The University of Georgia’s National Center for Food Preservation does not support the use electric, multi-cooker appliances to make USDA-approved pressure canning recipes, even if the device features canning or steam-canning buttons or manufacturers’ directions for pressure canning. The USDA cannot recommend pressure canning with electric multi-cookers because not enough research has been done on key parts of the food preservation process in those appliances to prove their ability to safely preserve food:
• The USDA has not yet conducted research on jars inside an electric pressure cooker to track the actual temperatures inside the jars throughout the process.
• USDA recommendations were determined for stovetop pressure canners which hold four or more quart-size jars standing upright. However, only up to four upright pints fit in most electric multi-cookers currently on the market.
• In order to ensure the safety of the final product, the temperature in the canner must stay above a minimum temperature throughout the entire processing time. Do power surges or drops with an electric canner cause the temperature to drop too low? How will you, the user know if that happens with your cooker?
• Bacteria are killed while the canner comes up to pressure and during the cool-down time, as well as during the processing time. For example, after the heat is turned off, the food remains hot enough to kill bacteria for a time while the canner cools down to zero pounds of pressure. If anything shortens the cooling period, including using a very small cooker, then the food could cool down too quickly and still harbor dangerous bacteria and other microorganisms.
Please note: This statement about electric cookers does NOT include the Ball® Automatic Home Canner for acid foods only, which is electric, but (1) is not a “multi-cooker”, but a dedicated canner, (2) comes with its own instructions and preset canning options for specific food preparations, and (3) has had proper thermal process development done to support the recommendations with it.
Source: National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia. (2015, February 13). Burning Issue: Canning in Electric Multi-Cookers. Retrieved from: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/factsheets/electric_cookers.html
May/June 2015 Preserve It Fresh, Preserve It Safe newsletter