Author Topic: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating  (Read 2194 times)

Offline Leonidas

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Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« on: January 16, 2011, 07:53:05 AM »
Hi all, I'm after some much needed advice regarding Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating

My dilemma is this I am wanting a pressure canner, Which seems to be a better option than a dehydrator.

I see it like this:

Pressure Canner Pro's
  • More Versitile
  • Quicker and easier to east stored food, no rehydrating required
  • Long Storage solution

Pressure Canner Con's
  • Initial purchase price is very high
  • Jars and lids are an ongoing cost

Dehydrator Pro's
  • Quicker Prep time
  • More affordable option
  • Lighter and more portable food
  • Long Storage solution

Dehydrator Con's
  • Initial purchase price is high
  • Vacuum bags are an ongoing cost

Is this a fair comparison?
Have I missed anything,

I have a Vacuum sealer so a Dehydrator seems the next step, but I'm more drawn to the Canner (Don't know why its called canning? after all they use jars not cans)

Do any of you have experience or both of these and what do you recommend and why?

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your replys
Father of 4 wonderful little ladies, and husband to an amazing lucky woman.

Offline fratermus

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2011, 08:08:16 AM »
They're different tools, and you'll likely end up with both.

You really can't cheat around having a pressure canner, but you might be able to cheat having a dehydrator.  Google Alton Brown's beef jerky recipe for ideas about to airdry without heat. 

It's called canning because the process is the same as with canning, though to confuse matters more it was originally done in glass bottles/jars.

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Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2011, 08:35:56 AM »
I agree with fratermus, you will likely end up with both.  I don't have a dehydrator yet.  My choice of the pressure canner first is I prefer canned green beans over any other storage method and we go through a lot of green beans.

Your mention about jars and lids being an ongoing cost is true, however, you can often get jars for free  on Craigslist or Freecycle.  Once you have a certain number of jars, you will likely not need many more.  The lids are an ongoing expense, but they aren't very expensive and are probably cheaper in the long run than those vacuum bags.
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Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2011, 09:01:17 AM »
if you have never done either, dehydration is easier to learn.  but you can get cheap dehydrators with which to experiment.  the nescos and american harversters are not the most efficient out there.  but they work for $30.  get you started.

but a pressure canner is versatile.  it can be used as a water bath canner for fruits and jams, it is a pressure canner for meats, beans, veggies, soups, etc.  the presto ones are $80-ish (http://www.amazon.com/Presto-23-Quart-Aluminum-Pressure-Cooker/dp/B0000BYCFU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1295190027&sr=8-2).  they are not the best but they work,and my mom has had hers for 20+ years and still going strong.

yes, canning jars can be an initial expense.  but they are reusable.  over and over.  and the tattler canning lids are also reusable (http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=19103.0)

I think I would go with a canner first.  start with the easy stuff.  see how you like it.  do only one batch of whatever food to see how you like it.  We only use water or peach juice in our canned peaches now, and the flavor difference is amazing.  no one in my house can eat peaches anywhere else anymore because of the nasty sugar-syrup.  the nice thing about home canning is that you can customize like that.
When I hear of something new I can bottle, I try a small batch - say 7 pints of whatever, wait a few weeks and then break them out to eat them.  if we like them, we do more the next year.  if not, we don't do them again.  (Incidentally I do the same with dehydration.  but the turn around time to deciding if I like them is a lot faster)

I agree - eventually you will want both.

edit: the 23-qt pressure canner is a great stock pot.  the best out there.  it will hold 3 turkey carcasses at one time, plus all the veggies and water needed to make yummy stock
« Last Edit: January 16, 2011, 10:22:43 AM by Morning Sunshine »
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Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2011, 09:20:56 AM »
I would go with the canner first.  I own both a canner and dehydrator.  Both are important but if you want to live that better lifestyle I think the logical first step is a pressure canner. 

Pressure canning allows you to produce convenience meals.  You can make chili, soups and other finished products where you can open a can and reheat and you are off and eating.  The convenience of store bought but you have 100% control of the contents.  A busy day where you get home late and are tired, need to do your workout, have a bunch of other projects you can just pop a jar open, plunk it in a bowl, microwave or stove top heat it and you are off to the races.  Also the canned veggie with no boiling water or anything is super convenient to add a vegetable to a meal.

The dehydrator allows you to produce some quick and easy stuff but I am not as experienced with it yet and while I see some quick prep foods and have made a few but I dont think it replicates convenience food quite as exactly, or at least the ones I want.  Maybe my opinion will change in time, I have been spending more time with the dehydrator lately.  Its great for making snacks and accents to food.  Nothing like a handful of dehydrated veggies to church up ramen or a soup.  The daughter loves dehydrated fruit as a snack.  Goes well in oatmeal too. 

Oh, dont skimp on the pressure canner.  I suggest the biggest standard size pressure canner. I have the 23 Quart from Presto.  If you get a smaller one, you are just going to learn how to do it, and a few months later but a bigger one to go into full production.  Even if you eventually say to heck with it, "I dont like canning", you will at least have the world's biggest stock pot. I personally dont think you will say that.  Canning is fun.

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Offline Herbalpagan

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2011, 09:51:25 AM »
We have both and find both useful. I prefer to dehydrate because I can do other things while I'm doing it, the product doesn't take up as much space.  However, for cooking and convenience, I prefer the canning.
I always say, anyone with a garden and prepping is going to end up (sooner or later) with:
water bath canner
pressure canner
dehydrator
vacuum sealer.

Just the nature of the process. If you were a carpenter or plumber you would need tools.  Most of these tools need little repair or upkeep and last for many, many years.
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Offline Oni

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2011, 11:10:42 AM »
I bought an Excalibur late last year and received a vacuum sealer as an early Christmas present (thanks Dad!).  The dehydrator has allowed me to reduce the size and weight of things for long term storage...potatoes, corn, carrots, peas, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes etc.  It has been a great asset and I have zero regrets in purchasing it.

My next purchase is going to be an All American pressure canner so I can process chicken and meat for long term storage.  I will of course can other stuff, but plan to start easy with those two items until I have a nice pantry full and then experiment with other stuff.  I already have four cases of wide mouth quart jars and extra lids, I used some for dehydrated stuff and am ready to try canning.  Already bought the Ball Canning book and reading as much as possible.

I think anyone into prepping will end up with both...and probably a vacuum sealer as well.

Offline P_Coltrane

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2011, 11:11:26 AM »
We have two pressure canners, a water bath canner and a dehydrator. Neither of them are perfect substitutes for the other -- you can't make onion powder with a canner and you can't just heat up dehydrated chili -- if you know what I mean.  They both however, do preserve fresh food for later use.

I use the dehydrator all year round . . . constantly.  The pressure canners end up being rather seasonal. I use them a lot in the summer and fall but not as much the rest of the year. That said, I still wouldn't choose one over the other if I had the means to acquire both.  Personal preferences concerning cooking and serving methods would be my biggest factor in making this selection; my wife does not like many dehydrated foods when she has a choice of about anything else.

The water bath canner, is almost never used. In fact, I have not used it since the arrival of the pressure canners.  My wife still makes pickles in the water bath but that is it.

Not buying a canner because of  jars and lids is like not buying a hammer because you have to buy nails.

I agree a with few others that you will probably end up with both if you are serious about food storage.

Offline OKGranny

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2011, 12:16:22 PM »
I've picked up canning jars at garage sales, estate sales, thrift shops, freecycle, etc and bought a few new at the end of the season. They last forever and the lids are really cheap. I can't imagine life without my canners and the dehydrator.

I prefer canning simply because I enjoy the heat and eat aspect but once I learned how good home dehydrated food tasted as opposed to the stuff you can buy, I can't see being without it either.

Offline Dawgus

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2011, 01:24:30 PM »
 We own and use both, and each has their seperate place and use. With canning, pressure or hot water bath, you are open to a lot more than you can be with dehydrating. We have two pressure canners and 3 hot water canners, and they're used nearly year round. (1 pint, 1 quart, and 1 half-gallon)
 With canners, you can not only do fruits and vegetables, but meats, meals, jams, jellies, pickles, potatoes. and many other options. Pick up a copy of the Ball Book and look through the tips and recipes. The options are endless.
 As some have said, you can get jars for free or really cheap. I've gotten jars from craigslist, freecycle, thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets. To  keep a good supply of rings and seals, get into the same habit with them as you would many prep items. Neither are expensive, so when you are at the store, grab a pack of each and put them away. It doesn't take long to have a good stock of them sitting when you need them. Also, I've seen some stores sell out at the height of canning season, so it's a good idea to have them on hand already.
 Our vacuum sealer gets used for lots of things here besides food. I seal boxes of matches, camp meals (kind of my own MRE's), spare gun parts (with an oily rag), and many other things to put away for long term storage. You can do the same with vac-seal bags, and grab a box when you are at the store. They're a GREAT tool to have around.
 Our dehydrator gets a lot of use, but not for things most others have mentioned. We dehydrate a lot of ingredients for cooking-onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc. It's been wonderful to have when I get free apples from next door, or marked down bananas from the produce store down the road. I slice chips or chunks and dehydrate them for snacks, or to add in homemade cereal. I don't dehydrate potatos simple because there's normally 60-80lbs of them in the unheated basement storage area.
 All 3 are very valueable tools to have around. Look at each and look at what you plan to start with first. Pick the one you would tend to use most often, then go 1 by 1 to the other two. Eventually, you'll end up with all 3 and not regret having them.
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Offline nelson133

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Re: Pressure Canning Vs Dehydrating
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2011, 04:55:57 PM »
Dehydrators and pressure canners fill different roles, and as a prepper, both will be necessary.  We use the dehydrator for vegetables and fruits and dry some meats, biltong, and precooked meats primarily.  We use the canner for most meats and prepared meals, like soup, stew chili, bbq and others.