Customer Review

June 16, 2017
I have a 6 qt Instant Pot which I love, but thought the canning function and size of this larger unit would be worth the additional purchase. The canning function was what I sought most and its ability to hold 7 pint jars at once, even 8 jelly jars. I tried out the pot first with some farro to see how well it worked. I'd made that in the IP successfully and thought it would be a good comparison. With this unit I used the rice button and the extra setting to switch that to wild rice which I expected to be comparable to farro. Although the cooker apparently worked properly, the farro was not done on that setting as well as when done in the IP. Still, I was pleased that the cooker functioned properly and was easy to set per directions. I figured that just like with the IP, some things require a bit of fiddling to arrive at a setting you like.

Since I'd verified that I had a good unit and canning was my main reason for the purchase, I set to making my strawberry jam. I could get 8 jars comfortably into the rack provided. It comes with a three tiered rack that disassembles into three pieces. The bottom part is great for holding the jars, keeping them up off the floor of the pot, and it has handles. It doesn't seem that it would hold 7 pints jars though so I was looking for another canning rack that would fit the bottom of the pot. The interior size of the pot is apparently unusual as I'd not been able to find a rack that would work, but went ahead with the jam since the provided rack worked well for the smaller jars.

My batch of jam yielded 10 jelly jars and 2 pint jars, too much for the pressure cooker to hold, so I put 8 jelly jars in it and the others in my tall stove top pot to 'cure' in a traditional boiling water bath. The canning function on the XL defaults to 10 minutes, which my recipe calls for, making it an easy one button start, however--and this was a surprise--the stove top jars were done in half the time overall. Granted my stove top offers a power boil setting on one burner, but the water came to a boil, boiled for 10 minutes and I removed those jars from the stove pot before the XL had even reached pressure to start counting down the time!

When the XL signaled completion, I released the pressure and was eager to see my finished batch. I removed the rack with all the jars and set it on a towel, and was happy to note that the tops started 'plinking' down immediately, BUT when I returned to remove the jars from the rack I realized something was very wrong. All the jars were sticky. Jam had seeped out of every one during the pressure process. That meant, of course, that the seals wouldn't be any good. You can imagine how unhappy I was to have to open each jar, remove the contents, wash all the jars and rings, refill the jars, add a new set of lids and close them once again. This time, however, I put them in the stove top pot and finished them with the water bath method. Additionally, I'm unhappy that while the jam I canned via the water bath method originally is nicely set and a good color, the pressure canned version is more syrup than jam and a much darker shade.

If I did something wrong, I don't know what it could have been since the jars done on the stove top are fine. The stove top method requires the jars to be covered completely with water, while the XL says to only add enough water to come up less than half the height of the jars so I followed those directions. I've made this jam for years and am pretty experienced with canning, and I'm not located higher than the 2000 ft above sea level beyond which the XL says it's not effective. While I'm willing to fiddle with other pressure cooker recipes, I'm not with canning since so much preparation goes into that effort so I'm really disappointed this didn't work out. I so looked forward to not having the rising steam of my water bath bubbling away in the heat of summer and hoped for quicker completion, but that didn't happen.

I've decided to return the unit, sadly. My son has the smaller version of the XL which he uses often for regular dishes and loves, but if the canning function doesn't work for me, there's no point it keeping this big (and very heavy) unit around taking up space.
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