time and fuel costs. I’ve used mine mostly for cooking but have recently gotten into canning. I was floored with how easy it was. It’s a funny thing about doing new things. Sometimes they are easier than you might guess. My pantry now has boxes filled with jars that contain high quality safely processed foods due to this mighty machine.
Presto knows what they are doing and don’t they appear to be going away any time soon. Replacement parts, if needed, are easy to obtain from the Presto website or Amazon. The only minor issue I have had with it, is that it seems to leak a bit of steam before pressure builds and it locks down.
If you want to see what other buyers are saying about the Presto Canner, it has 3,425 reviews on Amazon, as of this moment. They have rated it 4.7 out of 5 stars.
You should buy this canner if you like the easy close lid and you want to save money over buying an All American Canner.
I will be checking out a few more canners over the coming weeks. I might just learn to love a new pressure canner. Up next is the T-fal 22-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker (you can check it out on Amazon here if you are eager) followed by the highly regarded All American 30-Quart Pressure Cooker Canner(as seen here). We shall see if the All American can live up to all the hype!