About a year ago Mark French got an awesome deal on a large All American Pressure Cooker/Canner at an online auction posted by our favorite outdoor supply shop Outdoor Pros in Mount Pearl. Mark did a successful run of bottled moose last year and this past week we got together and did another 22 bottles, my first ever.
After filling our freshly washed 500ml wide mouth bottles with cubed moose, a little salt beef and dry minced garlic we headed out of the kitchen to cook them in the pressure cooker. We set up the Cooker on my propane burner in my garage as it was cold and windy outside. We raised the overhead door a couple inches, opened the rear window, had a fan running the entire time and had a battery operated CO detector running. For more information on the process, check out my HOW TO article on Bottling found on the Projects in the Shed page.
It's extremely important to read the manual when using a pressure cooker. There is a lot of important information on what pressure you need to use, how to regulate the burner to maintain pressure, and how long to cook for. For our application at sea level, using cubed raw meat, and 500ml jars we needed to cook at 10 PSI for 75 minutes.
Two inches of water was added to the cooker, then the bottom rack, followed by a layer of 8 bottles, the next ring followed by another 8 bottles all laid in place and not touching. The top layer was staggered over the bottom layer.
We turned my burner on high to get the unit heated up, next you need to see a steady stream of steam from the vent for 10 minutes straight, at that time you place the regulating weight over the vent (round piece on opposite side of handle from pressure gauge) and your cooking time begins when you place the regulating weight on the unit.
As you cook you will gradually turn down your heat source so that the regulating weight rattles a few times a minute and not constantly. This means it's releasing a little pressure to keep the unit precisely at 10 PSI. Don't turn down heat too much too fast or you run the risk of a pressure drop and having to start the timer all over again.
When time is up turn off your heat source and let the unit cool down and pressure drop before first removing the regulating weight. Then open the unit and remove your bottles. We laid ours in the dry cardboard box they came in so they wouldn't be shocked and potentially split on my cold workbench.
Couple handy tools to have, this bottling funnel was found at Dollarama and helps prevent mess when loading standard mouth bottles, and this silicone coated bottle grabbing device does a great job pulling extremely hot bottles out of the pot when cooking is complete.
All in all we both highly recommend the All American pressure cooker. It's an extremely well built sturdy unit that cuts bottling cooking time in less than half and is much more sterile than boiling bottles in water in a regular pot.
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith