Most of us are more familiar with pressure cookers than pressure canners, but are these two terms the same product?
You may be confused regarding the difference between a pressure cooker and a pressure canner, as they work on similar basic principles and also the name sounds similar.
But are pressure cookers and pressure canners really the same product?
Definitely not because these two kitchen appliances have remarkable differences and each one is used for different cooking purposes.
So, what are the differences between these two kitchen appliances? Let’s know the details.
What Is A Pressure Cooker?
A pressure cooker is a cooking appliance that cooks food by trapping steam in a tightly sealed pot with extreme pressure.
This cooking apparatus cooks food much faster comparatively than traditional cookers do.
A pressure cooker is mainly used to cook those food items including meats, legumes, and grains that are difficult to cook in a short period and require higher temperatures to cook.
Benefits of Pressure Cooker
The main benefits of using a pressure cooker are faster cooking times, increased flavor and tenderness, and energy efficiency. A pressure cooker is also versatile, as it can be used for a variety of cooking methods, such as braising, stewing, and steaming.
What Is A Pressure Canner?
A pressure canner is a cooking apparatus that’s used to cook low-acid foods including meat, fish, and vegetables so that they can be preserved in a canning jar for future use.
With a pressure cooker, you can cook food very quickly and effectively but for canning purposes, you must use the best pressure canner.
Benefits of Pressure Canners
The main benefits of using a pressure canner are the ability to safely preserve low-acid foods, such as meats and vegetables, and the ability to store these foods for long periods of time without refrigeration. Canning also allows you to control the ingredients and avoid additives and preservatives commonly found in store-bought canned foods.
The Difference Between Pressure Cooker and Pressure Canner
There is a difference of appearance between a pressure cooker and a pressure canner that you may notice looking at the pictures.
A pressure cooker is simply designed with a locking lid, vent pipe, pressure regulator, cover handle, etc.
On the other hand, a pressure canner has a lot of gadgets like a locking lid, dial gauge, weighted gauge, excess pressure lid plug, a vent cover lock, a vent pipe airtight seal, and more.
So, a pressure cooker is designed with more gadgets and gauges compared to a pressure canner.
If you notice the size of these two kitchen appliances then you can find that pressure cookers come with 4 to 10 quarts of a variety of sizes and pressure canners come with 16 to 23 quarts of a variety of sizes.
So, the size of a pressure canner is quite larger compared to the size of a pressure cooker.
- Cooking Purpose
The cooking purpose of these two kitchen apparatuses is completely different and this is the main cause of why people use a pressure cooker or pressure canner.
The main cooking purpose of a pressure cooker is to cook a steam roast, boil, stew, brown, steam, poach, braise, or roast food, as well an electric pressure cooker like an instant pot is also used to make homemade yogurt and cheesecakes as well.
On the other hand, a pressure canner is used to cook vegetables, stews, soups, meats, seafood, poultry, and other low-acid foods.
Low-acid foods have a pH over 4.6 and are most prone to harmful microorganisms and a pressure canner cooks these foods at a higher temperature to kill off their microorganisms.
So, you can easily preserve these cooking foods for future use in a can to avoid the danger of botulism.
The authorities like USDA, National Center for Home Food Preservation, and Jarden Corporation didn’t recommend and guarantee safe processes for canning in pressure cookers as they are small in size and aren’t capable of canning low-acid foods.
Besides, the pressure cookers are not capable of cooking foods at a required safety temp of 240 degrees F to kill off the microorganisms of the low-acid foods as well as they can’t also adjust stable enough pressure levels as a pressure can.
So, the safe recommendation by most of the authorities for cooking and canning low-acid foods is to use a pressure canner.
So, What’s The Main Difference?
If you’re a fan of canning foods like fruits and vegetables, then you must cook these foods using a water bath method in a pressure canner so that you cooking foods don’t have any harmful microorganisms.
Because a pressure cooker can never reach its cooking temp above 212 degrees F using the water bath method of canning the temperature and this is the main difference between the pressure canner and pressure cooker.
Besides, a pressure canner is one-third larger than a pressure cooker and is designed with a pressure gauge that a pressure cooker doesn’t have.
Why a Pressure Cooker Can’t Can Food?
A pressure cooker is not mainly designed for canning foods because canning foods require monitoring pressure and temperature accurately.
In the case of pressure cooking, pressure impacts more but not the temperature that is needed mostly for canning.
A pressure cooker can reach the required pressure for canning foods but can’t ensure the required temperature because canning foods require a water bath method of cooking that a pressure cooker can’t reach above 212 degrees Fahrenheit temp.
So, cooking foods in a pressure cooker, there is no guarantee of canning taking place accurately as well as killing off all the harmful bacteria as well.
That’s why you can’t use a pressure cooker to can food.
Why the Pressure Canner Isn’t Meant to Cook Food?
A pressure canner is designed with a dial gauge or weight gauge so that it can be monitored the inside pressure.
Pressure canning can increase its heating temp up to 250° Fahrenheit or more and sustain that temp for a longer period of time with very few temp fluctuations.
This is the main working mechanism of a pressure canner that kills harmful fungi and bacteria of low-acid foods.
That’s why the pressure canner isn’t meant to cook food, it’s basically meant to can food in a reliable way without the risk of botulism.
Are There Any Pressure Cookers and Canners That Can be Used Interchangeably?
To truly say, you can’t use pressure canners interchangeably with pressure cookers as these two kitchen appliances have different mechanisms to cook and have completely different functions.
Are Pressure Cookers/Canners Safe to Use?
Both pressure cookers and pressure canners require proper usage and maintenance to ensure safety. When using a pressure cooker, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure the pressure release valve is functioning properly. It is also recommended to never open the lid while the pressure cooker is still under pressure.
For a pressure canner, it is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for canning low-acid foods. This includes using the correct amount of water, monitoring the pressure and temperature, and allowing enough cooling time before opening the lid. It is also important to regularly check the canner for any cracks or damage to ensure its safe usage.
Fortunately, today’s pressure cookers and canners come with built-in safety features.
So, if you cook foods following the manufacturer’s safety precautions properly, then you can use these kitchen appliances without any risk.
Q: Can a pressure cooker be used for canning?
A: No, a pressure cooker is not suitable for canning because it is not designed to safely preserve low-acid foods. Canning requires a specific temperature and pressure to kill off bacteria, yeast, and mold, and a pressure cooker may not reach the necessary temperature to properly preserve the food.
It is recommended to use a pressure canner specifically designed for the safe canning of low-acid foods.
Q: How do these appliances work?
A: A pressure cooker works by trapping steam inside the pot, which creates pressure that raises the boiling point of water. The higher temperature allows food to cook faster and retain more moisture, resulting in tender and flavorful dishes. The pressure inside the pot is regulated by a pressure release valve, which prevents the pressure from becoming too high.
A pressure canner works similarly to a pressure cooker, but with a few key differences. It is designed to hold jars of food and is typically larger to accommodate this. During the canning process, the jars are placed inside the canner, which is then sealed tight to trap steam and build up pressure.
The increased pressure and temperature created by the steam kill off any bacteria, yeast, or mold that may cause spoilage and helps to preserve the food.
Q: Can both pressure cookers and pressure canners be used on all stovetops?
A: Both pressure cookers and pressure canners are available in stovetop and electric models, but not all stovetops are compatible with either type of appliance. It is important to check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure that the appliance is compatible with your stovetop. Some pressure cookers and pressure canners may only work on specific types of stovetops, such as gas or electric.
In fact, pressure canners and pressure cookers are not the same things as most people think.
As you understood in the meantime, they have larger differences between cooking mechanisms as well.
So, according to your cooking purposes, you should select a pressure cooker or a pressure canner.
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