Pressure cookers are used to quickly and easily prepare meals using pressurized steam to heat food in a fraction of the time needed to cook in a regular pot, slow roaster or cooker. Pressure Canners on the other hand, tend to be larger cooking units that are primarily used for canning and preserving fresh goods. Both units can cook and prepare food, but with one large difference: pressure cookers cannot can and preserve foods. Pressure canners have the ability to do both canning and cooking. Confused yet? Allow us to explain further.
When water or other liquids reach a boiling point, steam is produced. With pressure cookers, the steam is trapped inside, which builds the pressure. Under this pressure, cooking temperatures are raised significantly higher than under normal conditions. Food is then cooked quickly and evenly.
Pressure cookers are sold as either stove top units or as an electric appliance. Meats, pasta sauces, fresh vegetables, rice, and other foods can be cooked 3 to 10 times faster with this unit than with regular cooking methods. Plus, faster cooking means money can be saved on energy bills, too!
Choose your pressure cooker based on the number of people you plan on serving. A 4- quart model is perfect for singles or two people to prepare a whole meal recipe. 6-quart models are the most popular size for families, while 8-quart models will accommodate a larger family.
Pressure canners are really just large pressure cookers. These units can also be used to cook various foods at an accelerated rate. Although canners can be used for cooking, they are primarily designed for canning.
Pressure canners larger than 16 quarts may may be a bit too bulky to use on a regular basis to cook. If you are going to be pressure-cooking using these units, it should be for a very large group of people. These units also come with canning racks that are specifically used for processing jars.
If you’re going to use on of these pressure canners it should be for a very large group of people. If your intent is to can and preserve your garden harvest or other foods, buy a pressure canner. Most consumers find that having two separate units, one to pressure can food and another to pressure cook food, is best. This will ensure you’re not dragging your large canner out every time to cook a small meal.