Can electric multi-cookers be used for canning?

Research shows that the USDA pressure process directions cannot be used with electric multi-cookers.

Television is full of infomercials claiming new appliances offer the latest and greatest technology for your home, but you shouldn’t believe everything they tell you.

The electric multi-cooker cannot be used to pressure can vegetable and meat products. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) canning processes were not designed for use with the electric multi-cookers with “canning” or “steam canning” buttons on their front panels. Pressure canning processes have not been developed for this type of appliance. The USDA pressure canning processing directions were designed for the stovetop pressure canner which will hold four or more quart-size jars standing upright.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation does not have verification that the proper thermal process development research has been completed to justify canning advice being distributed with these electric pressure multi-cooker appliances.

There are four specific reasons the National Center for Home Food Preservation cannot recommend the use of electric multi-cookers for pressure canning:

  1. The thermal process canning research connects the temperature inside the jars to the temperature inside the canner during the processing time. The temperature and heat distribution inside the jars are responsible for the destruction of the microorganism in the food product.
  2. The temperature is what is most important; not the pressure.
  3. For the safety of the final product, the temperature must stay at the minimum during the processing time.
  4. There is a big concern that the USDA low-acid pressure canning processing times rely upon the combined heat from the time the canner is coming up to pressure, during the processing time and the early stages of the cool down of the canner and the jars. All three temperatures are important for the killing of the deadly pathogens.

Finally, the current market electric multi-cookers cannot be used to can low-acid products such as vegetables, fish and meat. The USDA pressure canning instructions were not designed for use with the electric, multi-cooker appliances with “canning” or “steam canning” buttons on the front panel. The USDA instructions were designed for stovetop pressure canners that will hold a minimum of four or more quart-size jars standing upright.

For further information, contact your local county Michigan State University Extension office.

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