Pressure Cookers": Best "Bang for the Buck?"
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:02 AM   #1
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Default Pressure Cookers": Best "Bang for the Buck?"

The title is a little tongue-in-cheek just to get those kind of response out of the way. This began when I did a Google search and our own forums about three months ago (PRE Boston Bombing) and couldn't get a definitive answer to my question.

I wanted a pressure cooker for canning and cooking meals faster. Mainly canning, but the occasional Yankee Pot Roast as well. I was disillusioned to find out that there is no "jack-of-all-trades," do-it-all pressure cooker. Most people buy one for canning and one for cooking if they wish to do both. Okay, I can accept that, but it was at that point where it fell apart.

Most agree that the big, tall, expensive stainless steel models with no O-ring to seal it are best for canning. But then others say the O-ring doesn't matter if you condition it correctly, and still others think the stainless steel is a waste of money. Some don't like the pressure release valve that can clog and cause it to rupture.

When it comes to the cooking version, the pots are smaller, lighter and have automatic pressure valves to make sure it will hold 8 or 15 lbs like it''s supposed to and not blow up. Some swear by a model made by Presto and others love a little Swiss number which is eight times more expensive. Other posts talk about poor customer service, lengthy returns, the wrong item or parts shipped directly from the factory and phones not answered. Some claim three uses and the handles are breaking off or the pressure valve malfunctioning.

I believe in buying quality once for the long haul, no matter who makes it, and I want it to take almost anything thrown at it without breaking. I believe in the right tool for the right job, and I want it to be as safe to use the thousandth time as it was the first.

So I turn to you in the Sustenance Living forum and ask what you think. Do you have an ultra-reliable brand that works flawlessly? Or horror stories of brands to stay away from? How about any tips or tricks? Advice on size variations and fitting jars? Please let me know as I am seriously in the market for one or two of these,

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Old 04-28-2013, 12:21 AM   #2
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Can't beat the old presto New ones, I don't like as much.

Wife bought an All American Pressure Canner http://www.amazon.com/All-American-921-2-Quart-Pressure/dp/B00004S88Z/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1367108447&sr=1-1&keywords=american+pressure+canner
but we have yet to use it. It's def a purdy pot!

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Old 04-28-2013, 12:43 AM   #3
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After researching I have a 4 qt. (more expensive than the ubiquitous 6-qt.) stainless Presto in storage for SHTF. Two spare gasket sets as well as one each pressure blow-out valve and pressure regulator accompany it. Cooking in a pressure cooker significantly cuts both energy used and time cooking. In emergencies energy often, if not usually, comes at a premium. Dried beans, a staple in such situations, can be cooked in minutes or tens of minutes instead of an hour or two or four (and that's after they've been soaked overnight!).

Our bigger Revere Ware one got thrown out -- parts were no longer available (Revere isn't even made in U.S. any more) and you can't pressure cook with a dried, cracked, seal -- but we didn't bother replacing it. Now we'd feel funny if we did but I think it is very responsible to make a point of using one when applicable.

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Old 04-28-2013, 01:06 AM   #4
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I have always had at least one of the old 21 quart cast aluminum cookers around. They are great for canning, and you can pick them up at junk stores, or flea markets for usually under $20.00 and sometimes under $10.00.

I don't own one of the smaller ones you would use for meal preparation, but they are available at second hand stores everywhere.

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Old 04-28-2013, 01:10 AM   #5
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Pressure cooker/canner 2 different beasts- unless you are cooking for an infantry platoon. Aluminum gets up to canning temps faster than stainless.

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Old 04-28-2013, 02:11 AM   #6
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So what I'm hearing is Presto works great and aluminum is better to cook faster. Just like cooking, though, where aluminum scorches faster, is there a downside to aluminum? Are there any parts that wear out except the seals?

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Old 04-28-2013, 02:25 AM   #7
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Aluminum has better natural heat distribution but the Presto stainless has a heavy base and is fine. Aluminum IS harder to clean, I don't wanna have to rely on teflon coating, and Aluminum has been linked to cause, now what was it... alzheimers.

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Old 04-28-2013, 02:32 AM   #8
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The seals wear out(after a long time) and most have a lead(Mirro) or rubber(Presto) safety plug that you should have a spare for. Pressure cookers will last 50 years or more. If you get one with a gauge(many don't have/don't need) the gauges can wear out, so you might want a spare.

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Old 04-29-2013, 08:39 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the input. I thinkI have a good odea of what to look for and what parts to stock. Thanks everyone!

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-Edmund Burke, Loosely translated from Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents. (1770)

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