Buying An All American 30 Quart Pressure Canner: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

If you are part of the NW Edible community on Facebook, then you may already know about the pressure canner that brought me to tears.

I had some birthday money, you see. Visions of pantry-ready, home-canned stock danced in my head.

And so, after some research, I look the plunge into pressure canners. It was a big, $300 plunge but it bought me what I was sure was the last pressure canner I’d ever need – the kind of homemaker tool I could pass down to my kids or grandkids.

I purchased the All-American 30 Quart Canner. It holds a ton, gets fantastic reviews on Amazon and is widely regarded as well worth the hefty price tag. It has a metal-on-metal seal (no gasket to wear out) and is even made in America.

What could possibly go wrong?

I was so excited to receive my canner. I bought it through Amazon and two days after clicking “buy it now!” I was unboxing the beast in my living room.

“It’s here!” I squealed to my son, who, in the manner of toddlers everywhere, was super excited to have something to be super excited about.

The Ugly

Everything looked wrong.

The lid of the canner was totally covered with very noticeable pit marks.

The lip of the canner was scratched and rough.

The base had a deep gouge, like some angry giant had stuck his thumbnail right into the base of the metal before it cooled.

Inside the canner was a little sign, giving the inspection number of the All-American employee who gave this canner the a-ok for packing and selling-on.

The Bad

The disappointment I felt was crushing. That sounds really stupid, I know, and melodramatic, because a pressure canner is just a thing. This isn’t in the category of Big Deals like illness or job loss.

But as minor deals go, this one stung. That canner was $300, and one of the few splurges outside of compost and seeds that I’d bought for myself in a fair long while. And so I looked at my ugly, flawed canner and all my disappointment hit me and I cried a teeny bit.

Eventually I picked myself up and called All-American, the manufacturer of the canner.

A woman answered the phone. I explained that there were pit marks in the lid of my canner and I wanted to know if that was normal. She told me there probably weren’t any pit marks, it was just how the canners were made.

Since I generally put more trust my own evaluation of something when I’m staring right at it over the assurances of someone half-a-country away, I re-explained that there were pitmarks all over the lid of the canner.

She told me someone named John would call me back the next day.

All-American was not winning any customer service awards at this point. But, to the company’s credit, John – the Plant Supervisor, as it turns out – called me back just a few minutes later.

The Explanation

We talked extensively about the pitmarks and John explained that, because of the process they use to fill the mold completely with aluminum, many of the canners will have small “bubbles” at the surface. He assured me these did not affect the function of the canner.

We talked about the swath of scratches and divots along the lip of the canner and John explained that those were markings from the unmolding process.

I learned that these canners are very expensive for All-American to manufacture, and that as a cost saving measure, and to remain competitive against canners made in China and South America, All-American made the decision at some point to stop polishing out surface imperfections in their canners. John said that if they were still doing that degree of polishing it would add at least another $60 to the cost of the canner I had purchased. At the discounted Amazon rate I paid, this would have been an increase of about 20%.

It was clear when I was talking with John that he was a guy who cared about his product, but that he was also deeply invested in the financial realities of his company.

In other words, I would be offered patient explanations, but not an expensive replacement pressure canner. The cosmetic issues with the canner as I described them were considered within the range of normal.

Finally I asked about the gouge on the bottom of the canner. At this, I believe John recognized that the degree of damage to this pressure canner was above and beyond what a $300 new-in-box product should arrive with. He told me that if I wanted, All-American would replace the base (but not the lid with the pit-marks) of the canner.

John reassured me that the base, even with the gouge, was safe to operate, but told me that if I chose to exchange it, All-American would send me a new base.

Our conversation was very cordial and I told him I’d like to sit with my flawed canner and think about my options, but I would let him know how I wanted to proceed.

The Good: Amazon.com’s Amazing Customer Service

Within an hour I made the decision that I could not live with the pressure canner I had received. Even if it was safe to operate in the condition in which it arrived, I couldn’t spend $300 on something that would fill me with disappointment and resentment every time I used it. But I wasn’t totally willing to give up on this canner, which gets such amazing reviews from just about everyone. I jumped on-line and initiated a one-for-one exchange through Amazon.com.

The entire exchange process on Amazon took about 30 seconds. I briefly described the damage to the canner and the website informed me that Amazon would ship another one out to me to arrive within two days.

As for returning the original canner, I didn’t even have to print out a return shipping label. All they asked was that I box the canner back up and have it ready for the shipper who would come to pick it up the next day.

Nothing in the entire process – return shipping, exchange, anything – cost me a penny or required that I leave my house.

Amazon, taking a bath on what I can only imagine was a substantial shipping charge, upgraded delivery on my replacement canner to overnight. I had my new All-American 30 Quart Pressure Canner in my hands less than 24 hour later. More on the replacement canner in a minute.

All-American’s Response

After initiating the exchange with Amazon I emailed John, explaining my decision to exchange the canner outright and encouraging All-American to heed the details, even the merely aesthetic ones, in order to maintain their excellent reputation. I included the same photos that appear above so All-American would have an accurate idea of what my canner looked like, and the degree of the blemishes I was describing.

I sent that email Thursday evening, and when I did not hear back from John by Monday afternoon I followed up, apprising him that I would be writing about my experience purchasing this pressure cooker on my website and asking if he cared to respond to my original email before I published my post. This was the first time I mentioned that I was a blogger.

(Note to any company with customers: assume every customer you deal with is a blogger or could become one within an hour. Because they could – it’s a low barrier-to-entry gig.)

I received an email back from John on Tuesday morning. He acknowledged that the canner I received was more pitted than the norm and apologized for not getting back to me sooner and for any inconvenience. He said that he was surprised by the gouge on the bottom and had talked to the assembly line about the situation.

You can read the full text of these emails below.

Assessing The Second Canner

I’m pleased to conclude that Ugly Canner appears to be somewhat of an outlier. My replacement canner was much prettier than my original canner, and numerous people on the Facebook page told me their All-American Pressure Canners arrived in great shape. From this, I conclude that the odds of getting an All-American Pressure Canner quite as ugly as the one I got are small.

However, if you buy one of these canners, expect surface imperfections. The shiny, brushed-metal perfection of the advertising photos on Amazon and elsewhere do not accurately depict the texture, mold marks and variations that occur on of the surface of the All-American Canner.

For example, if I look closely at Canner #2, there are a number of shallow pit marks on the lid, and there are a few small rough patches and markings on the lip. If I had received this canner first, I would probably never have thought about those flaws because I wouldn’t have looked for them.

After the disappointment of Ugly Canner, my eye is pretty well honed. I suspect, but do not know, that most All-American canners will show some evidence of surface pitting or mold marks.

With that disclaimer, I can contentedly live with my replacement All-American canner. Though not pristine, the second canner is in much better condition than the first. The markings are more discrete and the function seems excellent.

Would I recommend the All-American Pressure Canner?

Tentatively and reservedly, yes. But I would strongly encourage anyone buying something this expensive and with such potential variability to either pick out their individual canner in person, at a brick-and-mortar shop, or buy online at a place like Amazon where you are likely to get excellent customer service and simple, non-penal exchange policies if, like me, you receive a lemon the first time around.

As I write this, fish stock is cooling on the counter, the first trial of the pressure canner. It appears to have been a successful experiment, and using the canner for the first time was a small thrill. (“What if we do something wrong? Will it explode?”)

I really like the combo of dial gauge and weighted valve on the All-American. I could turn around to do dishes in the sink or look down to read a book while continuing to monitor the pressure in the canner by ear. Little reassuring rattles from the weight every thirty seconds or so told me the canner was holding steady at 10 pounds of pressure. Gauge-only canners, as I understand it, require that you literally never take your eye off the gauge. What a drag that would be for 80 minutes of processing time!

I believe I will come to love this piece of equipment. I foresee jars of stock and stew and home-canned dried beans in my future. I suspect my pressure canner and I will have a long and happy relationship, though it was quite bumpy at the beginning.

When Blog Posts Have Addendums

The following is the series of emails I exchanged with John from All-American after receiving my first, heavily marked All-American 30 Quart Pressure Canner. This exchange may be useful to customers considering buying a pressure canner who want to evaluate what kind of customer service support they should expect from the manufacturer.

As I mention above, I strongly urge people thinking of buying one of these pressure canners to do so from a venue like Amazon or a local store which will provide independent exchange or return support if something goes wrong. If I had needed to do an exchange with All-American directly I would have been on the hook for the cost and hassle of shipping the base, and would likely have had no recourse at all on exchanging the lid.

That said, please note that all of my exchanges and conversations with John were very cordial and respectful. So it’s not that the customer service experience I had with All-American was poor, so much as not proactive.


From: Erica
Date: May 17, 2012 7:46 PM
To: John
Subject: All American Pressure Canner 30qt

Hi John,

Thanks very much taking the time to chat with me today about my 30 qt. All American pressure canner that I received from Amazon. As I mentioned, it has a number of flaws and blemishes that made the unboxing of this much awaited purchase truly disappointing.

I cannot emphasize this enough: I was a customer who was happy to spend $300 on what I was sure was the best pressure canner I could buy. I was prepared to love your product and rave about it to friends (I have a number of friends who are very interested in “taking the plunge” into pressure canning, too, and were waiting to hear about my experience before buying their own canner). Instead I was so disheartened by its quality when I opened the box that I actually cried when I saw it.

Your company needs to know about this kind of customer reaction. Your quality control people need to know about it.

I can’t live with the number and extent of the flaws in the canner I received. Even if they do not affect the performance of the canner, I cannot spend $300 on something with so many blemishes right out of the box. I have decided to exchange the canner through Amazon. Their excellent returns policy means that I am being sent a new 30 qt. All American Canner, and the one I am currently in possession of is being taken back at no expense to me.

I consider the replacement canner to be a real test for the All America quality, which until this point I had heard nothing but raves about. If it too arrives with blemishes, pits and dings as did the first one, I will sadly return it and look at other brands of canners. I truly hope the first canner I received was not representative of typical All American finish quality, and I eagerly await the chance to love my new canner.

I am enclosing photos of the blemishes my canner arrived with. When we spoke you said that markings like I described over the phone were part of the molding and unmolding process. I suspect I may not have emphasized the extent of the various markings enough. You said your company had made the cost saving decision to no longer polish out these surface imperfections. I completely understand that you need to do what is necessary to produce a competitive product, and I further understand that you are competing against canners made in China and South America. However, I would respectfully suggest that people buying your canners are doing so, and are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on them, because they are represented as the best investment one can make in this arena. I believe that to maintain your reputation for superior quality, it is essential that your company get the details, including the aesthetic details, right.

These pictures below show a product in which the details have not been gotten right. If it is my expectations which were flawed, and this is typical of All American canners, kindly disregard this email. If, however, this canner was one of those flukes that happen, perhaps these photos and this email will help your QA team understand the risks to customer satisfaction that sending along a product like this can cause. I am giving this product another shot. I suspect many customers would not.

Respectfully yours,
Erica

[Photos Included]


From: Erica
Date: May 21, 2012 2:37 PM
To: John
Subject: Fwd: All American Pressure Canner 30qt

Hi John,

I received my replacement All American 30 qt Pressure canner from Amazon. It is in much better shape than the first one I received. Although there are small marks on the lip of the canner from the unmolding, and there are a few small pit marks on the lid it is nothing like the combination of blemishes on the first canner. I am satisfied with the second canner sent to me from Amazon and will be keeping it. I look forward to putting it to good use.

I haven’t heard back regarding the email and photos I sent Thursday the 17th, and I wanted to let you know that I will be writing about my experience purchasing this pressure canner on my website and give you the opportunity to respond to my original email before I did so.

My post will likely go live tomorrow or Wednesday morning. You will find my website here: www.nwedible.com

Respectfully yours,

Erica Strauss


From: John
Date: May 22, 2012 6:26 AM
Subject: Re: All American Pressure Canner 30qt
To: Erica

Good Morning Erica,

I was out of town yesterday [redacted to protect privacy]. So I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.

I did look at the pictures and this unit was pitted more than the norm. I would have not been happy as well. The biggest flaw which surprised me was the deep scratch on the bottom. I have spoke with my assembly line and made them aware of their inspection. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may of caused and want to thank you for choosing an All American Pressure Cooker. If there is anything else I can do, please let me know.

Sincerely,

John

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Comments

  1. Deborah Aldridge says:

    Well, they handled that very professionally, and I can agree with them on not polishing and adding $60 to the price. After all, if you use this canner the way it’s supposed to be used, it’s going to get banged up anyway. I’m sure you’ll love it, and it will pay for itself quickly. I’m so glad you posted this, because I wanted to buy one, so now I’ll know what to look for.

    • Thanks Deb. I don’t agree on the polishing but I definitely see where they are coming from. It’s a tough situation. But I think as long as you have the opportunity to select the particular canner you buy, or have a good customer service fall back if you get one that is too dinged up, it’s a solid product.

      • MrsWJAA says:

        I think that they should offer the non-polished version for the current price with an explanation of what to expect, as well as a polished ‘deluxe’ version for the added expense.

        In that way, those who don’t mind what it looks like can have the savings; but those who like the sparkle (like me) can spend a bit more and get a (nearly) flawless product.

        The company wins in this situation as well because they still have their staple seller, but they can also cater to those with a more discerning taste as well.

        • Allen In AK says:

          I totally agree. I would happily pay another $60 to have a nice looking and functional product. There is reason Le Crueset pans are not out of business. Some of us are willing to pay more for quality and it doesnt even have to be strictly functional quality. I view finish as equal to function.A solid kitchen table is nice, but it must be sanded and stained uniformely. That said, I am not the type that is willing to pay more just for the Italian or French name. If Le Crueset didnt perform up to my standards, it would get tossed.

  2. Donnella Looger says:

    Thanks for posting this Erica. I have been planning to take the plunge into a pressure canner purchase as well and struggling with the quality vs. price issue. Think I’ll go down to the General Store and look at them much more closely. Wish I had purchased mine when they were still polishing out the imperfections.

  3. Thanks for writing up all the nitty gritty details on this Erica. I have a Presto which I bought on sale around 1980 for about $80. It’s a dial gauge and uses a rubber gasket. I have never had to replace anything on my canner, tho some years I have used it extensively. And I’m thinking I may need to replace the gasket this year or next. I always wash and dry it well and put it back in it’s original box when I’m done with it, to help keep dust out of it. I will probably not ever buy another canner, unless something drastic happens to this one and I can’t get replacement parts or something.

    • Thanks Mary. Sounds like you are set. My pressure cooker has a rubber gasket and it has been a tank; I’ve never had to replace the gasket in 10 years of cooking in it. I think I will keep the box mine came in to store it as you store yours. That’s a good idea.

  4. I have to say, I have had an All American for about 3 years now, and even with the moderately heavy use and the chaos of my house, I have no pockmarks like yours does have. If I were to complain about it at all, I would say that unfortunately I usually can only can when my husband is home or soon to arrive because even with the vaseline on the edge, I can not break the suction and open the canner afterwards. I am not strong enough. Even my large, strong husband has difficulty with it. I guess thats a good thing though.

    • The instruction booklet says that the suction gets stronger and stronger the longer it cools. Do you open it when the pressure is at zero but it’s all still hot, or do you let it cool more? I thought I would try to get it open pretty quick after the pressure fully drops, but I’m still figuring this all out.

      • FrankieR says:

        I open the wing nuts and turn the lid as soon as it reaches zero – but I don’t take the lid off. Then I let it sit that way for around 10 minutes. This precludes the vacuum becoming too strong and doesn’t let all the heat out at one time. This rest precludes the juice being sucked out of the jars.

        Keep in mind what the instruction manual says about ‘stuck’ lids – use a screwdriver to leverage it open – they do a good job of describing how. I love my huge All American and have been using it for several years.

    • I use a can opener to crack open my All American canner. Similar to this one: http://shop.reusablecanninglids.com/Jar-Opener-JarKey.htm;jsessionid=36D89906BA73C3352F9B749BEEB1E64A.m1plqscsfapp06
      Works like a charm every time, even better than one of hubby’s screwdrivers or whatnot, good leverage and all that jazz. I typically let things cool off overnight or until cool to touch, *then* crack it open. I’ve only had one, maybe two jars slide apart inside that sucker in the last several years of *intense* canning.

  5. Got to say, mine, arrived about 3 months ago, has NONE of the problems that yours had… and I just relooked at it very carefully…. Maybe because it is the much tinier one, for ease in use and small canning jobs… :) Enjoy it ! It’s a whole new world for you!

  6. I received an All American pressure canner for Christmas, and I can say it didn’t look anything like what you received, but like Marci, I got a smaller one. I’m glad it worked out for you though, because they are supposed to be heirlooms and I look forward to keeping mine for a long time and passing it down to my children.

    • Hi Jessi. Glad yours was in good shape. I wonder if the larger ones are somehow more prone to mold marks and pitting because of the size? Would that even make sense?

      • Yes it does! There is this mathematical alphabet soup that figures out how matter changes it’s measurements (volume, area, and length) per degree of temperature change. This alphabet soup is known as the Coefficient of Thermal Expansion. Each type of material has it’s own CTE. Aluminum is different than copper, this principal is used in thermostats through the use of a bi-metallic strip. Where this comes into play: Hot, molten metal of a certain mass is bigger than the same mass of metal when it is solid. This math comes into play when making the molds for your stove powered steam bombs. Your 30qt monster may be 2 or 3 inches smaller than the mold that shaped it, where as an 8qt may only be fractions of an inch smaller than it’s mold. I guess what I am saying is that your “blue whale” of a canner is much more technical to make than the pressure cookers that the other ladies have.

        I hope I didn’t get too nerdy, it is one of my faults.

        PS I love your blog/site! I have been sending all my gardening/canning/prepping/earth-mama friends to you for info and inspiration!

  7. I have had the 30qt All-American for about 20 years and let me say that I have never once regretted the purchase. I have canned just about everything you can imagine in this canner and have had only one complaint. The lid has to be carefully placed and the fasteners carefully tightened so that the lid is flat to seal properly and when I am tired at the end of a long day of canning, this can be more difficult than you would think.

  8. sparkytogo says:

    Several years ago a friend took two old All Americans out of a dumpster. I got one of them. After putting on a new gauge and weight to update it, this canner has become one of my favorites. (Yep, I collect canners, I guess.) I have a large canner that does 14 pints, a small canner that does seven pints, and several in between of various vintages. I also started updating them and teaching people to can! All this to say that my old AA is still going strong, and I love it. :)

  9. sparkytogo says:

    I guess what I should have said is that I get canners, update them with weighted gauges, test them, and then find them homes with people who want to can. I keep three or four for my personal use… lol.

    • Just Nick says:

      It’s OK, I collect slide rules. We’re down with hoarding arcane technologies here at Northwest Edible.

      • sparkytogo says:

        Slide rules, huh? :) In my entire life, I never collected anything. Now I love hand crank kitchen appliances, antique pressure cookers and canners, and oil lamps. At least I guess they are all useful, compared to beany babies… :)

        • I collect (and use) old cast iron fry pans, and antique kitchen utensils… must be usable – because they ALL get used… :)

          • Is it a collection when it’s vintage cast iron skillets, or just common sense? ;)

          • Lady Banksia says:

            Here, here… I second Marci’s words – I would call my gathered items ‘kitchen equipment’ as opposed to a ‘collection’ as it includes all the stuff I use, whether it be daily or seasonally. There’s little rhyme or reason to it, except that it is usable, and most times, used from thrift shops. If it goes in my kitchen, then it cannot be some shiny bauble or latest-craze space-hogging thing – it has to do the job the first time and every time.

        • I once bought a huge plastic 50-gallon trash bag full of tag-on, like-new beanie babies for $10 at a yard sale. We use them to decorate the Christmas tree. The kids can play with the ornaments all they want and undecorating is easy; we just shake the tree!

      • When the Zombie Apocalypse comes and all technology fails us, you’ll still be able to get rockets into space with your slide rule. And that might be really important.

    • That’s cool. My friend Fruit Lady has a way of finding steam juicers. I don’t know how she does it, she’s nabbed a half-dozen or so at thrift stores. She has three now I think and has passed several along to friends as she finds them. I’ll always be grateful for my $10 steam juicer!

      • I’ve seen steam juicers around second hand quite a bit too, and though I’m a bit of a canning collector, I never get one because they’re just so huge. What do you use yours for that you find worth the storage space? I’ve never even used one, but can imagine using them for excess free apples or something. It seems much more cost-and-nutrition-effective to can using the whole fruit, though. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

        • Two words: blackberry wine. :) We’re getting in the habit (two years running so far) of making country wines from gleaned and wild fruit, and the steam juicer makes it super easy to process all those berries into juice that we then ferment into wine. It’s also good for jelly makers and, or course, juice makers. My friend who deals in a lot of gleaned fruit does european and asian pear juice in hers for the kids. Last fall I did apple juice, then boiled that down into a sweetened syrup, from crab apples. It’s an effective way to juice hard fruit like that for us because we don’t have an apple press. The result is a bit different than a raw pressed cider of course, but we find it worthwhile to have. BUT, I also have a pretty decent amount of storage space in the kitchen and pantry, and if I were in really tight quarters I would prioritize mason jars over a steam juicer, for example.

          • Susan Stromvall says:

            Could you please share your blackberry wine recipe? We can pick as many wild blackberries as we want out here on the Olympic Peninsula and wine would be a nice change from jelly. I’ll even swap my blackberry jalapeno jelly recipe with you!!

  10. Thanks for blogging so forthrightly about your experience buying this pressure canner. The company did deal with you professionally, but in my opinion, you still didn’t get good customer service. Not responding to you until you told them you were a blogger is unacceptable. I agree that they should basically consider any and all of their customers to be bloggers, because even if they’re not, they’re going to get a lot of information off the web from one like you. Not polishing an item that costs $300 initially in order to save what? $60-$80? That makes no sense to me. If you’re willing to hand over $300 for an item that has a reputation for being the very best, in my opinion, you’d be just as willing to hand over $400.

    • I agree completely. I actually didn’t want to mention that I was a blogger at all, but was eager to get this post going and wanted to make sure they had a fair opportunity to respond before I presented the situation in a public forum.

  11. Congrats on entering the realm of pressure canning! Ours is a cheapo Presto from a late night Walmart trip when we suddenly decided that we were canning our stock starting NOW. We’ve been happy with it.

    I do agree that the first use is quite the thrill–there are few things you can do at home with the risk of explosion. Sadly, we did once have a stock explosion but it was when doing a 24 hour stock in one of our regular stainless steel pots at a bare simmer and the lid (fairly heavy and tight fitting) became glued down around the edge and then released when the pressure became too much. Thankfully, our tot was in another room but my poor hubby got some pretty good burns on his face, scalp and arm (he was doing dishes at the time). We certainly learned how important it is to only have the appropriate amount of pressure for the situation! No more tightly lidded stocks for us.

    • So glad your little one wasn’t scalded, but your poor husband! :( The dangers of normal simmering pots like that aren’t really considered. Good warning.

  12. Tom Gibson says:

    Congrats on the All-American. Although they are at the pinnacle of the heap in terms of quality, I decided they weren’t worth the price when you can get new and used Prestos for less or far less than a $100. I don’t expect in my lifetime to have to buy anywhere near that many gaskets and Presto has a 5-10-15 lb weight kit upgrade to replace the pressure guage so I don’t have to worry about testing that every year.

    • Good to know about the weight upgrade. That may play into my decision making should I need a second pressure canner. “Need” being a relative term, of course…

      • thesoundgirl says:

        My Presto 16 qt. canner, purchased from Walmart, does have the weights instead of the dial gauge. It’s model #01745 (in the upper right hand corner of each side of the box). (As opposed to model #01755, which is listed on Amazon, and has the gauge instead.) Availability seems to depend on your particular store.

  13. You’ll love your new tool, trust me… and with time, yes, it will acquire plenty of dings and love-taps from a lifetime of service- freeing your freezer from stock and stock-bits alone will make it pay for itself pretty quickly! I inherited an AA 921 from my Granny, and I think of her, canning beans and tomatoes in a steaming southern kitchen, every time I use it- it’s one of my most treasured possessions!

    Tell Homebrew Husband (as soon as you’re ready to share your new toy) that he can can up extra wort (brew a small beer from high-gravity batches and this is free! Or any extra sparge water that won’t fit in the brew-kettle can be set aside for this too) and use it to make quick and easy yeast starters when he brews… a good way to ensure a vigorous fermentation, test questionable or out-of-date yeast, or brew a bigger or higher gravity beer with only one yeast packet (those add up at $6-7 per batch, more if you’re brewing bigger batches! We’re talkin’ negabucks, here!). Process for 10 minutes or so at 10psi, label them so you don’t confuse wort for beef stock, and set it on the shelf. Before you brew, dunk the sealed jar in some Star-San, pop the top, pour it into a jug or Erlenmeyer flask, spin it on a stir-plate if you’re feeling fancy or like gadgets, airlock it, and brew in a day or two. Your beer will kick-over super fast. Ta da! Canning fun for everyone!

    • Apparently there are ways to turn a pressure canner into a still, too…not that we are researching that or anything…::cough, cough:: Thanks for the wort tip, that’s a great idea.

      • Why yes, yes there is a way! :)

        • Edith Reardon says:

          Okay, all my work has still not supplied we with a Canadian supplier close to me. Why is it free shipping in the states and Amazon.com price of $199. The same pot thru Amazon.ca is $311 with free shipping in Canada. If I order it from Amazon.com I pay $82 shipping and a $39 import fee. Then of course to get it over the border I pay duty so it ends up cheaper to pay the $311. Wrote the head office of All America and they told me just to look in the local hardware stores till I found one. They could not supply me with a list of Canadian suppliers. I guess in the fall I could phone around for hours within 100 miles of me and see if anyone has one. Looks like I might just have to buy the cheap Presto for $126 that is on everyones shelves here. I will look when I’m in Vancouver next month but then it is a hassle to get it on a plane.

  14. Veronica B says:

    Wow, just like you said, good, bad, and ugly. I asked my husband for this exact one for my birthday in August. Like you said, it came very highly recommended and I love the fact it is made in the USA. I will pay more money for this type of product, but come on, they have to have more respect for the market that they are trying to compete for. ++++ for Amazon.

    • I’d be interested to hear how your canner looks when it arrives in August, should you be willing to report back…. My hope is that this was just a fluke, and dumb luck it happened to me. I still hold out hope for All American. :)

  15. I’d have to sympathize with All American here, who is paying the price to produce an item under fair labor conditions. Amazon, on the other hand, is making a billion dollars reselling a lot of crap produced overseas with questionable to outrageous labor standards. I know it hurts to pay the actual cost of something big, when we are so used to passing the buck to little brown people elsewhere. I myself have not been able to quit low prices.
    I totally agree that customer service should always be fantastic, that it pays off in the end, but I just think Amazon is in an awfully comfortable place. Easy to suck up $150 ( or whatever it cost them) when you’re sitting on a million.

    • This isn’t an All-American vs Amazon situation. All-American isn’t competing with Amazon any more than your blog is competing with WordPress. Amazon isn’t manufacturing anything, except maybe the Kindle, under outrageous labor standards. They certainly aren’t manufacturing pressure canners. They are a marketplace where everything from happy hippy Made In America products to cheap plastic crap can be evaluated and purchased by consumers. So at the end of the day it’s how customers spend their money that drives who comes out on top. All-American will never be able to compete on price, so they shouldn’t try to. That means they need to compete on quality. I believe there is a strong market that will support a superior quality pressure canning product such as All-American strives to offer at a fair, higher-than-Chinese-import price. But when a company is competing on quality, that quality needs to be delivered every single time, with consistent care and attention to detail. All-American failed in that with the canner I received. My concern is that, in an effort to compete on price, which they can’t do, All-American is undermining their consistent superior quality and therefore the one area where they do have a competitive advantage. If so, this is a strategy that will eventually backfire. In any event, if Amazon is in a comfortable place to offer excellent customer service, perhaps this is a reflection that they have consistently offered excellent customer service and have been rewarded for doing so.

      • No, “Amazon isn’t manufacturing anything” but they (and people who buy from them) are killing local stores. Consider carefully if you need “whatever” enough to buy it, then it might be worth the extra few dollars to keep local jobs, stores etc.

        Could your local hardware store have ordered the canner for you or could you buy it straight from the manufacturer?

        Shop locally unless you want a world with only a few big box stores and amazon.

        • Amazon and AA are BOTH killing local stores, not to mention ordering on line tax free, who are you kidding? If I could go down to my local hardware or kitchenware store and even find a AA pressure canner on the shelf, I would in a heartbeat because I have been looking. However that is not possible because a search shows NO ONE, no brick and mortar local stores carry the AA, but I can buy a Presto in some locations. So who exactly is killing local stores? Local stores are not going to carry items like AA canners at that price point especially if they look like crap! A lot of American manufactured items are junk these days… I remember back in the 60′s that was what “made in Japan” meant, my oh my how things have changed. We did this to ourselves.

  16. Amy Barnett says:

    A few years ago, my mother-in-law gave me her Presto pressure canner, which she had gotten years before from her mother. After three generations it is still going strong. I have had to replace the gauge and gasket once, and keep a spare gasket on hand. I like to think about the history of my canner when I use it. I just wish it was a different color, it’s a hideous orangey yellow, and at the rate it’s going, it will be around forever, as a warning against buying durable tools in trendy colors!

  17. Debra Simmons says:

    Hi Erica,
    I just received MY All American 21 1/2 Qrt Canner yesterday and opened the box this morning. After reading your story, I scoured over my canner looking for flaws. Although I do see very tiny specks in the top, nothing like the pitted marks you experienced in yours, nothing seems to be wrong with mine. I have spent months researching, reading, asking everyone I know who cans, trying to decide which canner to order and I would have been extremely upset had I received the canner you received. You handled your situation very well. ;)) While the factory seemed somewhat helpful, I think they could have done a much better job providing customer satisfaction in you case. Thankfully, you had ordered from Amazon (so did I) and they exchanged it for you. I’m looking forward to hearing what you are canning in the coming months! Happy Canning!

  18. I am so glad in the final outcome. Don’t you just love it when a company reacts so positively towards their customers? I will remember All American when and if I decide to graduate to pressure canning!

    • Excellent – but remember Amazon too, since they are the folks who really took care of me when the situation was frustrating. ;)

  19. Max Morgan says:

    Can someone please recommend a good water bath canner that will work on a smooth, glass top stove?

    • Darrell says:

      Don’t limit yourself to a special purpose waterbath canner. Any stockpot with a lid, wide enough to accomodate your jars, and cover the jars with 1-2 inches of water will do the job and be good for something else.
      Special purpose waterbath canners are usually thin steel granite ware pots which are not good for any other cooking activity except tamales. Burning and scorching is their strong suit.
      You probably have a suitable pot already.
      You just need to rethink what will work for your purpose. If all you do is pint or half-pint jars, a pasta pot you already have will get the job done.
      Put the jars in the pasta strainer and pull the strainer when the time is up. Easier than a jar lifter. Better than the jar rack in a cheap waterbath canner.
      Two smaller canners are better for your flat top burners anyway. They return to boiling sooner and are certaintly lighter and easier to move around.
      I see good quality used stockpots in thrift stores all the time. Thick wall aluminum commercial quality for pennies on the dollar. Used stainless pasta pots for $2-3.
      Good Luck
      Darrell

      • Max Morgan says:

        Darrell – thanks for taking the time to write a such a detailed response. I appreciate it, and a shout out to Erica as well for providing us with this great forum in which to exchange self-sufficiency and gardening tips. You guys rock!
        Max

    • Thanks Max. :) I’m with Darrell. Although I have an enameled canner and do use it, I made do with my large stock pots for a long time. The only advantage of the canner is that it’s wide enough for 7 qt jars, whereas the stockpots were tall enough but narrower, so they could only hold 3 or 4 quarts. I like restaurant supply places for good value large pots if you can’t find used. Not necessarily the dead cheapest, but you can get really heavy duty aluminum or stainless-clad aluminum for way less than lighter-weight new products elsewhere. Darrell has a good point about two smaller pots being lighter, etc. but consider how much you like to can at once and how many burners you have. I have a big stove, so it’s not an issue for me to have multiple things going at once, but if you only have a two burner stove and one of those burners needs to be keeping your preserve hot as you ladle it into jars, and one needs to be full of boiling water….well, then having two canning pots going at once isn’t so practical. I also tend to do things as “big projects” – like 100 pounds of tomatoes at a time, which is almost impossible without larger scale equipment. But if you are able to do a few jars every other day as you make dinner, then downscaling everything can actually be more peaceful, too.

    • Tom Gibson says:

      You probably can’t use a canner on a glass top stove. It isn’t the canner but the way the stoves work. They don’t provide a continuous source of heat. They turn off when the top gets too hot and turn back on again when they cool down. That might not be so bad for water bath canning but might not work at all for pressure canning. It isn’t which canner you have but which stove you have. Call the stove manufacturer and ask them if their product can maintain canning pressure with up to 50 lbs of canner on the stove top (8 lbs per gallon of water plus whatever).

      • Tammygrrrl says:

        I’ve been canning with my glass top range for 10 years now, no problems. It maybe takes a little longer to build up heat and pressure, but has no problem maintaining it. I’ve just heard not to use porcelain coated cookware, as the heat can fuse the porcelain to the cooktop. Scary!

        • Susan Stromvall says:

          Ditto on my glass top stove. I use a giant stock pot for water bath canning and a 20 qt AA for pressure canning. Never had any problem. It does take a while to build up heat but I always attributed that to electric heat. I also use a steam juicer on the stove.

          • I’ve been using Le Crueset enamel cookware on my glass top stove for over 7 years and have never had a problem, but I’ve been terrified to try the All American Canner on my glass top. I’ve had the AA for over a year, but have never used it. The base circumference of the AA is alsa larger than the range burner and I’m wondering if that fact might damage the glass.

          • Not all glass tops are made the same. Most glass top stoves work with a thermostat that limits the temperature of the glass top to protect it from damage. The heat cycles on and off to do that. If the temperature on the top varies to greatly then your pressure/temperature will drop below the recommended setting. Some stoves can pressure can low acid foods correctly but most cannot. Early and cheaper glass tops had temperature fluctuations that vary too greatly to keep the temperature above the minimum recommended canning temperature/pressure. Once the pressure/temperature drops below the minimum you have to start your time over from the beginning again. Your manufacturer can tell you whether your glass top stove is safe to can with or you can test it yourself by just canning some water or foods that don’t require but will stand up to pressure canning.

          • Susan Stromvall says:

            Thank you Tom, for your excellent info! I’m calling GE today to see what they say. It’s high end for GE but not that new. We’ll see.

  20. i can and use a much less expensive canner. i know, i know, many of you swear that the american canner is worth the money. sorry, i don’t buy it. i have used a canner for many years a presto as a matter of fact and paid around 83.00 for the 23 qt. i have never had any issues with it. if i ever have to replace the gasket, it’s not that expensive. minimal expense. mine is polished and shiny and has absolutely no pitting or bubbles. that seems like an excuse to me for selling a poor quality product relying more on the name than the actual product. i would not be able to live with flaws on something i paid 300.00 or even the 200.00 one.

    amazon DOES have amazing customer service. too bad all american canner doesn’.t i find it hard to trust a company that claims to be “all american” but has “customer service” a continent away….just sayin’. :)

    thanks for the review. now i don’t feel “less than” by using my NOT ALL AMERICAN CANNER when i put up the bounty of my garden. ;P

  21. Rashid Patch says:

    I had a whole squad of pressure canners ranging from a small 3-qt up to the 30 qt All-American that I used for 40 years (then there was the divorce, three moves, and one fire…). I miss them all, even though I no longer cook regularly for 100+ people at retreat camps…

    Pitting like you had on the cover of the All-American can be caused by salty or acidic splashes – be sure to clean, rinse thoroughly, and dry your canner well before putting it away. The gouge in the base was rather worrying, though. I would have sent that back as a safety defect; I’d demand full thickness in the pressure vessel even if the thickness of the metal had a 200% over-rating designed in – for pressure canners, or nuclear reactors.

  22. Allen In AK says:

    I keep waiting for my mom to pass hers along, but I think as long as she has breath she will be using it, and I dont want her to quit breathing so I may have to just buy my own…

  23. I used to have a pressure canner…I did my canning in a little 19 foot trailer, while waiting for some land to be cleared for a garden and a house. However, canning on a gas stove has to be better than canning on an electric one. I now have an electric stove I hate, but it came with the apartment I’m in. In order to lower the heat under a pot, I have to remove the pot from the burner and wait for the burner to cool down, guessing about when to put the pot back on the burner. I’d like to hear about anyone else who uses an electric stove to do pressure canning….mine has a flat glass top, so the burners are not directly under the pot.

    • My old home had a glass top stove…. I canned on it just fine. The most important issue is whether or not the bottom of your canner is totally flat…. If if it is NOT flat, then the canner wobbles and worries you the whole time, but it will work… I did however worry too much about whether that was safe to be wobbling all that weight on the glass top.

      One of my canners was perfectly flat, so I went to using only that one, and not the wavy bottomed one. For speed, I prefer to have two or even 3 canners going in various stages. I love my PRESTO’s ! For this house, I bought an old fashioned cheap electric stove :) With the burner rings.

      The ONLY reason I bought an All American for my third canner was that I was looking for a much smaller canner, for the little jobs, and looking to old age and how heavy the big Presto’s are. All American was the only Tiny pressure Canner I could find that looked like it would work for me.

      • Tom Gibson says:

        The most important thing about a glass top stove is NOT whether your canner is flat or not. Most glass top stoves have a thermostat on the glass that turns off the heat when the glass gets too hot as happens when you have a huge pot at high temperature sitting for a very long time on the stove. This power cycling of the burner causes pressure/tempurature fluctuations which might make your canned goods unsafe. Remember, if the pressure drops too low then you have to bring it back up and start your time all over again. That isn’t possible on all glass topped stoves. The best way to tell if you stove can process safely is to contact the manufacturer and ask.

        • Tita Sokoloff says:

          Hi Tom or Erica,
          Great article. It has answered a lot of questions for me, but also has raised other issues. I am shortly receiving the AA 925 as a gift, and was sooo excited to finally be getting this….but had never considered that I may have a problem with my stove. I have a glass top stove which does have power cycling and I have just found out that the manufacturer does not recommend using a canner. So, as someone has suggested, I could get a supplemental type burner and use it outside with a propane tank. The problem now is that I can’t find a burner that seems large enough to accomodate the size of the base of the 925 pot. Does anyone have any experience with this type of problem? Any recommendations on a large burner free-standing burner, gas or electric ?
          Many Thanks,
          Tita

  24. Tom Gibson above answered my question….Thanks!

  25. I was unbelievably blessed to find TWO All-American canners second-hand at different times, one medium $20 and one large (a tall one that can fit 2 layers) $30. Don’t hate me! They were in basically perfect condition. But I’m in Canada and we don’t have extension offices to get dial pressure gauges checked. I’ve even written the govt food safety people and haven’t heard back. I have heard that weights are better anyway, so I guess I should spring for them.

    • The All-Americans came with weights, right? If not I think they are easy to get as an accessory. The booklet that came with mine says, basically, the weight is where the reliability is, the dial is just to help you know when to open the canner back up.

  26. Edith Reardon says:

    I’ve been trying to find a local supplier or even semi-local. Still looking for the companies website, seems to be easier to find suppliers. There are 2 or 3 of us looking to see if we can find a All American canner close to us in Grande Prairie Ab Canada. Shipping to us in Canada by Amazon.com is $82 plus a $39 importers fee. I will have to pay duty on top of that so looking for a supplier that is close.

  27. Sgt.Joe says:

    Erica
    I thank you for such a well written and detailed description of your experience with All American and Amazon. I was getting ready to order the 30 qt. from Amazon when I ran across your blog, I will in fact still order the canner, however I would be willing to pay the extra $60.00 for an item that should be highly polished with no imperfections at all and should last not only my lifetime of usage but hopefully my Grand Children’s ( note* I was just informed by my Daughter that I am going to be a Gramp – OH YEAH!!!) I am actually going to try and reach John at All American and see if a polished version can be purchased. Now please do not get me wrong, I am a medically retired combat veteran from the first Gulf War and do my best on a very small income from the VA so this is a major purchase for myself and my wife whom has been my best friend since kindergarden. I farm a small acreage micro farm for honey,veggies,fruit and meat for our own self sustainment and a canner of this nature is not a luxury ,but a necessity for us. Again thank You for such a well put article. With your permission if it was to become necessary I would like to include a link to your blog to All American as I request a polished canner and remind John that American made and American quality should be just that – quality.
    Sincerely: Sgt. Joe of South Eastern Ky.

    • Dear Sgt. Joe, Congrats on your upcoming grandpapa-hood and thank you for your kind comment and your service, sir. Of course you may share a link to this post for whatever purpose, though I suspect All American has seen this article. Good luck with your pressure canner – though the buying of mine was a bit fraught I will say I am very satisfied with the quality of use and the volume is perfect for big preserving projects. Just a few days ago I popped open a can of fish stock from the pantry and made soup for a last minute dinner. It was so convenient! This summer I plan on putting up more ready to eat foods – soups, stews and meat-based stuff. Best of luck, and thanks again for your comment. :) – Erica

  28. Hello , Eric
    Thanks for your article
    The All-Americans came with weights, right? If not I think they are easy to get as an accessory.
    Really it will help lot of people. Thanks for the post.

    Thanks

  29. Wow, that’s a disappointment! I would also not be pleased to receive a canner like that, to say the least. I do understand the point of cost, but I think that All American should give their customers an option to either have a polished version or not. As All American, I would certainly upgrade my customer service section; ‘Someone will cal you back tomorrow.’ Pff. The Amazon service is like I know it, good, fast and no questions asked.
    Apart from that, canning is in my mind one of the best ways to prepare food: fast (cutting heating cost) and healthy (most of the goodies stay in the food)!

  30. I’ve been looking for a new canner and am curious how the use of your canner has been going since you originally wrote the post?

    • I can’t complain. The AA 30 qt. is a workhorse. I’ve been very happy with it functionally, and I adore the ability to pressure can. (Stock! Spaghetti Sauce with Meat! Braised Pork Shoulder! More Stock!) I stand by my original advice, though: get it someplace (like Amazon) that won’t make returns a pain for you, or buy it from a local place, if you can find one that stocks it, where you can inspect the exact one you’ll be owning before you buy.

  31. Great post. Love the details and personal information/emotion on this purchase. One questions, semi related. Can you use a pressure canner as a pressure cooker?

  32. Truthfully, I think All American is missing out on an opportunity here. There are many who need to stretch their wallets to buy a $200-$300 pressure canner. There are others who wouldn’t bat an eye at the ca$h – but would want the best of the best.

    I believe All American needs to make two lines. The exact same product, but one that is “base/functional line”, and the other which is “Premier Kitchen” line. The only difference being the latter would be polished and sold for an extra $60-$100.

    Sure you, me and joe-average will simply buy the functional, knowing that it will do all that we need, even if it doesn’t look purty. But many, let’s say in Fairfield, CT…would purchase the more expensive “polished” version. (heck, maybe they stick on a fancier, classier looking valve too). They’d buy it, because when it sits on the shelf in their kitchen or pantry, it will “look attractive” too.

    This could also raise some extra revenue, and perhaps improve their bottom line.

    (Perhaps John might read this and consider the advice…seems other posters agree.)

    • Leo Girardi says:

      Seriously? Who keeps their canner in the china cabinet in the dinning room? What do you care what it looks like as far as “polished” etc? really? I have De Buyer steel pans that you would call ugly and dirty, cooks call it a patina. I have All-Clad LTD cookware that is not pristine on the outside, they are pristine on the inside. I even have some cast iron that has a little rust on the outside, but has a beautiful nonstick interior. My friends comment on how good my food is, not how my cookware looks.

      If you want, you can pay someone to polish your purchases. People buy offroad vehicles and add accessories to them, bumpers, lifts/shocks, winches, racks, tires. They don’t whine about “why doesn’t the manufacturer offer an SUV that’s 40% more with the add ins. You buy the vehicle because it’s good, then you can put chrome on it, or a big metal work bumper. The pressure canner is a big metal work bumper.

      • I think you’re missing the point, Leo. It is a matter of principle. Bottom line – a product that is billed AND priced as top of the line should not be pitted, scraped, dented or otherwise marred in anyway fresh out of the box. The company should have been appalled at what left their factory and should have offered to replace it, no questions asked. All of these responders are rooting for AA , despite the price of the product – because they want the quality they paid for and because they’re proud of “made in america”. It’s misrepresentation to advertise and sell based on quality when that quality is deliberately and knowingly compromised to cut costs. AA has it wrong. They are creating expectations that they are not living up to. I agree with the others who have concluded that this will bite them in the long run.

        Personally, I don’t believe in a disposable society and I feel we should all buy the highest quality we can afford. I’m fortunate in that I can pay more and am willing to for that extra quality, but I also don’t throw my money around and I know that higher price doesn’t not always equal better performance. I was prepared to buy an AA and now I’m having serious second thoughts. I would rather give my money to a company who stands by its product positioning, even if the product is sold on price point, rather than higher end functionality and durability.

  33. This was a wonderful article! Thank you so much for the insight, and for sharing your experience online. It’s always good to read about people dealing with service issues instead of just complaining about it. Or worst, getting really angry and calling the company searching for a neck to wring.

    I hope to buy one of these canners soon.

  34. Erica ,Thanks for the information and your blog ,we have 2 Presto canners and they serve well, the supersize AA unit would be a nice addition speeding up the process which can get long at times ,the price is a little steep but after all it’s a lifetime investment . Our dream is to someday own the big 2 layer one .
    We love home grown and food made with old fashion quality,with canning being a great way to preserve the summer harvest for the long Wisconsin winters .

  35. I’m just getting started with garden, food preservation, and a new website. I was searching for gasketless pressure canner and found your website. Very impressive writing. I enjoyed reading your article about the All American Pressure caner and learned not just about the pressure caner but also a little about quality writing. I like the way you take the time to explain your thoughts. I have a bad quality of trying to be too brief. You have given me some ideas that I think will improve my writing style.
    I plan to get a pressure caner, it will most likely be an All American but haven’t decided on what size to buy.

  36. I have been canning for several years and felt the need to chime in here. The only pressure canners I have ever used were hand-me-downs that were decades old with many quirks. Broken handles that were rigged up in various ways, lids that were near impossible to get off due to previous neglect (if you have an old canner like this, us petroleum jelly to lubricate it before securing the lid; oil will bake on and cause it to stick more), dial gauges that will not work properly till you give them a few good thumps, petcocks that did not work properly, vents that stick or fall off, and so on. To top it off, none of these canners look/looked nice. ALL were/are very ugly. I’m sure they all started off looking shiny and new with maybe a few small blemishes, but after many years of solid use, they are 100% ugly … but they still work!! Paying $60 extra dollars for a nicely polished, shiny new canner makes no sense at all unless your only purpose for buying it is to have it on display in a cabinet, never to be used.

    I have finally decided to purchase an All American – I see it like a good pair of work boots. With all the canning I do, it only makes sense to spend the extra money on a high-quality canner. The difference is, only one person can use the work boots and they must be replaced every year or less, whereas a canner can be shared with others and lasts for generations (even with nicks, dents, scratches, stains, etc.) if taken care of properly.

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  39. Monica Bonynge says:

    I was so happy to read your blog as I just purchased the All American 21 1/2 qt yesterday from Amazon. I can’t wait to see how it looks when I get it. While I am here, I am also seeking advice. I am new to canning and we tried doing some chicken last weekend. For the pressure cooker/canner we had we followed the directions to a “T”. We pre-cooked the chicken to 2/3 of the way done, filled our jars, poured the broth in etc. We live in Colorado and due to our altitude it said to keep it at 13psi for 90 minutes and if the psi dropped below 13, to start over. We shoot it ranged from 12-14 the entire time and there was nothing we could do. We adjusted the temp on the stove numerous times but it still would range between 12 and 14. The jars sealed and it looks fine but my question is, is it fine? Since we could not keep it at the psi the entire time, is the meat fine? My dad has canned for yrs and he says yes, it is. But I need to be sure, especially since I want to do a lot more when I get my All American. I sent the other back as we were just not happy with it. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  40. Thanks for the unbiased review of your experience. I hope it’s a one-off, too. This sounds like a real heritage brand.

    Looking at the beautiful pictures on their website makes me think this is the brand my grandma used. Grandpa owned a hardware store in a small farming town and the man was serious about hard-working equipment. He had a meticulous garden into his 90’s and grandma had the ultimate ‘hippy pantry’… back then that’s just how it was done. I’m going to ask around and find out who ended up with her pressure cooker / canner and see if they’re still using it. This is the kind of equipment that would just be a crime to leave on the shelf in the basement.

    • My husband confirmed that my grandma had an All American. He suggested that rather than taking it out of the hands of a relative who might want it strictly for sentimental reasons, even if they’re not using it, that we go buy our own. Woo hoo! Livin’ large! :)

  41. Heya i amm for the first time here. I came across this board and
    I find It trfuly seful & it helped me out much.
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  42. Thx for posting this very informative and important product quality issue. I am in the market for a pressure cooker and I’m glad a came across your story.
    Thank you

  43. I’m so upset with the quality of my All-American Pressure Canner as well and now I’ve discovered that their 1-yr warranty is a complete scam!

    I too ordered wanted to invest in the best, so that it would last a lifetime. The best price I could find was also on Amazon. It was an “open box” but supposedly in like-new condition. When I got it, it didn’t even appear to have been used, simply in a different box, but everything seemed good. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything that needed to be canned until I was outside of my Amazon return period. Turns out the pressure gauge was bent (the foil circle on the inside was bent so that the dial couldn’t move freely). I couldn’t return it though, so I had my husband drill a tiny hole in the plastic and bend it back so that the dial could move. I was able to can a batch just fine, so I hoped we’d be good. Then the first time it was used on a gas stove (second use ever), the pan warped and could no longer be used on a regular stove.

    I called the company (spoke to John) and explained everything and how the pan wouldn’t sit flat, but I was still within the 1-year warranty period. I was given a return authorization number and told to simply send it back and they’d take care of it. So I spent $35 to mail back the pan, only to get a bill from them for $215 for a repair. That’s more than I’d originally spent on it!! When I called irate, John said they’ve been doing this for 30 years and know these pans inside and out and it’s always user error. Are you kidding me! Why would they tell me to simply spend the money to mail it back if they NEVER actually warranty them. I’ll tell you why, because I’ve now lost my $200 (defective) pan, unless I want to spend another $35 for them to ship it back to me broken. So I’ll have spent $270 for the BROKEN pressure canner of my dreams.

    I’m so angry, this is such a dishonest company! When I told them that I felt it was defective, they should’ve explained to me that if I spent the money to send it back, it would be a big risk for me, instead of acting like they’d put everything right!!!

    • Wow…..I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’ve been dealing with about a half-dozen similar situations – with Apple computer, among them – and it seems endless. Like we all have nothing better to do than chase company’s down to get them to fix what should never have been broken in the first place. Its to avoid this kind of experience that I try to buy the best I can afford. Seems that strategy isn’t worth much these days. Referring to my earlier post above, this is exactly why I’d rather do business with a company that sets appropriate expectations, even if their product is marginally inferior. When you buy a high end product only to find it isn’t high end after all, that’s deliberate misrepresentation. If the company can stoop to misrepresentation to sell its products, what faith can you reasonably have that they’ll stand behind the product downstream? AA is clearly demonstrating that they are not a dependable, ethical manufacturer and after reading this post, I’ll be taking my money elsewhere. The Fagor Duo has gotten good reviews. Anyone have any experience with it?

  44. For those having a hard time getting the lid off, I came across this advice on a dehydrating site about a year ago.
    Loosen all the “hold-down” bolts, then using only one, start to slowly screw it down. Even though the lid and bottom are basically even, the pressure on only one side will cause the lid to “burp”. Top comes off easily. I’ve only had to try it once, but it worked. Most of the time I can get the lid up (but not off) immediately after the pressure valve drops back down, then I leave the lid in place till it cools before I remove it.

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