Reviewed by: CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
One of my earliest memories is a steamy kitchen on a hot summer day with giant cauldrons of boiling water, sinks full of Mason jars and pops from lids sealing jars of green beans, corn, apples or tomatoes cooling on the sideboard. My family “put up” a pantry full of canned garden produce to eat through the winter months. It was partly being from a frugal family, but mostly because home-canned produce from a Mason jar are about 10 times better tasting than a tin can of Green Giant or Del Monte produce.
It’s exactly the same with home-canned salmon (or other fish). Home canned in Mason jars, salmon (or other fish) is decidedly more flavorful than its tin-can counterparts from the grocery store – and just as versatile. Eat it straight from the jar or make salmon patties, salmon loaf, salmon dip, lake trout casseroles, pasta dishes and other recipes.
Now, NESCO, brings home canning into the digital appliance age. I’ve canned hundreds of jars in my antique (well over 30 years old) stovetop Presto and when the steam starts puffing around the top and the heavy rocker on the top starts rattling as the canning magic is rumbling inside, it takes me back to those pre-air conditioned days of my youth.
I’m used to it, but it’s scary to many these days. I’ve never been around a pressure cooker blowup, but I’ve heard stories of canners exploding like a boiler on a runaway locomotive. The NESCO does hiss a bit, probably as much for nostalgia as need, but it has enough safeguards and auto-shutdown switches it is never scary and won’t explode.
What it will do is can five pint jars of salmon or vegetables (four quart jars) at a time with a few button pushes on the digital display. Set the timer, let it go through it’s warm up mode, position the steam release valve and walk away. Other than nostalgia, the finished product is just as good as what the old-timey canners produced.
There’s more, however. The NESCO 9.5 Quart Smart Canner and Cooker is a multi-tasker.
Electric pressure cookers were the rage a decade ago. Some home cooks still use them, others, not so much. Few big yard sales are complete without a lightly used Instant Pot on one of the tables. Ours now lives under the counter at my daughter’s house.
You can’t pressure can meat or vegetables in most electric pressure cookers – not enough pressure. You are able to pressure cook meat, stews, soup and other recipes with the NESCO, as well as steam cook or slow cook any recipe. Available at many retail and big-box stores, online outlets or see all the NESCO products at http://www.nesco.com.