Jumbo dimensions and sturdy construction, with a see-through lid and easy-to-use rack.
The lid doesn’t have the tightest seal, and the temperature gauge can be a little hard to read through billows of steam. Unrelated pet peeve: a hard-to-peel packaging sticker that left a residue on the pot.
This is a really solid canner, as well as a utility player for things like making stock or steaming crabs and lobster.
Urban homesteaders revived home canning a decade ago, and it never really fell out of fashion. In summer, Americans haunt farmers’ markets for peak season berries, stone fruit, and tomatoes to put up as jams, chutneys, ketchups, and relishes. Still, water bath canning is a bit of a hassle, awkward and time consuming. And without knowing the temperature inside your canning kettle, you need to rely on guesswork to determine the exact parameters of processing time. Enter the Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner from Utah-based Victorio Kitchen Products, which sells old-timey homestead machines like apple peelers and grain mills (even a high-volume cherry pitter!). The VKP1130 canner is a traditional kettle tricked out with a couple of deluxe features designed to make the whole process less stressful. But do they?
The 20-quart kettle is heavy stainless steel with a clad bottom, so it’s insulated enough to use even on an induction burner. It measures 15 1/2 inches in diameter and 12 1/2 inches high when the lid’s on. The kettle’s handles have a silicone coating that helps them stay reasonably cool to the touch. As for the lid, it’s made of tempered glass so you can peer into the kettle to see if the water’s boiling without the need for lifting and peeking. There are two tiny steam vents and an indicator gauge that doubles as the lid’s handle—it shows when the temperature has reached the processing zone for three different elevations (0–3,000 feet; 3,000–6,000 feet; and 6,000–9,000 feet). And the VKP1130 comes with a stainless steel canning rack that converts for either steam or water bath canning, and holds 8 pint-size or 7 quart-size jars.
You can do both steam and water bath canning in the VKP1130 (they’re essentially identical processes; steam canning just uses less water and energy), but for testing purposes we stuck with the latter, using 8 quarts of water to completely submerge the jars. We canned two jams—peach and nectarine, and blueberry—both at home on an electric range and in the CHOW Test Kitchen over gas.
Peach and nectarine jam/electric range: We rendered 8 pounds of mixed stone fruits into jam that filled one pint and nine half-pint canning jars. These we processed in two batches over an electric home range. It was clear that the VKP1130 has a heavy-duty bottom—in the past when we’ve water bath–processed in a thin stockpot, the bottom of the pot has warped as the temperature rose, but there was even heating with the Victorio kettle. Our recipe called for eight minutes of processing per batch of jars. Only thing we didn’t like about the VKP1130: a blast of steam to the face from the vents—the lid doesn’t have the tightest seal we’ve seen.
Blueberry jam/gas range: In the CHOW Test Kitchen over gas, it took ten minutes for the water in the kettle to come to a boil, then another five for the needle on the gauge to be in the green processing zone. All in all, a pretty painless process, plus—in its water-bath configuration—the rack has handles that make it easy to lower and lift even heavy pint jars. Jam on.
Photos by Chris Rochelle