Crazy Jar Lady
It's an odd thing, going from being scared of cooking and canning under pressure to being so comfortable with it, that there are 4 pressure cooker/canners going in your kitchen at once!
The horror stories are rampant. So and so's Aunt, Cousin, 3rd Wife... blew up the canner and the kitchen. We never had a pressure canner when I was a kid because Mom and Dad both had been told how "dangerous" they were; waterbath was "good enough". I believed the stories. I've seen the pictures. I've seen kitchens having to be redone because of explosions. I've seen people badly burned from the canner and the contents. You have to know how the thing operates AND know your own skillset.
During a time when I didn't have the $100 for a pressure canner**; I bought it anyway. I knew it was necessary to take my canning and cooking to the next step. I forced myself to use it. NO ONE was allowed into the kitchen with me. I was scared shitless. I stared the thing down the entire time. As usual, I had jumped in over my head with a batch of Chili. I had alot of unsealed jars and chili all over the canner. There were 2 jars that sealed, out of seven. I packaged all the unsealed product into containers and froze it. The whole thing pissed me off something terrible because I had followed the instructions that came with the damned thing. I put myself to bed. I knew I was missing something, but what? The canner is an inanimate object, it wasn't the fault of the canner.
There's a learning curve to most everything in life. As I have gotten older, I've noticed that learning new things is more difficult than it used to be a couple decades ago. This constantly learning is key to becoming skilled at both cooking and canning. "They" say that when you stop learning you might as well go 6 feet under....
With some serious online research; I was able to pinpoint a few things to do differently with the canner and get a better result. See How to Run a Pressure Canner.
The whole Instant Pot learning curve was even worse. When the Instant Pots first came out, I wanted one; people raved over them. I had never cooked anything under pressure in my life. First go round, as usual, was outside of my wheelhouse and I tried Gumbo. Took 45 minutes to heat up before it would even cook the food. I had no idea how to run the thing and the instruction book had already gone missing. The original Instant Pot sat on the shelf for 5 years, staring at me.
Fast forward and I'm staying at a dear friends' house, clear across the country, and she has a Ninja Foodie. To take some of the weight of everyday crap off her, I cooked a few nights a week and did all the dishes. She would fire up the Foodie and pressure cook chicken breasts each week just to have on hand. So she taught me to run the thing and of course, I couldn't do something simple, I had to make a pork loin roast. And it was wonderful.
Original Instant Pot was dragged off the shelf and thanks to Google, I fell into a rabbit hole of Instant Pot instructions, recipes, hints and tips. I went on marketplace and found another used one! I rely on these machines often now. Any time I have some large cooking project (like broth) or a piece of meat that is out of this world tough; Instant Pot**. They don't draw much electricity and I can run them both on the same outlet in the kitchen. This also keeps the stove free for other pots or canners. When I'm canning and the Instant Pots aren't being used for something else, I put one on slow cook and keep my lids and rings warm inside it.
Now that I'm better educated about cooking and canning under pressure, it has been a game changer for me. It's not unusual to find me in the kichen with 2 canners on the stove and 2 Instant Pots running. Take the time, learn and get comfortable with cooking and canning under pressure. It's sooooo worth it.
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