Customer Review

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than everyone said, and a couple of details to add, January 22, 2012
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This review is from: All American 921 21-1/2-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner (Kitchen)
When I sat down to write this review, I wondered what I could possibly add to the other five star reviews? Many are funny and insightful and helpful. I read a lot of them and was thereby swayed to purchase this particular pressure canner over some other seemingly good ones both on Amazon and in local retail instant gratification stores, others that were MUCH less expensive and also had lots of good reviews; but boy am I glad I sprung for THIS one... well, the Birthday Bunny sprung for this one and it's all I wanted and more than I even knew I needed!

Thanks to the reviewer who said it screams "industrial strength" and who also pointed out that gaskets are endless problems in a way-too-complicated-already life.

Thanks for the humor to the reviewer who said: "If you are considering buying any other canner.... send me the money and I'll throw it away for you...", LOL! I agree wholeheartedly.

Thanks to the reviewer who said: "This baby can take 2 frozen rabbits from the freezer to the dinner table in less than an hour..." I did just that with a couple of frozen chickens for *Emergency OMG The Flu Has Struck!* chicken soup last night. 45 minutes til good enough to get off the bones chicken (an hour would have had them dinner table ready, just as the reviewer said) 2 hours from scratch and I had that Nutrition Penicillin ready to go!

Thanks to the reviewer who said: "Sure, you could buy cheaper ones, but I wouldn't put my trust in them. Especially if you have children. I'd go to the moon in this thing..." for the humor and lots of safety information and protocols.

Lots of wonderful reviewers (too many to list) took the time to outline many safety precautions and usage instructions I found very helpful in the beginning. Thanks to them all (you KNOW who you ARE and I thank you for your time); I was very uneasy about using this, my first pressure canner, after hearing lots of apocryphal tales to children in my youth about them blowing up and injuring people and scaring the horses and whatnot. All the reviewer's pointers and the thorough instruction booklet that came along with the canner made me confident enough to dive in. I recommend reading a lot of the high star reviews if you're new to pressure canning as I was and certainly read every word of the instruction booklet (also available on-line as a PDF at the company site if that would help you make a buying decision or if you, like I, lost it for a while <sigh!>). Actually, I can't imagine this thing blowing up with all the safety features built in, but an abundance of caution in the presence of what amounts to a pressurized bomb seems warranted!

Thanks for all who mentioned that this fine product is American made. Good to keep our money at home for a change; that's actually important to me and would have affected my buying decision if most other things were nearly equal.

Now, for what I think I can add to the discussion:

I am all for everything natural and all that, but when I was using olive oil for the seal between the lid and the pot, I always had steam leaking no matter how carefully I balanced the lid. The booklet recommends olive oil or Vaseline, and when I switched to Vaseline, I had no more problems with getting a good seal.

I had some questions and problems I could not solve 100% even with the wonderful reviews here or the enclosed booklet, so I called the company... a couple of times, actually. Except for the "banker's hours" of customer service, they were quite helpful and always polite. I even got to talk to an engineer who took the time to help me and was even quite patient even when I could tell he was a bit exasperated. This was all about the pressure gauge. I had taken it to the local Ag Extension office to have it tested and they were having the Devil's own time getting their instrument to seat against the... hmmmm, the fitting, I guess. The engineer told me what I needed to know about that which was basically that the dial gauge was there for a confirmation and convenience to the operator. One is not supposed to rely upon the dial gauge, one is supposed to rely upon the weighted gauge and when it jiggles from escaping steam. No jiggle, and your canner has not reached the pressure indicated on the 3 position weighted gauge, no matter what the dial gauge says. BTW the Ag Ext folks only got it to seat so they could measure the gauge once for a very short time--passed perfectly--but they prefer to test several times to confirm accuracy. After talking with the engineer, I was confident in the system and accuracy which is quite important for me at altitude (6000').

There's only two really annoying things about this system for me. One is that the weighted gauge is too easy to lose as it's a little separate piece. I make it a strict procedure to store it in the canner when not in use, but it's still a point of concern for me. The other is that the screw-downs flap around and make a lot of noise and get in the way when I wash the pot or when I put it up on top of the cabinet where it lives whilst not in use. I have jury-rigged a measure to control that, I tie a string around the top of the canner over the screw-downs. This is basically free and works beautifully but looks... well, what can I say, it looks so crude and makeshift that it makes a MacGyverd device look elegant and sophisticated... but it works. Next time I think of it I am going to go and buy a better looking piece of elastic cord or something that will be less embarrassing for me to explain and defend to family and guests.

In short, I love this thing and would buy it again at twice the price (if I had no other price option, of course ;-) and as well crafted as it is, I expect to divest myself of it only in my will as others say they have inherited theirs from their ancestors.

EDIT TO ADD HELPFUL INFO - 11/18/12 - I love my pressure canner, but like everything in life there are some problems, the main one being that it's aluminum. I am concerned about inadvertently adding aluminum in my diet, so I never use aluminum pots, pans or utensils for cooking. I always would have loved to use my pressure canner as a pressure cooker, but never have. Well, now I have solved the problem.

I have acquired a stainless steel Bain Marie with a lid. It's about two inches less in diameter than my canner and about an inch less in height. There are some Bain Maries here on Amazon, and I will provide some links so you can see what I am talking about; but unless they have perfect dimensions listed, you cannot assure yourself that they will fit your canner. I acquired mine at a restaurant supply store so I could measure for myself. And by the way, it was surprisingly inexpensive! ($25, and $6 for the lid.) Links: Excellante 8-1/4-Quart Stainless Steel Bain Marie Pot, Winco BAMC-8.25 Bain Marie Cover, for 8-1/4 Quart, Stainless Steel

I make broth (aka bone-broth) frequently. I have in the past allowed the stock pot to simmer away for days on end. That can occasionally be inconvenient and some family members tired of the odor. With a large stainless Bain Marie inside my pressure canner, I can finish the broth making in a few hours, virtually odor-free, and even go on to can the results immediately if I want. When the bones have cooked under pressure in the Bain Marie for a few hours up to eight hours, most of the bones just fall apart when I remove them from the broth, so I think my results might be even more nutritious than before.
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