Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Under Pressure

A little while ago I bought a state-of-the-art Kuhn Rikon (KR) pressure cooker. The extra tall model, with short handles.

I decided that I wanted to move on to pressure canning (from hot water bath pasteurising), and I had contacted numerous pressure cooker manufacturers to find out if their cookers were suitable for this.  The only one who came back positve, was KR.

So, for the past month we've been using this. 4 Kilner jars fit in perfectly, and it is big enough to double up as a water bath for bottling.

I'd also been testing it as a pressure cooker, and it is brilliant.  Much less scary than the one my mum had, and the one I had some years ago. No more hissing spitting and jiggling.(edited to add: I was referring to the behaviour of the pressure cooker. Not me. I don't hiss and spit. Although I might jiggle from time to time, especially when stressed.)

Then our tomato harvest got serious. Almost all our large greenhouse is given over to tomato production, including the separate section at the end where DH uses hydroponic bits & pieces.   We were processing 12 bottles of passata at a go,  which was 3 goes in the KR.

So, I decided to get a pressure canner from the US.  I tried on Ebay, but the costs including shipping (and duty and VAT) were prohibitive. Then I found an excellent site which specialised in bringing stuff from the US to the UK.  The price they charged was a bit more than my KR,  but they guaranteed no extra duty or VAT to pay.  I was happy with the price, and placed my order.

The Presto Canner, now christened Preston,  arrived yesterday.  It is ENORMOUS.   In fact, it is so big that ENORMOUS is too small a word to describe it.

We used it for the first time today, processing 12 jars in one go.  Fab, fab, fab.

I've now retired my electric pasteruriser. It's sitting in the spare bedroom, while I consider what to do with it.    It has some advantages over Preston - it's automatic, it's electric, it has a timer, it has a thermometer.  But I only have space in my kitchen for one ENORMOUS pot thing. And that has to be Preston.

You can use him as a pressure cooker as well, but I can't imagine what sized houshold would need a pressure cooker he size of him  (23 Litres).

The downside of using Preston (or the KR for that matter) is that only Kilner - or the US equivalent Mason - jars can be used. The ones with the metal lid and metal screwband.  I've purchased (and used) 36 jars so far. 

In the meantime I have an army of 500ml and 1L Le Parfait jars taking up precious cupboard space.

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