Sunday, February 24, 2013

Canning or Hot Water Bath - Fowlers v Canner - S/Hand Or Buy New?

So my next venture is to finally after putting it off for ages, get a Fowlers Vacola kit and preserve away (this is where the post began... it changes further down).  I can't wait.  What I don't know is what to look for in a secondhand kit or indivudual items.  I see some with plastic lids, some with enamel outers, some with stainless steel... what lids or jar sizes are most used and how many clips and things will I need and do they come in different sizes too?  I don't want to use an electric one... so a stove top one... I think, is what I prefer.

If you've already posted your wonder-experience with preserving, please link in the comments to what you use and what you think is the best to look for in second-hand.  I'm going secondhand for cost (and eco) reasons so would like to minimise purchasing 'oops' as much as possible please!  That's what I'm thinking so far...

Bring on the water bath, I was initially thinking.  Posts I was checking out to learn more before I start:
Slow Living Essentials: Fowlers bottled peaches (plus a severe case of preserving addiction).
Eat at Dixiebelle's: Preserving in a Fowler's Vacola Kit - Equipment, Resources, FAQ and Tips.

I have been looking forward to doing this for ages and my Nanna is keen as well. When I'm all organised, Nanna said we can have a rip snorter bottling session together.  Looking forward to it!

eta OR would you personally recommend brand new OR would you personally recommend a pressure canner (ie not a pressure cooker) rather than a water bather? 

And this is when I edited the post.  Because I did some more reading and read a bit more about low acid canning.  Now, I wasn't intending to try and hot water bath low acid stuff (no way), I was just going to only hot water bath higher acid stuff.  Then I read a bit more and started to lean towards a canner.  I don't want to can fish or meat or anything (just cannot quite get my head around that), but I'd like to use the canner to do jams, fruits and passata (or at least the last two).  So now I just have to try and make sense of everything that's out there and choose.

I am currently looking at the 'Presto' 23quart pressure canner.  But am really very open to (and hoping for!) suggestions and feedback.  Off to blog browse some more...


Anonymous said...

I have both a Fowlers Vacola water bath preserver and a pressure canner (which I never would use for pressure cooking as it's made of aluminium which is nasty for food contact). I too balk at canning meat although may try spag bol meat or a chilli just to try it. I will however be canning corn kernals in the next month and have already canned chickpeas, pumpkin soup (unblended) and chicken stock and plan to can kidney beans, baked beans, tomato soup and probably several other things. I am new to canning though but have had my FV unit about 18 months. For the record, the Ball Mason jar lids contain BPA so I use the FV jars for both and they are fine in the canner too. :) Last time I did big batch bottling I had the FV and the canner both water bath preserving. If you are planning to stick to bottled fruit, jams and tomatoes and anything else the FV book recommends then a FV is your cheapest option. I bought one as a gift for a friend for $40 with a few jars included whereas my friend and I both bought our canners from the USA and they were over $150 (I don't remember exactly I'm sorry). I love my FV and reckon they're a great starting point. You could always start there and if the bug bites (which I'm sure it will) then get a canner later on down the track (as I have).

Kristy said...

thanks heaps for the info. I keep thinking the canners are stainless even though I know they're al - so yes, you're right, I wouldn't be doing pressure cooking in them either.

I'll keep an eye out for your next 'canning' posts - or if you remember to, it would be great if you could pop a link in and I'll come see what you've been up to :)
thanks too re the Ball jars info. Scratch those from the list. What brand is your canner - the All American or the Presto? or something else?

I've seen some on Ebay but have no idea how to know what's what/quality of fittings etc so I thought I should stick to the main websites that seem to sell them, even if it means it comes from the US.

The other thing I was thinking about this morning was testing the pressure guage and I read somewhere about 'weights'... still doing some more reading, can you tell? lol Hope to have a bit of info by the time I decide.

At this stage I am heading towards the canner... I can't find many cheap FV secondhand - by the time I pay freight to here it's almost the same as a new canner, iykwim.
thanks heaps :) Off to see what you've been up to lately via the blog.

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