I have a canner. I AM a canner.

After visiting my grandparents, I came home with a deep desire to start canning.  The first thing I did was buy a Presto 1781 23-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner from Amazon – after I talked to hubby and we assured each other that this wasn’t just a passing fancy.  I owned a smaller pressure cooker many years ago and actually used it, so we were reasonably confident that this would be a well-loved gadget, both as a cooker and a canner.

A water bath canner might be a better choice for some, but I went with the pressure cooker for 4 reasons:

  1. The inexpensive water bath canners weren’t approved for use on a glass-top range like ours.  Those that were approved cost nearly as much as the pressure canners.
  2. I wanted to be able to can low-acid foods, beginning with pinto and black beans, but certainly not stopping there!
  3. I looked forward to use it for cooking again.  Did you know dry beans cook in 3-6 minutes?
  4. I had enough Swagbucks to pay for it.  🙂

The canner arrived in just 2 business days (with free shipping, no less!) and with just a few more supplies, we were ready to get started.

Our trusty old apple peeler/corer/slicer made short work of 20 lbs. of apples.  We did another 10 lbs. for crockpot applesauce.

20 lbs. filled an 8 quart stockpot and a 4 quart pot to the brim.

We stirred in a mixture of sugar, flour, lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt, and LOTS of cinnamon.

After cooking them just enough to thoroughly heat the liquid and soften the apples, we ladelled  the mixture into hot sterilized jars.  We had enough to fill 7 quarts, plus one for the fridge.  We’ll use that one for a pie tonight.

We worked out the air bubbles and left 1/2″ of headspace, then processed according to the directions.  This time, I used the pressure cooker as a water bath canner.  It can be used either way.  I love that!

Later that day, we turned a huge gallon-sized can of tomato paste into seasoned pizza/spaghetti sauce.   We may or may not add meat when we serve it, depending on whether it’s lunch or dinner.

Aren’t they beautiful?

The next day I did 4 quarts and 7 pints of pinto beans and black beans, all at the same time.  We’re trying the first one in our taco salad tonight, and it turned out perfect!

Now the girls say I’m obsessed.  I’m even canning animal crackers.  OK, so I didn’t process them, but a gallon pickle jar is perfect for holding them.

But I’m finally finding a use – or multiple uses – for the jars that have filled the dark recesses of my container cabinet for so long.  I was tickled to stumble across these links today:

What about you?  Do you can?  How many other uses have you found for jars, Mason or otherwise?


  1. Elizabeth M. says:

    I canned with my mom when I was little – but never actually ran the canner. This year, I finally have a large garden and a canner (courtesy of my mother-in-law – so it’s an oldie) and I LOVE canning! It makes me feel even more “domestic” than normal, and I love that I can store up food…kind of like the Proverbs 31 woman.

  2. just checking in to see if you had posted recipes! I was telling my canning buddy about your apple pie filling and the seasoned pizza sauce! We are excited to give it a try!

  3. This canner is made in WI and has a metal to metal seal (All American Pressure Canner 921 21 Quart
    http://www.allamericancanner.com). So no O-ring to replace! Also be on the lookout for jars that you can use for canning. My husband bought some pesto in a 8oz jar that a regular mouth lid fits onto. Free jar! Have fun!

  4. Wow. That’s really exciting… I forgot all about pressure cookers. My friend used one here before she moved off to California, and now I remember how much she loved hers… and how fast her beans cooked!

  5. We grow salad greens in them! As easy as falling off a log! Check it out http://www.kingsseeds.co.nz/shop/Seeds+for+Sprouting/Sprout+Sampler+Pack.html

  6. I noticed you peeled your apples for the applesauce. I’ve found it to be MUCH easier to simply quarter the apples, remove the cores, and throw them in my pressure canner. After making the applesauce, I take my handheld blender (a blade on a long stick-like thing. I found it at Bi-Mart) and blend all the peels up. It makes wonderful applesauce, and other than an occassional peel that you simply remove (or eat) you’d never know the difference! 🙂

  7. Loved reading this post (so glad I found you!) I just started canning this summer and I would love to can apple pie filling. Would you share your recipe for the apple pie filling and for the seasoned pizza/spaghetti sauce? Thank you!

    • I’ll share the recipe when we make more – hopefully this week – so we can measure more carefully. We just made it up as we went, like we always do for apple pie. We used some to make a pie for today’s fellowship meal at church and got rave reviews!

  8. I love Mason jars for storing things like rice and oatmeal because I can measure them using the increments on the side of the jar. I also recently made yogurt for the first time, using Mason jars. And for those who like to soak grains, Mason jars are perfect–so compact!

    I’ve never tried canning though. Maybe some day…

  9. I use jars to store fingernail polish. Once you try this, you’ll be amazed at the smells that it contains. (When you first open it, don’t have your face close!) And I use the “safe” kind of nail polish that doesn’t have toulene or formaldehyde in it. It is a wonderfully safe thing to do.

  10. Oh goodness… when I first read the title, I thought it said “I have cancer”. o_0 I’m thrilled that the content of this post is a great deal happier!

    We have a canner, too, but our family is very small so we don’t use it a ton. I’ve made some really good jams and preserves that we enjoyed all winter long.

  11. What is your recipe/method for the spaghetti sauce from tomato paste? All the recipes I see require more canned tomatoes than just paste (i.e. diced or crushed tomatoes). I’d love to see a lower-cost option to make a lot of sauce.

  12. We purchased 1/2 gallon mason jars (not good for canning in btw) last year when our Jersey came into milk. Perfect for storing homegrown raw milk in! But when she went out of milk, we had all of these 1/2 gallon mason jars taking up our precious space.

    They quickly became our storage of choice. Wet….dry…..refrigerated….on shelves….everywhere but the freezer….They worked great!

    We’ll have to learn your canning techniques. My grandmother was a master gardener and canner…..did it all….oh how I wish I had learned more from her! We’ve recently canned some jams and jellies but I’ve never progressed much farther than that.

    Have fun!

  13. I have a water bath canner that I use on my glass top. This summer I canned tomatoes and blueberry, strawberry, mint, peach, and plum jams and jellies. I want to head to the apple orchard to buy apples in the next week or so and love your idea of canning pie filling. Also want to do some applesauce as well.

  14. My mom and I recently went to a canning class and we learned that your not supposed to store the food with the metal ring on the jar… It can rust onto the jar. Its really supposed to go on after the food is opened… We always use the plastic covers once its open though, because they are so much more convenient. I use the wide neck jars to take soup to work just take off the top and pop it in the microwave… absolutely leak proof!

  15. Wow, you really did catch the canning bug! I’m just wrapping up canning season and it’s been a much busier one than normal.

    I use jars to store food in the freezer and fridge, because I’m trying to cut back on plastic. I also use them as a water bottle when I’m out running errands.

  16. Really? Wow, I thought I couldn’t use a pressure cooker because I have a glass stove top. I never checked into it; it was just something I’ve heard. I guess I have no more excuses, and my mother-in-law doesn’t have to do all the work anymore. 🙂

  17. Susan Disharoon says:

    Your article excites me. I am looking forward to canning many things myself. Would like to hear any tips you may have.
    You asked about mason jars, we use them pint and quart as drinking glasses. They are economical, don’t break easily and the quart size are perfect for my guys.


  1. […]  It’s the only thing big enough to hold pancake batter, biscuit dough, sausage balls, or apple pie filling for our crew.  Sometimes we use it as mixing bowl, and sometimes we snap the lid on it to store […]

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