Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker Review
The Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker (see lowest price) is one of the most popular pressure cookers on the market and this post will be a full review on it. While pressure cookers are not the most common kitchen appliance, they do fill a unique role.
If you have the space for one, they can cook quickly and in a way that opens up some new options for recipes. The Presto has a lot of good options and features and it comes at an excellent price. If you are looking to add a pressure cooker to your kitchen, you could do worse than this one.
The Presto, as the name suggests, has a maximum capacity of 23 quarts, which is quite large. It is important to note, however, that when it comes to pressure cookers you often do not want to completely fill the chamber.
Each food has its own guidelines, but there is generally an optimal fill level, such as half the chamber or two-thirds, where the food cooks best. So you often cannot count on the full 23 quarts being available depending on what you are cooking. Again, be aware and check your recipe to make sure.
As for the cooker itself, the Presto is not the absolute cheapest on the market, but it is still about average to below-average in terms of price, and yet for that money you get top-tier features.
First of all, the basic construction is excellent.
Pressure cookers are dependent on having a strong seal around the lid to keep the steam and heat in, and this seal must last for a long time, because the cooker won't work with an incomplete seal.
The seal in the Presto is very durable and the cooking pot itself is strong as well.
The cooker has some heft to it at 10 pounds, but that's just a sign of the heavy-duty aluminum and other materials in the construction.
The build quality means that the Presto can manage consistently great cooking for many years.
The workings of the Presto are fairly simple. There is a dial on the top that shows you the pressure inside the cooker and a valve next to it that prevents the interior from getting too hot.
You use your recipe to decide the pressure you need, heat the cooker until it reaches that level, then bring the heat down to maintain the pressure until the food is done. Cleaning and maintenance are easy to perform because the components can be cleaned separately.
One of the biggest draws of this machine is the fact that it also works as a canner. There are different ways to can and preserve food, but using pressure is USDA-recommended as a safe and secure way to store food. The Presto comes with a canning rack to help you arrange your cans and set them up.
Pressure canning is perhaps even more obscure than pressure cooking for most Americans, but it's actually a fast and easy way to make jams, jellies, and other sauces, and you can store meat, seafood, fruits, and vegetables using this canning method, so it is versatile as well as easy.
If you buy the Presto just to use as a pressure cooker, you might as well try out some canning because it performs excellently in that role. It just might convert you to a regular canner.
The final word on the Presto is that it is fundamentally an extremely sound pressure cooker. More expensive units have more advanced features, but these are often unnecessary for typical home use.
If you aren't sure exactly what you want to do with it, it comes with a big recipe book to inspire you. The canning is an added bonus, because canning equipment can be expensive on its own. As a pressure cooker alone, the Presto would be good value and excellent quality.
When you add in the canning features, it becomes among the best value buys in this segment.