As mentioned in The Ultimate List of Canning Supplies some household stoves can struggle to reach the needed temperatures for safe canning. While you could replace your appliance with a more powerful model, it is often more feasible to find an alternative way to heat your canner.
This is where the Ball Electric Canner comes in. Featuring a built in heating element and large 21 quart capacity you are certain to have both the temperature and space to handle your water bath canning needs.
With that in mind let’s dive into the features of the Ball FreshTECH canner and a review of its performance.
At first I was somewhat skeptical of an electric canner. However, after seeing the performance of some modern kitchen gadgets such as the instapot, air fryer and even the newest addition to the mix, the Ninja Foodie I decided to look into one further.
After a quick check on Amazon I opted for the Ball FreshTech. This was due in a large part to the fact that Ball has been in the canning business forever. Additionally they provide scientifically tested recipes to help ensure food safety. The recipe book that is included in this pack is an added bonus.
Receiving my canner took only two days and I quickly unboxed it and tested it out.
After examining the canner and trying it out a few times my overall impression is very positive. I would definitely recommend the Ball FreshTech to someone looking for their first water bath canner. You might even want to consider as a second canner that is capable of being used without firing up the stove.
Continue reading for a detailed breakdown.
Materials and Manufacturing
The electric Ball Canner I received seems to be made of a durable stainless metal. It reminds me very much of an instapot pressure cooker. The wire is removable to make cleaning easier and the controls are super simple.
The designers at Ball put some thought into this design. One of the big drawbacks with many canners is the removal of water when done. Ball added a tap that allows you to drain the water off when you are finished. This keeps you from having to ladle it out of the canner or try to tip the entire canner over.
I was able to simply place my canner in close proximity to my sink and carry out my canning operations. Once done I slid it over a few inches and allowed the water to drain directly into the sink.
The capacity of the Ball Freshtech electric canner is on par with other water bath canners I have used. It features a 21 quart pot capable of holding up to 7 quart or 8 pint jars.
Ease of Use
Featuring a single dial control to set the temperature, it is very easy to get the desired temperature.
The twist style knob features a low, medium and high setting in addition to the canning option which turns the heat up even more.
The base is removable allowing for easy storage and the tap on the side can be used to drain the water off or to top off jars if using it as a stock pot instead of a canner.
Drawbacks I Have With The Canner
The Height of the Canner and Heating Element
Due to the design of this canner and the need to include a heating element in the design this unit is very tall.
This could cause issues if you are a shorter person with being able to safely lower the jars down into the canner.
Another issue that may arise is conflict with your upper cabinets. In my kitchen I have one counter that does not have upper cabinets and one that does. I have to use this canner on the side with no upper cabinets. As it does not fit under the upper cabinet when assembled.
While the simplicity of the controls on this canner are part of its pros they are also a bit of a draw back. In order to keep the pot at a rolling boil you have to keep the temperature set to max. This makes it difficult when using the pot for other purposes besides canning.
Initial Heating Time
When beginning your first batch it can take a significant amount of time for the water to heat up. (Somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes) This is to be expected somewhat due to the very large volume of water involved.
However, once the initial heating process is completed it is not difficult to maintain proper temperatures between batches allowing you to can several batches back to back.
Three Reasons You Might Consider the Freshtech Canner over a Traditional Waterbath Canner
Glass Top or Low Powered Range
Glass top ranges or low output electric burners are normally a no no with canning. The glass top can break due to the weight of the water these larger pots hold and electric burners often provide insufficient heat to maintain the required temperatures.
By going with the Ball Freshtech Electric canner you don’t have to worry about this as the heat source and base are designed specifically for this purpose.
Unwanted Heat in the Kitchen
A lot of canning activities take place during the end of summer and fall when vegetables, fruits and other produce are being harvested. Oftentimes the weather is hot and the last thing you want is additional heat building up in the kitchen.
Gas and electric stoves produce significant heat when being used, and while the Ball electric canner also produces heat it does so in an efficient and controlled method ensuring the heat is applied where it is needed.
Additionally since the unit contains both the heating element and pot it is a relatively simple task to move the entire operation to the porch, garage or other area that is more convenient.
Multiple Canning Batches
Often when I am going to can I do multiple large batches at once. If you are using your stove for canning then you are limited by the number of burners you have.
You will need a burner for keeping the jars sterilized and warm. A burner to prepare the food. Last a burner to actually carry out the canning process which usually requires a 45 minute rolling boil.
By adding in 1 or even 2 electric canners you can free up space on your stove. This could allow you to run several batches at one time. It is even possible to complete all of the tasks using nothing more than electric canners if you choose to.
All in all I am very happy with my ball electric canner. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for their first water bath canner or even a second canner. If instead you are looking for an external heat source for your existing water bath or pressure canner then check out some of our reviews on high output propane burners.