Questions & Answers with The Wolf Pack : Pressure Canner vs. Food Saver Vacuum Sealer

If you would like both a pressure canner and a food saver vacuum sealer, but can only afford one at this time, which would purchase first and why?  Thank you for your help and advice – it is greatly appreciated…

Susy

Comments

  1. I Have a canner and about 50 jars that I’ve never used. Canning seems like it’s more for preserving the veggies you’ve grown. I don’t have a vacuum sealer but it is on my list things I plan on getting soon. I’m just now at the researching phase and I planned on asking the pack tomorrow for input on what they liked about theirs and what they would change if they bought another one. In my thinking,it seems like I would get far more use out of a vacuum sealer with the mason jar vacuum capability,than I would the canner. Just my thoughts because it seems we are making the same kind of moves in the direction of food preservation.

    • Mother Earth says:

      Bctruck, I have both models of the Foodsaver. The upright (more automatic) and the flat model. Both work equally the same for me. The upright uses a little more bag as it is “fed” into the sealer but then it’s one button. The flat model has a couple of steps more as you put the bag ends in and then close the lid and push the button. To be honest, even though the upright is easier, I prefer the flat model. As to the reason I have both…I process an entire beef and two make it quicker.

      Comparing a Foodsaver to a canner…the Foodsaver for me is heavy on electricity as most of the stuff goes in the freezer. With a canner, I don’t need electricity and I can a lot of our food which will last a long time.

      Please note, when I know longer have electricity, I won’t be eating beef.

      • Agree. In addition food savor bags break down over time and can’t be reused. Well they can be reused to a degree if cleaned out and the old seal cut off. Of course this makes the bag smaller each time you do that.
        Jars on the other hand can be used over millions of times as long as they aren’t chipped on the rims. Then again you need to have a large supply of seals and rings.
        On the other hand vacuum sealed bags are much lighter in weight than jars.
        If you have enough oxygen absorbers you can vacuum seal a jar with one as well as mylar bags.

        • ***Jars on the other hand can be used over millions of times as long as they aren’t chipped on the rims. Then again you need to have a large supply of seals and rings.***

          Not for sealing. I have used the lids multiple times.
          Be careful how you remove them and they can be used for years.

        • they have reusable lids now – takes a batch or two to get used to them; but they can be used MANY times over (pricey-but sometimes they go on sale)

      • Why won’t you be eating beef ? It cans quite well, either as plain meat or already made into meals. We can beef stew, taco meat (hamburger with McCormick seasoning), chili, spaghetti sauce, etc. Grab a jar, heat and eat.

        As to a canner vs a sealer…..canner no question. Sealer is fine for bags going in freezer (mainly, yes, there are other uses). What should concern you as a prepper is the day the electricity is gone.

        • Mother Earth says:

          TnAndy, I packaged the entire 650+ pounds by myself! That’s why I said no more if I don’t have a freezer. If I have a lot of help and it’s really cold, I would can a beef.

        • You use a brake bleeder for sealing in those mason jars.
          I do it and it works well.

  2. I opted for the vac sealer. We do not have a garden at this time, so the sealer was an obvious option. I am still in my beginnings of prepping. She has had quite a workout the two weeks I have had her. I use it to repackage meat I buy at Sam’s to meal size portions and frozen veggies so they take up less room. Space in my side by side is a premium so I am constantly “Tetrisizing” it. I have also used it to repack flour and many other pantry items.

    I still need to find affordable Mylar bags that work with it….

    • i don’t know if you eat potato chips but i know a lady who reuses potato chip bags. i thought someone on this site mentioned it once, also. said they are made of mylar.

  3. Nebraska Woman says:

    I’d opt for the pressure canner simply because electricity is unreliable; my root cellar is not.
    I oven can my flours and they stay fresh about 6 months to a year longer than if I didn’t.

    • do you then vacuum seal the flour? i read about oven canning in countryside magazine but vacuum sealing wasn’t mentioned. i thought it was a great mouse-proof idea. maybe you could write a bit about oven canning for this site? just a thought.

      • Nebraska Woman says:

        It’s simple. I use quart canning jars in the oven at @250 degrees for one hour. Remove (be careful…HOT) and immediately put lids on. Listen for popping.
        I do 6 at a time on my small cookie sheet.
        I also will put flour in freezer; I try to use it within 6 months. However, with not a lot of baking done anymore, I prefer to oven can.
        No, I do not use a vacuum sealer.
        Good luck!

      • For Flour and Rice I buy at the dollar store the Vacuum seal bags for clothing. I leave the bags of rice and flour intact and put them in these bags (Which are re-usable) and I found I can get about another 8 months with the flour and with the rice I have had some stored this way for about three years with zero problems. As I have taken some and used it to check for quality issues. I also have a pressure canner and I find I use it more than the food saver bags I have. When we process meat for the freezer we assume it is only going to be for short storage as during a grid down the food saver bags will be no good. So I can the rest for long time food storage.

        • Desert Fox says:

          A pressure canner does not need electricity as long as you maintain a specific temperature. So canning when the shift occurs is duable. When sealing any meat or fish using a vacuum sealer, I always use those bags you use when buying veggies at the supermarket to pack individual servings and then vacuum sealing them (or not). You can buy a roll of those veggie bags for about $25 from the same supermarket, and they last a long…long…time! I pack several individual bags in a freezer bag . It keeps them fresh much longer.

  4. Hobbitt of the Shire says:

    I prefer to use a canner for my storage. If you make soups or chili, you are able to can it in jars for prepared meals that are shelf stable.

    Fruits, vegetables, and even meats are able to be canned without much fuss. Using dehydrated items, you can even make meals to put in jars on the shelf. Then all you have to do is add water and cook to re-hydrate.

    You have the options of pressure canning, oven canning, or just vacuum sealing to preserve foods.

  5. I’d go with the pressure canner as well.

    If you’re storing a lot of beans and rice – think how much more tasty your meals would be with a pint of canned sausage, or hamburger, etc in it. I can a LOT of that stuff – I don’t want to survive, I want to THRIVE when TSHTF, and still make my DH tasty meals – not just boring survival food.

    And, if you’ve never canned before, I’d be more than happy to give you pointers for safe pressure canning – as would many here on the site.

    • I would like to purchase a canner. ???Someone here made mention of canning sausage. This may sound stupid, but don’t know. Can I purchase sausage from store(Jimmy Dean, etc) and can that?
      Thanks!!

      • Ohio Surveyor says:

        Yes you can can sausage….and kielbasa and hamburger…even hotdogs…I have canned all of them…..

  6. William J Zaspel says:

    I don’t have either and covet both but my plan is to use the vacuum sealer for dry good like beans/rice/spices and the canner for wet products like chili/soups/produce.

    • If you seal rice in a food saver bag be careful the rice pokes holes in the bag and no more seal

      • thank you for the advice. about rice. it was nice.

        • CountryVet says:

          That is easy enough to remedy. Just line inside of bad wtih CHEAP paper towel. Works great for anything that might puncture bags such as dehydrated bellpepper, fruits. tec.

          • Paper towels! I’ll try that. I’ve been using zip locking bags inside the foodsaver bags when I seal up rice or popcorn, which saves the outer heat-sealed bag from getting those pesky holes. They also remain clear, with the contents visible.
            Dry groceries can be sealed in a canning jar too. I’m lucky to have a source of used jars, so the cost ends up about the same.

      • Put the dry goods in a paper lunch bag and it will solve that problem.

      • Desert Fox says:

        I’ve found that when storing white rice in a plastic container with an oxygen pak, it will keep for very long…however, be sure that when using it…wash it two or three times to take the starch out…It will taste fresh then. The starch is what might make it smell a bit “old” I’m eating rice that’s been kept for at least 15 years with gusto!

    • Try wrapping the rice in newspaper before using sealing bags for preserving

  7. I have and use both, but I would start with the sealer. I use mine almost every day; from sealing items for freezing, to long term storage, to just preservation. I do can meats, soups, etc. but buying jars and lids isn’t inexpensive so I tend to do things that would be more expensive to purchase. I can buy canned veggies and fruits fairly inexpensively and gardening in the TX hill country is not easy for me so those come from the store.

  8. I have owned both, and would say get the canner and supplies. It does not have to be a giant one either, a smaller 5 pint canner will do to start. When making soups or chili, just make a double batch, then can the other half after dinner for later. If you have done this 4 or 5 times, you already have a weeks worth of food in your storage plan! A weeks worth in food storage bags means room in your freezer that is not being used for daily stuff…. so it seems to just be in the way.

  9. oh, forgot to mention….. when you are not canning with it, you can cook with it! double duty!

  10. My wife and I had a sealer a few years back, it died after a lot of hard use. when we start up again, I think we are going to go the canning route, my wife has a few friends that can all the time and the big advantage that I see is that in the peak harvest times friends can get together and really get a lot done in one afternoon. down the road you do not need a freezer to keep your food safe. I think vac sealers are a present day convenience, where canning is more long term and more reliable in the crisis times.

  11. I’ve used both. Relative gave me her canning supplies and
    pressure canner. Jars take up more storage area, are breakable, heavy, and difficult to transport. Generally speaking more time consuming than vacumn sealing, along with more prep involved cleaning the jars, sealing in the canner, etc.

    Vacumn sealing less time consuming, food is more portable, takes up less storage space. I cook for 1 person. Leftovers are dried overnight in the dehydrator and vacumn sealed next morning. Or vacumn sealed and placed in freezer. I wash the bags and reuse. Bags are
    dishwasher safe.

    Other uses for vacumn sealer, seal sweaters to prevent moths. Old heirloom items. photos, important papers, over the counter meds or vitamins I purchase onsale, to extend the shelf life of the item.
    Took 100 rolls of toilet paper, removed the cardboard center roll. Placed rolls in sealer bag and sealed. Storage space saved by vacumn sealing toilet paper and paper towels.

    China mart in the auto dept, sells a voltage regulator allowing use of car battery vs household electricity to power the vacumn sealer and other small electric items.

    Live in humid area? Have items that rust? Seal these items in bags by ordering your bags in rolls vs pre-cut.
    Shop around for the bags. Order online to save $$$

    • lyn, you smart thing!! do you oven can the dehydrated food or just vacuum seal in a jar? can they [dried foods] be vacuum sealed in jars? what is the shelf life.
      when you use the bags what do you put them in to discourage the occasional bug? many thanks. i have been looking for this info. the tip about using a car battery is most helpful.
      as you can tell i am pitifully igernant.

      • Wasp,
        One of my first purchases was a good dehydrator. Drying in oven wasn’t option due to weather where I live…HOT most of year. Dehydrator saves $$$ over using the oven for hours.
        For short term storage, ie opened bagged dehydrated foods or spices, I vac seal in jars. Also, fresh lettuce or green, vac seal in jars then put in fridge. Salads, lettuces last 2-3 weeks vac sealed in jars.
        Storing dehydrated fruits / veggies in vac bags…shelf life if stored properly, dark, dry, less than 75 degrees, 20+ years.
        Store bags of food in rubbermaid plastic totes or food grade buckets. I use Diatomous Earth sprinkled in the bottom of my storage containers. Natural anti-bug remover that will not harm humans.
        Everyone starts at the beginning. This is why I read MD’s blog daily. Always lots of knowledge and experience sharing. Anyone who wants can learn from others experience. Always feel free to ask.

      • I oven dry canned cases of cornmeal, pancake mix, and flour.
        After I got my vacuum sealer, I checked all the jars; I had none unseal, but vacuum sealed all the jars anyhow.
        I also vacuum sealed in jars Ritz and saltines to go with my cases of peanut butter!! :-)

    • Not trying to be the word Nazi but that would be a power inverter that people would look for at Walmart not a voltage regulator. You can buy them at auto parts stores also.

      • Poorman,
        Thanks for the info. My electrical skills not as strong as food and
        dehydrating. I’m off to the auto parts store.

  12. I’ve got the canner as that’s what I grew up with. I also use the Ziploc vacuum bags with either the Ziploc manual pump or the Reynolds battery powered pump for freezer goods. I also have both the wide mouth and regular mouth vacuum seal lids for mason jars for storing dehydrated veggies and meat. These lids work quite well with the Ziploc or the Reynolds pump.

    • where do you get these items? haven’t seen them in stores. many thanks.

      • i just found some of these items at walmart today. i had been looking in the grocery section in the storage bag aisle. but they are on the other side of the store!! my daughter found them. we also found a prepper young lady lurking there as well!

  13. I have both and do can stuff to store away. I have basically stopped using my food saver to store things in the freezer. Now I have found if I just buy the store brand zip top storage bags and squeeze the air out and double bag all items they store just as well as with the more expensive foo saver bags. I do use my food saver to use the lid sealers to store dry goods in quart and half gallon jars. Plus the glass jars are reusable and it you get tattler lids they are reusable also.
    I have just found the food saver bags to expensive for my taste.

  14. Hunker-Down says:

    We use a pressure canner on home grown green beans and tomatoes, purchased chicken, strawberries and apples.
    We use the Foodsaver for almost everything that goes into the freezer and to seal medicine bottles, toothpaste tubes, dehydrated vegetables fruits, spices, oils and socks.
    We use Mylar bags and O2 absorbers to store rice, beans, and pasta. The canner or Foodsaver are not used for those items.

    If I had neither machine I would make a detailed list of items you have access to and decide which machine you would use on each item. Then decide which machine would save you the most money in the shortest time so that you could get the second machine sooner.
    Also consider the cost if the items on the list, some of them you may not be able to afford quickly, or if they are seasonal (like tomatoes).

    In other words, if you want to buy a canner for tomatoes, and tomatoes will not be available from the garden for another 9 months, maybe the Foodsaver would be the better buy. If you wanted the Foodsaver to freeze a cow but it wont be ready for another year, maybe the canner is more attractive. Working that list will give you your best answer.

    A backup we have for the Foodsaver when the electricity is out is a car braking system hand vacuum pump, and idea we picked up from this blog last year. We got it at Harbor Freight. It may be an alternative for you.

  15. grandma bear says:

    I am so into shelf stable! I have both. My goal is to be as off grid as possiable. I would go with the pressure canner! If SHTF I can still use the canner!

  16. I have both but use the vacuum sealer more. One of the side benefits of the sealer is that you are not limited to food products to package. Meaning that if you have some items that should be protected from moisture you can vacuum seal it. Example, if strike anywhere matches are to be kept for a long time you don’t want humidity to render them useless. It will happen over time. You can package anything for later.

  17. We were in a similar situation. We opted for the vacuum sealer first. For us, it is quicker to set up, and takes less time. It is also useful for small amounts of items, and for non-food items that I want to keep away for the elements.

    If it could be affected by moisture or air exposure, and I’m putting it up long term, it get vac sealed. We use the lid sealer to store powdered items in jars, along with our dehydrated meats. I don’t know how you would do that with a canner.

    We have finally gotten our first pressure canner. Although not the one I wanted to get for us, it will get us started on that adventure.

  18. We prefer the canner and jars. There is very little we can’t put away I jars one way or another. As we live off grid freezers are not on our list of wants. Yes it can be done but we can it and forget it . Someone talked about matches . Put them in a canning jar and seal them up with a vacuum pump. We use a brake bleeder hand pump . Those jars get used over and over again and when vacuum sealing with metal lids I can get 4 or more uses out of the same lid . Much cheaper than one use bags.

  19. Florida Gal says:

    We have both and I find I use the sealer for both food and non-food items year round and the canner is more seasonal. If you can afford a commercial grade sealer like the Weston Pro 2300 you will get far better results than a China-Mart or Sears variety. No matter which one you get do not use the cheap roll bag material they come with. Spend the extra money online (shop around) and get a minimum of 3 mil plastic bags. They keep a solid seal for years if done properly. The cheap roll material will loose its seal and you may not notice it and then the food is compromised. Good Luck!

    • Heartily second the Weston 2300. Went thru a bunch of the cheap sealers and finally went with the Weston. ( now we DO seal a LOT of stuff. We have 4 freezers, process couple hogs and a cow per year ) Nice thing about the Weston is you can buy replacement parts…..try doing that for a cheap sealer…..they are trash when they die.

  20. I have both and use both, but prefer the canner. If we lose the grid, my shelf stable canned food will continue to be usable for several years, while my vac packed and frozen foods will not last a week. Don’t think of the canner as seasonal. You can purchase in bulk and can almost all year round. And canned bacon, sausage links, beef, chicken and pork are also shelf stable. Just harvested a deer? canned venison is an easy way to store cubes for stew and soup, freeze the steaks and roasts that you’ll use quickly. Find jars and replacement lids in bulk and you have the necessities for preserving food off the grid.

    • Mrs. K in MO says:

      Totally agree with RayK! No power, no problem. Your canned food will last a long time. Canning isn’t just for storing your garden harvest. I also can all year long. Meats, soups, butter.. etc. I also oven can dry goods. And I re-use my metal lids for the oven canning and they seal just fine. Canning may be a little more time consuming and may take some research and learning but well worth it in the long run.

  21. mom of three says:

    I agree get a canner first, or pressure cooker. The jars,you can find everywhere from thrift stores, to garage sales same with canners. I use my canner through out the year and years. I bought a food saver, and have not tried it yet will be getting to it soon. I was wondering how much it would cost, to buy bags how much you should get ?

    • Mom of three,
      Shop Amazon.com or Weston.com for bags. Depending on your needs purchase rolls or cut bags. For food items, I use pre-cut bags, usually 1 gal size. Cost averages 4-5 cents per bag, online. Need smaller bags, cut gal bag in half, seal both ends, and make 2 bags. I use a 3 mil thick bag. Don’t forget bags are washable and reuseable.

    • I got my canner first, and have used it for canning chicken broth, meats, re-canning bulk veggie purchases into smaller amounts, bacon, and nuts. I oven can dry goods, and I water-bath can jams and butter. I have a ziplock manual pump for their vacuum bags, which I wash and re-use if not wet with meat juices. I have a cabelas electric hand pump which looks similar to the foodsaver hand pump. I just got a foodsaver hand pump and the large and small mouth jar lid sealer adapters, and am thrilled, as I can now jar seal my dehydrated foods more securely.

  22. Cdngardengirl says:

    I have both and use both a lot. But, as already said, if the power goes out the canned items are safe – shelves don’t need electricity. I bought the cannister attachment for my food saver and save a lot of dehydrated goods (lemons, mushrooms, veg, ginger, garlic, etc) in canning jars. Like technician775 on youtube, on certain foods I even include oxygen absorbers as well as sealing the jars. Pests cannot get into jars unless they’re big enough to break them.

    The canner has no boundaries. I water bath jams, jellies, juices, fruits, etc. I pressure can soups, broths, meats, butter, tomato sauces, veggies and anything else that’s not safe for just water bathing. I used to go through a metal water bath canner every 2 years. Since I got the pressure canner, I haven’t needed to buy a separate pot. Tattler lids are a great investment for any canning since they can be reused many, many times (and I’ve bought spare rings, just in case). Can’t begin to tell you how much freezer space I save by canning most foods. Plus, I can something year round as certain foods come into season. Tomorrow I’ll be canning several dozen grapefruit (see imstillworkin’s video on this).

    My own best deals on Food Saver bags are the boxes of 6 rolls at Costco. With care, I can sometimes reuse the bags. Things that don’t need freezing must be stored in a pest-proof container or your efforts are wasted. I store my bags in food grade pails and heavy duty tote bins, all with tight lids. I even do matches, emergency socks, all sorts of things with the Food Saver.

    I’m currently building a strong support for the filled canner to use over my Stove Tec for hot weather processing and for grid down times. While I love and use my Food Saver, its days are limited if there’s no power.

    • Nebraska Woman says:

      Popcorn metal containers are really good for storing food, also.

    • second time here i’ve seen socks mentioned for vac sealing. are these socks for the feet? why are they sealed?

      • For the feet – and they are sealed so they remain dry. Flood, fire, whatever…grab’n go, you have dry socks. You think you can just grab some from your dresser, but you may just find you forgot to do laundry or you can’t find two, or whatever. You can go without undies, but you really can’t get very far without socks!

    • Not if you have a brake bleeder.

  23. Hunker-Down says:

    Heads up.

    FoodSaver.com has a BOGO sale on the 8 and 11 inch roll combo pack.

    Click on “Bags & Rolls”, then scroll down to the bottom of the page, it’s the last item. It works out to about $4.26 per roll plus shipping.

    • Tactical G-Ma says:

      Cabelas has 50′ rolls of food saving plastic less expensive than any other and I believe heavier. Foods with liquid we freeze into bricks before using the food saver and return to the freezer. It is important to have a pressure canner for preserving food but we use our foodsaver everytime we buy groceries. If we ever go grid down and have to can what’s in our freezers, we do have that capability. But that would be a tremendous undertaking. But different foods do lend themselves to different storage. Dehydration, freezing, and canning.

  24. I have and use both. I would buy the foodsaver first. Then you can foodsaver meat from Zaycon. That will enable you to save up enough money to buy a canner.

    • Sorry BamBam, this is one time I have to disagree with you. We also have both and I hate the food saver. I don’t know if it’s a good one or not, MIL gave it to us. But I find after any length of time the bags open at the seal. Now I don’t know if we just aren’t getting a proper seal or if freezing then moving them around in the freezer weakens it.
      MIL taught me to can this summer,,, and I have been canning ever since. Like others mentioned, we make a big pot of soup/stew and can the left overs. I don’t just do veggies in the summer, I’ve bought large quantity of chopped meat or beef cubes and I have just placed an order with Zaycon for chicken,,, which I’ll can a portion (got a dehydrator for Christmas and been having fun learning).
      Bottom line is we plan to be off the grid so food saver and freezer is not the way for us to go!

      • R-Me,

        I picked the food saver because it has saved my dh and I so much money. We can bag and seal 80 lbs. of chicken in about an hour and a half. Then just stick it in the freezer and it’s good for 9 months. Now I buy all my chicken and hamburger from Zaycon. The rest of the meats I buy when they are at rock bottom prices.

        However, if I didn’t have a means of canning up all that meat (in case of a hurricane knocking out power), I don’t think I would keep a year’s supply of meat on hand–out of fear I would loose it.

      • you Might have bad bags–I have no problem with meats in the freezer or dry goods.

  25. I have 2 canners and the food saver. Between sales Nd a large garden and unpredictable grid, I go to the canners. The oldest one is the 22 quart with a weight that is 32 years old. I can 14 wide mouth pints at a time. I cook for one. Food saver stuff is kept in tubs away from rodents. I have a bunch of cats that hunt but I do not take chances.

  26. I have both, and love them. I started with the sealer because I could buy bulk items and break them down to smaller portions for freezing and storing. Once I had a garden (with tons of things ripening at the same time) I bought the canner and was hooked. Over the last 2 years I have canned all kinds of foods. I would concur with Hunker-Down on deciding what you need to accomplish first and which machine would do that for you. Then save for the other one..

  27. Y’all are giving me lots to think about. I already have water bath canner and used it this past summer to make jellies and pickles. We will be planting a garden this year and plan to have plenty of tomatoes and peppers to put up. Hopefully we will have green beans too. The tomatoes can be water bathed, but it is my understanding that green beans need the pressure canner or to be frozen. By the way, I have chicken coming from Zaycon early in February.

    I am leaning toward the vacuum sealer at the moment — still to discuss with hubby. But y’all have made me want a dehydrator too.

    Another question: can one rehydrate dried beans and then can them? I have an awful time remembering to soak them prior to wanting to use them

    • Soak beans overnight. Then pressure can.

    • Nebraska Woman says:

      Try eating dehydrated food first before you buy a dehydrator. Most of my family, friends, and I dislike dehydrated vegies.

      • I dried vegetables and decided to give them a test run.
        Dropped cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions, corn, lima beans in boiling water and a beef bouillon cube.
        Added a beef bouillon cube because I didn’t have thawed beef at the time.
        It was delicious vegetable soup!!!

      • Think of the dehydrated veggies as something in their own right, with their own proper uses, not to be eaten separately like fresh or frozen. I shredded the giant zucchinis from the end of the garden and dehydrated them. They go down to seemingly nothing. You can pulverize the powder and add to soups, breads, casseroles, getting some veggie in but definitely not like eating whole fresh zucchini!

      • Desert Fox says:

        The dehydrated vegies are great for stews, specially the carrots and beans!. I don’t like dried celery though :)

    • Ok, hubby is leaning towards a pressure canner. He wants me to cook with it also. Michelle, I will most likely be in great need of those tips as I have never used a pressure canner/cooker.

    • I did pintos and black beans in pints for quick use. Need to use less beans and more water in black beans. I found directions online that basically has you put beans water and salt in jars, can for 60+ minutes and way cheaper than canned. I’ve even found a recipe for “Ranch Style” beans that I have yet to try. The Homesick Texan blogged a copycat version, but she didn’t can them. Those who need to know what Ranch Style is, well, it’s a Texas thang…

    • I have been water bath canning green beans for 40 years.
      I ate a can in 2012 that was 20 years old from 1992.
      they were delicious.

      And, no, I was not taught to add lemon juice and have never had a bad jar of beans.

    • Cdngardengirl says:

      Rehydrated veg are not the same as freshly cooked veg. The texture has changed. But they are perfect for soups, casseroles, stews, etc where texture isn’t primary.

  28. Water bath canning is good for the current season. Long term storage requires pressure canning. That includes tomatoes.

    I’ve had tomatoes that I WB processed that didn’t make it more than 12 months, while Pressure canning are still good after 4 years.

    • My God–I have been water bath canning whole tomatoes for 40 years and canned tomato juice also.
      I just canned 2 cases tomatoes given to me last summer and they are delicious. I started dehydrating the tomatoes and it is much easier.

      • And I also dried my own eggs for baking.
        You can’t tell the commercial dried eggs from my dried eggs.

      • When I say cases, I mean a case of jars.

        • Many modern tomato varieties don’t have enough acid to water bath can. That goes for the ones in the store – they are being grown for a tough skin to prevent bruising in shipping. The ones you grow yourself may be different varieties, with more acid. I had a problem making jam from store-bought strawberries as they were too sweet and not enough acid to gel (I can’t use pectin). I had to add lemon juice to get the jam to set.

      • Cdngardengirl says:

        This is fine for most people, but some of us have sensitive stomachs and water-bathed tomatoes cause considerable grief. Since I started pressure canning my tomato items, we’ve had no problems, and the jars last many years on the shelf.

  29. Happysailor says:

    I still have and use the first model of FoodSaver that came out many years ago; Made in the USA. They are invaluable on a cruising saiboat if your inverter will handle them or when you get to a marina with shore power to reprovision. In the meantime I have gone through two newer models, made in China, with all the bells and whistles. They are both dead junk.
    I once vacuum packed a new, thousand dollar GPS to save it from the ocean environment till I would use it later. The vacuum collapsed so many components that it wasn’t worth trying to have repaired.
    Bags are expensive but generic ones are available that are OK Reused bags are iffy and seem to always leak sooner or later.

  30. I bought a canner and got the cheaper brand.I love it.my son spent the money and bought the all American.if the grid ever goes down,I will regret it,but I actually use mine more…..
    I love it more than water bath
    As for dehydrator and vacuum sealers…..I found a brand new one at a thrift store.had been looking for months.for $7.love it,would like better but can’t afford better.I also dehydrate in my car…lol
    I found a vacuum sealer at a goodwill for $4 took a chance and it only needed new plug.I liked it so well. We had credit card points. Using them for Christmas presents I got a new deluxe one for myself. We use credit cards still,pay off balance each month and use points for gifts every year….I know that goes against some people’s thinking but works for us
    Anyway I would think canner would be good if you are worried about using elect but sealing is more than freezing

    • Elaine,
      I think making use of credit card points is really smart. I do the same. I tally my receipts and reduce my available cash each week so that my budget stays on track and use the points with a happy heart. Nothing dumb about that!

  31. I’ve worn out several Food Savers. Hated paying the price for their bags, now I go to Cabelas and get their brand. Heavier plastic, bigger AND smaller sizes of precut bags, as well as rolls. DH is big hunter and fishes most weekends of the summer so its a necessity in my house.Bagging up fish is gallon sized ziplock bags with seal open, then vacuum seal in 11×17 bags, no fails. I’ve got both sizes of the mason jar attachments, use them all the time too.
    Got many of my OTC medications stored in vacuum bags, along with several items in my GHB.
    I also take packaged foods like rice a roni and split the seasoning and rice by weight and make 2 person sized portions. If I do make a whole package, leftovers get dehydrated and bagged as well.
    I have a canner, and use it too, along with water bath canner. You need them all, eventually.

  32. Alittle2late says:

    My wife and I have multiple’s of pretty much everything and I would have to say the vacuum sealers gets the most use. (while the power is on) we did put up over 800 jars this past growing season. I guess what im saying is we started with the food saver and went from there. They each have unique uses So basically its a personal preference.

  33. I always pop my leftovers in the dehydrator first, then vac seal them. They keep forever, need no electricity, and are feather light to transport. I have never had any issue with keeping the supplies fresh and healthy.

  34. ladyhawthorne says:

    I have both but my first choice would be the pressure canner. You can pressure can so many things including meats that are then good for years.

  35. CountryVet says:

    I cannot imagine being without either. Which will prove the most valuable to you will be dependent on what types of foods you are planning on putting up and HOW MUCH you have avaiable to spend. The vacume sealer is in my opinion indispensible for storage of dehydrated foods. I have tried various methods of “keeping” dehydrated foods ranging from removal of air from high quality ziplocs to jars. In anything other than good quality vacume bags the quality suffers in VERY short order. I also use it for all foods that go into the freezer. With a good quality bag and a good sealer and a subzero freezer, meats and vegetables will literally last for years past what the USDA. (also remember that food that has been frozen dehydrates very well,) I just took out some green beans and used them that wre 4 years old- you could not tell them from when I first put them in. The quality was excellent still.
    HOWEVER, that being said- I frequently run 2 large canners simultaneously. This is the perfect way to keep meats and vegetables that need essentially ZERO furher prep before use other than heating up. After a long day I will frequently come in and pull a combination of jars down and supper is on the table in 10 minutes- Chicken gumbo in 10 minutes is hard to beat as is chili and beans or a soup.
    There are various price ranges of both sealers and bags. The cheap ones will prove vcery expensive in the longrun. However, although even with the higer quality the investment is not great. Remember though- food stored in this manner is prone to damage so be sure to package it in a secure secondary container to protect it from vermin and physical damage, which will add additional expense.
    Canners are not terribly expensive. Mirror makes a very nice canner that will do 18pts for about $80. The gasket on this one lasts very well also. The real expense comes in on the jars. It takes LOTS of jars to put up enouogh to last any length of time and for a wide variety and they are not cheap. HOWEVER remember that the jars and rings are a permanenet investment. You can use them again and again. Your only future expense will be new lids (wide mouth more expensive thanregular) your food and the energy to run your canner. (Buy LOT of lids) So in the long term in my opinion the pressure canner is your best investment, however if your finances are such that you cannot afford a SIZEABLE investment in jars, got with the sealer for now. Start saving for the canner and jars- you really need both.

    Any typos I pre-apologize for. It has been a VERY long day and I am drinking a VERY nice glass of wine as I respond and I am not a typist at best.

  36. Beans-N-Bullets says:

    from the way the question was asked my first thought is $$ is tight.
    That being said….CANNER, as said before the jars can be re-used almost forever as can tattler lids saving tons of $$. The canner can be used as a water bath or to make large meals. You can pass it on to your children if properly taken care of.
    Bags are expensive and I have put holes in my fair share and then lost the food that was in it. $$ loss $$
    Canning almost anything can help when you are a good shopper as I like to think I am and can bring the cost of a healthy meal down a lot.
    I am also the person who washes and re-uses ziplock bags. But the end decision is yours and I wish you the best of luck in your prepping adventures.

  37. I recommend the canner over the vacuum sealer, though I have and use both now.

    This last weekend, we put up 130 pints of food. I had been accumulating various meat and loading the freezer over the past few months. Two weeks ago the local grocer had a sale of corned beef round (leaner cut than brisket, perfect for making corned beef hash). I had been waiting all year for a sale to bring the price down, so I popped open the kitty and bought the 8 roasts they had on display. Grabbed a 10 lb bag of potatoes and turned out 36 pints of corned beef hash. I had already acquired some low priced sirloin, so grabbed another bag of potatoes, some fresh frozen green beans and corn, some fresh carrots and celery, and processed 62 pints of beef stew. I also found someone selling boneless skinless chicken breasts for cheap, and we put up 32 pints of diced chicken. Combined with the ground beef I canned in September and the hot dogs I canned in October and November, I now have 250 pints of meat products sitting on the shelf, and room in my freezer ready for moose and salmon and caribou this summer and fall. I will can up most of what I catch and kill, and we will have over a year’s worth of food that can just sit on the shelf for the next 24 months or more. I use re-usable tattler lids so I don’t have to restock lids every year.

    I use the vacuum sealer to break down bulk packages of legumes, grains, and pastas to put on the shelf beside the canned goods. Not much of a comparison. But if the power goes out, the sealer won’t even help me repack anything in the freezer as it thaws. The pressure canner will let me rescue everything before it goes bad.

  38. midnight1st says:

    I started out with a Foodsaver. I have used it a lot. I really use the jar sealers for many things. They are so handy when storing dehydrated items and comfort foods like chocolate chips,etc.

    I also have a canner and the equipment. It is much work and takes some practice, but it cannot be beaten for putting up such things as meat. It is hard to buy interesting meat in cans to save. Canning means that you can have ready made meals that you just have to heat and serve. I have a hard time stockpiling my canned meats because it’s easier to use them than to remember to take something out of the freezer to thaw and cook now.

    If you are new to food storage, it would be easier to start with the vacuum sealing. But, you really need to know how to can when the shft. You will have to have a way to store your harvest when there might be no power.

    • ***I started out with a Foodsaver. I have used it a lot. I really use the jar sealers for many things. They are so handy when storing dehydrated items and comfort foods like chocolate chips,etc***

      Exactly. My next project is using the ziplok snack bags for storing Bear Creek cheddar broccoli soup(it’s great, but no real broccoli to speak of) and commercial freeze dried broccoli.
      Portion out the FD broccoli with a few TB of the Cheddar broccoli soup into the snack bags, put in the mason jars, and use the jar sealer.
      Great for when TSHTF.

  39. Charles Elliott says:

    In a non SHTF scenario, I believe that you will use the Food Saver much more than a pressure cooker. You can vacuum seal grains, pastas, beans, nuts and other such items using quart canning jars (bug proofs your food) with the jar attachment for your Food Saver. Cheese and other refrigerated foods that are vacuum sealed and refrigerated/frozen will last 3-5 times as long and you will not have freezer burn with vacuum sealing.

  40. I started out with a pressure canner 40 years ago. I added a home made food dryer, then bartered for a professional food dryer. When sealers came out I added that as well. The common food sealers did not last long for as much as I used them….so I got a Weston, great sealer.
    I still use all 3, but if I had to only take one with me in a SHTF event, it would be the canner, however I would try to fit in all 3.
    I buy mesh bags on line for the sealer that in bulk are a much better buy. I buy the rolls and make my own sized bags. I have sealed rolled up wool blankets and such for my car which hold up very well in the back seat of my car with small (30 lbs) dog traffic (3 plus years and still sealed}. The Weston will take 15 inch wide bags and you would be amazed at what fabric items you can roll up and put in them. Emergency change of cloths and shoes, etc. important papers, small electronics and the list goes on.
    I use the jar sealer for all sorts of things. My brown sugar that is sealed in a qt. jar that I do not use very much is perfect every time I use it for smoking some meat. The cheeses that I have in the fridge, and I have many, are sealed in bags big enough that I can open them, cut off what I need and reseal them, lasts a year with out mold. All my dried herbs, spices and dried mixes get the same treatment with the same great outcome.
    At this point I would not want to do with out all 3, but the one most long term item in SHTF event would still be the pressure canner. I will always have a way to make a fire to use it and jars and proper lid and rings to use it without the grid.

  41. I would definitely get a canner. I started with the vacuum sealer but for me, the canner has definitely taken over. I make larger batches of dinner and can the rainder. This makes it easy for me to have a lot of variety. For awhile, I cañned every weekend. I am in the process if building a root cellar at this time as I have run out of room to store food.

  42. Thanks everyone for their comments. We have decided that the pressure canner will come before a vacuum sealer. Since we have soe jars already from water bath canning, we will need more jars and Tattler lids, but those are investments like the canner. Plus, I think I can get some previously used jars from our moms. I really appreciate everyone’s comments this week and in the old posts about pressure canning. If I can get everything together in time, we may try to pressure can some chicken after the Zaycon delivery.

  43. Don’t forget the canister that can be used with the vacuum sealer for certain jars instead of throwing them away.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-FOODSAVER-3-PIECE-ROUND-CANISTER-SET-VACUUM-SEALER-/331049808699?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d141b333b

  44. I have never had a vacume sealer, I have 4 water bath canners and 4 pressure canners (and a number of solar driers). I never pay for canners, I usually get them used in yard sale or something. around here no one carries spare gaskets but a lot of places carry presso canners. when the gasket wears out they think its junk and put it in their yardsale fore a dollar or two. I buy them and order a couple replacement gaskets ($4-5 each). so I get a pressure canner for only a couple bucks, I buy them when I can. I also buy mason jars when I can get them cheap. I have a friend who runs an orchard and I get 20 bushels of apples free each year, plus I grow most of my own food and can what I can. a canner requires a heat source, it can run on LP gas on a camp stove, a kitchen range, or even a wood stove (with attention to make sure it stays hot enough). a vaccume sealer I assume uses electric and is only as reliable as a power source to run it. I live off grid and power is a luxury (a couple solar panels and a boat battery). if I ran out of LP gas I would keep canning with wood heat, and keep 1000s of spare lids on hand since I depend on preserving the harvest to get through winter. anyway if you want to keep versatile a canner can be used without power sources (my amish neighbors don’t have trouble using them) and will keep going when the vaccume might not. given the increased reliability I would recommend a canner and a goodly supply of cans and lids.

  45. I’m going to work on getting a pressure canner or two when we get our taxes back. I have the “bath” canner, but that is only for certain types of foods. I want to start canning to preserve the food we grow and the meat we buy this year. It will be something that we can all learn to do…including the grandkids!
    I got a food saver, and the attachments, that I have used for making portion sizes of frozen veggies, lunch meat (sort of messy due to the liquid on the meat), frozen fruit, and cheese when I was by myself in Oklahoma a couple of years ago. I’m not so keen on the jar sealers or the containers as it seemed to take forever to vacuum seal. I also used it to seal up the boxes of powdered milk, cereal, and pastas right in their own boxes, bags of beans in their bags, and taken sleeves of crackers and vacuum sealed them right in the plastic sleeves. I learned NOT to fully vacuum seal the boxes! It “crushes” the boxes. My grandkids like the flavored instant oatmeal and pop tarts and I vacuum sealed them without their boxes in whatever quantity there was in the box. The oatmeal was fully vacuum sealed and the pop tarts partially vacuum sealed to keep from crushing them into crumblies!
    I found the food saver a huge help in keeping smaller things dry. I have used it to keep our stored toilet paper, paper towels, bandaids of all sizes, matches, batteries and other items that need to be kept dry. It also makes the toilet paper and paper towels more space saving to store in BOB, plastic boxes and buckets. Yes, I vacuum seal toilet paper and paper towels. The matches and batteries don’t get the full vacuum seal, but most of the air is removed from the bag. I do not suggest doing a full vacuum on bandaids as I discovered the full vacuum compresses the protective paper to the adhesive on the bandaid, making it harder to remove the paper.
    The reasons I have done this is #1: I live in a basement with water pipes going overhead. If one should burst, it could cause a mess. #2: I don’t have a huge amount of space for storing things, so compacting the rolls into a vacuum sealer bag gave me more space. #3: It is humid in the basement even with 2 dehumidifiers working.
    Vacuum sealing the toilet paper and paper towels is a bit time consuming to ensure proper seal on the bags, but it’s worth it in the long run.
    My next food saver project is to protect our documents and precious pictures when I have a little extra time in the next week. I have them in a plastic box, but I don’t think it’s enough protection for these things that need to be preserved.
    I like the idea Stormfox has of putting extra clothes, shoes, small electronics and blankets in the food saver bags for the car just in case of emergency! It will probably work way better than the SpaceSaver bags do, which I have found don’t always stay vacuum sealed! :(

  46. I have both, and have only recently started canning….but if I could have only one, it would definitely be the canner. Shelf stable, nutritious convenience food is a true blessing.

  47. Chuck Findlay says:

    The pressure canner is more important. I got my canner from Wally World for $68.00

    I have 4 vacuum machines, all used and found at garage sales from $2.00 to $5.00 in good working order. I also bought a dehydrator (several actually) that has a temperature control and 9 trays. It looks just like a microwave oven. It was $12.00

    Garage sales are my place to find good quality, low priced prepping items.

    But honestly all of them are important and if you do some serious looking (never drive by a garage sale without stopping) you can get a lot of prepping items at give-away prices.

    Hey MD maybe have a thread about what we have found at garage sales & thrift stores and the price. But with me it would be a very long post…..