Preserving cooker purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • What you need to know
  • An preserving cooker is an all-round kitchen machine that is useful for various applications.
  • Preserving cookers preserve food by heating it, the food is absolutely germ-free after canning.
  • Make sure that the preserving cooker you buy is equipped with an overheating protection.
  • Some models also let you juice and mash.
  • Preserving cookers can be used all year round.

What is a preserving cooker?

DIY is totally in vogue. Among the most popular do-it-yourself subjects are growing food and preparing healthy meals. Thanks to these trends, preserving cookers are ever more popular. Even our own great-grandparents used preserving cookers to preserve food for long periods of time. At that time, preserving vegetables, fruit and meat was common practice, as there was hardly any access to fresh food during the winter months.

Nowadays, the popularity of preserving cookers has less to do with the fact that we can’t buy the food and more to do with the fact that people want to cook for themselves more. Modern preserving cookers also have other functions. Unlike back then, today’s products work electrically. A stove is not needed, you only need a working socket.


Modern preserving cookers are versatile. Since they are relatively easy to use, both professional chefs and cooking novices benefit from their use in the long term.

  • You always know exactly what you are eating.
  • Everything is homemade and therefore free from preservatives.
  • You benefit from your own harvest for months or even several years.
  • Food that has already been cooked can be preserved for longer.
  • Preserving cookers are also suitable for keeping food and drinks warm.
  • Fruit, vegetables, and meat can be preserved.
  • They are easy on the environment because all preserving jars can be used multiple times.
  • Reduces waste production.
  • Saves you money.
  • Seasonal products can be enjoyed at any time.
  • Some models can also be used as juicers.
  • Some appliances can also brew beer.

These advantages show why preserving food isn’t just for our grandparents. Preserving pots are suitable for every household, just as they were back in the day.

Essential functions

In the past, cooks used to put their preserving cookers on the stove or in the oven. This worked well, but preserving took a lot of time. Modern, electric devices are much quicker and more convenient. When the machine is plugged into a socket, the heating coil in the base of the cooker heats up and provides even heat distribution throughout the appliance. The contents of the jars inside are sterilized and microorganisms are killed. Some products have different settings application options. Read on for an overview of what you can do with a preserving cooker.


First and foremost, preserving cookers let you preserve food. To do this, you have to fill previously prepared jars with the desired food. These are sealed tightly and then placed in the preserving cooker. Stacking is no problem. However, you should note that for some appliances it is useful to place a grid over the heating coil so that the jars stand correctly — although a rack is not necessary for all machines. Next, you fill the cooker with water so that the top jars are almost completely covered. Pay attention to time and temperature setting options.

glasses of jam
You can store your food in jars and similar containers.

Can I also use a preserving cooker for regular cooking?

A preserving cooker is not suitable for cooking and frying dishes. If you were to fry something in it, it would just stick to the bottom. This could eventually lead to the machine becoming unusable. Preserving cookers are only designed for preserving or heating food and drinks. Soups, for example, can be reheated at any time. Make sure that the temperature isn’t too hot, otherwise the soup might stick to the bottom.

Keeping warm

Preserving cookers are not only suitable for preserving, but also for simply keeping foods warm. That’s why they’re extremely popular with tea drinkers in winter. Other dishes such as soups or stews also retain their heat in them. If a preserving cooker also has a spout, removing the liquid is particularly practical. Simply hold a cup underneath and turn the tap.


Some preserving cookers can be converted into a juicer. However, for this you need a special juicer accessory, also known as a juicer insert. This is often included with many models, or can be purchased later. To make juice, just throw in your desired fruits or vegetables and let the cooker juice them with steam. A spout helps to portion the fresh drink.

juice and vegetables
You can use your preserving cooker to make juice.


Beer lovers can also get their money’s worth with a preserving cooker. Some models are suitable for mashing if you use a precision thermostat to set the exact time and heat settings. But beware: you’ll also need a lauter tun.

Types of preserving juicer

While some models are more suitable making preserves and jam, others are true multi-talents. The latter score with additional functions such as juicing. Some models have a timer, while others are recommended for the catering industry because of their large capacities. For occasional canning in single households, cookers without additional functions are perfectly adequate.

multiple functions
Some models have multiple functions.

If you also want to juice, look for models with an integrated juicer function. If you want to keep large quantities of food warm on a regular basis, it is worth buying a food preserver with a cooking function. Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of preserving cookers:

Preserving cooker without additional features

To purchase a preserving cooker without any extra features, you will have to spend about $40 to $180. With these appliances, it is usually not possible to juice fruit and vegetables. Many inexpensive models also don’t have an integrated timer. These appliances only hold large quantities. A tap for dispensing liquids is also not available.


  • Inexpensive
  • Space-saving
  • No accessories necessary


  • Juicing not possible
  • Usually no timer
  • No tap for drinks

Preserving cooker with a juicer function

For appliances with a juicer function, you’ll need to dig a little deeper into your wallet. Prices vary between around $60 and $200. The purchase is worthwhile if you want to produce juices or keep drinks warm. An integrated tap makes them quickly accessible. These models have two compartments inside, one for the water and one for the juice ingredients. You should note that for some models, you’ll need to buy the the juicer part separately.


  • Juicing possible
  • Tap available
  • Versatile use


  • Expensive
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Accessories must potentially be purchased
  • Time-consuming cleaning

Preserving cookers with a cooking function

The cooking function in preserving cookers is mainly used by catering businesses and restaurant. For individual households and smaller family groups, the extra cost won’t be worthwhile. These models have a very large capacity and, with the help of a precision thermostat, reliably heat up very large quantities or keep them warm. Due to their size, they take up a lot of space. The price range is from around $150 to $400. Preserving cookers with a cooking function are therefore in the top segment in terms of price.


  • Heats large quantities
  • Suitable for many people
  • Convenient pouring


  • Expensive
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Difficult to clean

Alternatives to preserving cookers

Normal cooking pots that have a large volume are also suitable for preserving food. Stack the preserving jars in it and fill the pot with water. The top jar should be three-quarters covered with water. Put the pot on the cooker and turn on the hob. The drawback here is that you have to keep a constant eye on the pot. If necessary, check the temperature with a thermometer. You’ll also need to keep an eye on the time, so set a timer.

In fact, canning also works in the oven, but is used much less frequently. For this, you need a deep baking tray on which to position the jars. Fill the baking tray with water. Then turn on the oven and set a timer.

There are also preserving pots that are very similar to the preserving cookers. The big difference is that these devices don’t run on electricity. Preserving pots are placed on the stove. Unlike normal cooking pots, they have a thermometer integrated into lid. This way it is easier to keep an eye on the temperature during the preserving process.

model without a cable
Some cookers are used on the stove.

Buying tips

Before making a purchase decision, you should consider the purposes for which you intend to use the preserving cooker. Consider how often, for how many people and what exactly you intend to preserve. For example, if you often preserve food for a lot of people, a high-capacity cooker makes sense. If you live in a small household and only cook occasionally, a preserving cooker without additional functions is recommended. Or, for example, if you mainly want to make jam — and possibly for a large group of people — you need an appliance with a large capacity and, ideally, a juicer function.


The capacity of the appliance is particularly important if large quantities are to be preserved or heated frequently. Normally, preserving cookers have a volume of at least 20 to 30 quarts (20-30L). These preserving cookers can hold about twelve jars. However, there are also very small cookers with a capacity of ten quarts. This would hold about five jars. These are suitable for single households, for example.


The power of preserving cookers is always given in watts and is between 1,800 and 2,000 watts for good-quality models. The higher the power, the faster the appliance heats up. If the product has a very large volume, a high power output also makes sense. Otherwise, heating takes a long time.


Most cookers are made of stainless steel. Some are made of plastic. A layer of enamel makes the appliance more expensive, but brings some advantages. An enamel coating ensures a longer shelf life and prevents bacteria build-up. It also protects the appliance from rust and is easy to clean.

Double enamel coating advisable
An enamel coating is not scratch-resistant and can peel off. If your budget allows it, you should choose a model with a double enamel coating. Do not use hard sponges for cleaning.

What does the abbreviation “BPA” mean?

The abbreviation “BPA” stands for “bisphenol A”. If manufacturers claim that the product is BPA-free, this means that this substance, which is often used to make plastics, has not been used in the production process. BPA makes plastic materials stronger and lighter. However, there is a suspicion that the material is harmful to health. When heated strongly, BPA can possibly pass into the food. So appliances that are labeled BPA-free are recommended.

Safety first

To make canning as safe as possible, look out for the following three safety features:

  • The overheating protection is used to switch off the cooker if the temperature is too high. This guarantees that the appliance will not be damaged by overheating.
  • A boil-dry protection prevents the appliance from being activated if too little or no liquid has been poured in.
  • Most good dry-boil protections also have heat-insulated handles so that you don’t scald your hands or have to handle complicated cooking cloths.

More convenient features

If you often preserve food, keep food warm for lots of people, or want to try brewing beer, these four features will be of interest to you:


A tap helps when dispensing liquids. This feature should be integrated if you often want to pour hot drinks.


To avoid waiting longer than absolutely necessary, many manufacturers install a timer. It makes preserving or heating up much easier, as you don’t have to constantly check your own clock to see whether the desired boiling-down time has been reached. This is particularly helpful when heating soups so that they don’t accidentally burn.

Insert grate

An insert grate can help in several ways. Firstly, the grate makes it easier to stack preserving jars. Secondly, inserting a grate also makes sense if you want to brew beer. Thirdly, the contents of the preserving jar heat up more quickly if there is a certain distance between the base and the grate, because the heat then spreads better.

cucumbers in cooker
An insert grate can be a useful tool.

Temperature control

With a temperature control, you can choose the perfect temperature for each type of food. This is especially useful for brewing beer. Most machines reach temperatures of 86 to 212 °F (30 to 100 °C). For brewing, you always need an appliance that can reach 212 °F.

Tips for use and proper care

For best results in canning and juicing, users should pay attention to the following four important points:

  • Correct procedure for preserving
  • Correct procedure for juicing
  • Storing the preserved food
  • Cleaning the food preserver

These procedures are described in detail below. Also read the instructions supplied with the preserving cooker. This guarantees that nothing can go wrong.

What to bear in mind when canning

Before you start canning, you must clean the food and cut it into small pieces so that it fits into the preserving jars in layers. Next, fill the jars with a mixture of water and a little sugar for fruits or water with salt for vegetables. If you prefer more spices, use them. Now seal the preserving jars. It is especially important to make sure that they are absolutely tight. Otherwise the preserving will not work properly. Preserving jars that have a rubber seal around the rim are best. Now place the filled jars in the preserving cooker, stacking is possible to make the best use of the space. Next, add enough water to the pot until three-quarters of the upper jars are covered with water. Put the lid on, set the temperature and timer, and you’re done.

These jars are best

In principle, you can use all jars that can be closed absolutely tightly. It is important to distinguish between glasses with screw caps and glasses with rubber caps. The rubber is on the rim of the glass. Some also have a metal closure. The most popular are still the typical preserving jars with a rubber seal because they seal the most securely. The great advantage of preserving jars is that you can reuse them over and over again.

eggs in a jar
Jars are a must-have for every household.

How does juicing with a preserving cooker work?

As with normal preserving, fill the machine with water. If necessary, place a fitting ring on the juicer. Then place the juicer sieve or the juicer attachment and the fruit container in the cooker and put in the pieces of fruit or vegetables that have been cut into small pieces. The sieve is located in the upper part of the juicer. Next, activate the juicer function — and you’re ready to go. Steam enters through holes in the fruit basket, the fruit is juiced and the juice runs out through the holes into the collecting container. A spout or tap helps to dispense the drink. Seal the bottles or jars immediately after filling. If necessary, follow the steps listed in the instructions for use. To get the tastiest results, it is recommended to use very ripe fruits or vegetables.

Steaming time

Different types of fruit also require different steaming times. After the preserving cooker has heated up, which usually takes about 25 minutes, the actual steaming time begins. Apples and pears, for example, need about 90 minutes, blueberries only about 60 minutes. Blackberries and strawberries need about 45 minutes. Plums and peaches are ready in about 75 minutes. The different times are related to the respective texture of the fruit.

The correct storage of food

Food is sterile after it has been preserved or juiced. As long as you do not open the preserved jars, they will stay preserved because of the airtight seal. Store the jars in a cool, preferably dark place such as:

  • On a basement shelf
  • In a pantry without windows
  • On lower kitchen shelves with little light coming in

Harmless discolouration possible when exposed to light

Keep the glasses away from moisture and a lot of light. If they are constantly stored in a very bright environment, the food in the jar may discolour and become paler. However, this does not affect the shelf life, the food might just look less appetising. As a rule, preserved food can be kept for one year—even longer depending on the sugar content. As soon as the jars are opened, they must be put in the refrigerator and should be used within a short time.

When storing juiced food, it is important to note that the liquid must be filled and sealed while it is still hot, more precisely at 167 °F (75 °C) or hotter. Only then is it guaranteed that the product is still germ-free. For storage, the same applies as for preserved jars.

Care and cleaning

To ensure that you benefit from your preserving cooker for a long time, there are a few points to consider when it comes to care and cleaning.

  • Like almost every kitchen appliance that comes into contact with food, you should clean a new preserving cooker before using it for the first time.
  • After every single use, the appliance must be cleaned inside and out.
  • If the model has a spout or tap, clean it separately.
  • For cleaning, use water and a mild detergent. Corrosive agents are taboo. Appliances with an enamel coating are particularly sensitive.
  • Use a soft sponge to avoid scratching the material.
  • If limescale forms, use citric acid or special descaling agents.
  • Let the machine dry before putting it away. This prevents the formation of mould.
  • Some parts of preserving cookers are dishwasher safe. Read the instructions for use.
  • Never immerse the entire machine in water! This could cause a short circuit.

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