Comments: If you are thinking about canning for the first time – if you weren't taught at the apron strings of Aunt Octavia – you may be delighted to pick up all the necessary equipment in one fell swoop. Fagor's 9-piece set includes a canning rack, stainless steel funnel, stainless steel ladle, jar lifter, jar wrench, bubble freer, magnetic lid lifter, home canning cookbook with recipes, pressure cooker booklet with recipes, instructional DVD, and its Duo 10-quart, 18/10 stainless steel pressure cooker/canner. You need only provide canning jars and lids, and the food that is to be canned for some cold winter night.
Some people are afraid/concerned/reluctant/etc. to venture into pressure canning (the necessary process for any food that is not particularly acidic), but it's not at all hard. True, you can only process 4 pints at a time, even though this is a good-sized pressure cooker. The standard water-bath canner can hold 7 quart jars. There are some pressure canners on the market that hold eight times as much as this, but they cost a fortune, require a separate shed for off-season storage, and need a soccer team to lift onto the stove (perhaps we exaggerate…).
The instructions, on DVD and in a couple of cookbooks, give you all the information you need to get going in pressure canning, and although it's a bit of a production, it's also a little bit addictive; once you've "put up" your first jars of salsa or corn, you may not want to stop.
If you don't already have a pressure cooker (and we think you should), this set includes an excellent model – large capacity, heavy stainless steel over an aluminum core, two pressure settings, three safety mechanisms, cooks on any surface (including induction), a helper handle opposite the main handle, and like any pressure cooker, it saves up to 70% of the cooking time and consumes less energy. The pot part may be cleaned in a dishwasher. The lid must be cleaned by hand, and the gasket in the lid wants to be lubricated with vegetable oil after each use.
If you're going to can modest amounts of food now and then, and especially if you don't already have a modern pressure cooker, this set would be an excellent choice. If you're just contemplating hot-water canning or do have a large pressure cooker, you may be perfectly happy with the more economical Fagor Home Canning Kit.