Steam canners use the heat of steam to achieve the canning process of sterilizing and sealing jars of high-acid foods.
The Victorio company in Orem, Utah, offers three different models of steam canners. All come with a temperature gauge so that you can be assured you have hit the right concentration of steam inside to start counting your processing time for canning.
Victorio is the only manufacturer as of fall 2017 that makes a steam canner certified for glass top stoves, so if you have a glass-top stove, their model certified for glass tops is your only choice. (More information below.)
(You might want to read this page on steam canning in general first if the topic is new to you.)
- 1 Are the Victorio models fine to use as steam canners
- 2 The Victorio model choices
- 3 Victorio multi-use stainless steel steam canner, model VKP1130
- 3.1 The packing box
- 3.2 Photos of the pot, lid and rack for Victorio VKP1130
- 3.3 Victorio Steam Canner Manuals
- 3.4 Jar Processing Capacity for water bathing for Victorio VKP1130 and VKP1145
- 3.5 Jar Processing Capacity for steam canning for Victorio VKP1130 and VKP1145
- 3.6 Reviews of the Victoria VKP1130 Stainless Steel Steam Canner
- 4 Victorio multi-canner and outdoor propane / camp stove burners
- 5 Victorio Racks
- 6 Flat racks for the Victoria Steam Canner
- 7 Double-decking for steam canning for Victorio VKP1130 and VKP1145
- 8 The Victorio steam canner lid and gauge
- 9 Checking the gauges
- 10 Great big billowing clouds of steam raising the lid?
- 11 Parts for Victorio canners
- 12 Other uses for the Victorio steam canners: steam prep of food
- 13 Further reading
Are the Victorio models fine to use as steam canners
Victorio models are the only ones to date which come with a gauge. The authors of the 2015 steam canning study at Wisconsin described them:
We found that some atmospheric steam canners come with a built-in temperature sensor in the dome lid, and our limited use of this style of lid suggests that it may be able to accurately indicate temperature. Steam vent size or intensity is not an accurate indicator of temperature of the heating medium.”1
Note that they say that the alternative with other gaugeless models, which is watching steam, is not reliable.
The University of California Extension Service implicitly and explicitly recognizes the Victorio models as valid steam canners, as is easily visible by the photos in their September 2017 brochure on the topic. And the brochure says of the Victorio multi-canner model:
A dual-purpose steam and boiling water canner is also sold. The dual purpose canner can be filled with water and used as a boiling water canner; and when the canner rack is inverted (to elevate the jars), it may also be used as a steam canner….. (the) Victorio multi-use canner can be used for … steam canning.”2
Wisconsin Extension Service, where the research was done, implicitly recognizes them as well. See the photos at the bottom of their brochure on steam canning, showing a Victorio model. (Guidelines of using an Atmospheric Steam Canner for Home Food Preservation . Link valid as of Oct 2017)
To be clear, Extension Services cannot actually approve or endorse any one brand name over the other.
The Victorio model choices
One model (pictured immediately below) has a shallow bottom, with a really tall lid. It’s for steam canning only. It is made of aluminum with a wavy “concentric ring” bottom. It will not work on glass-top or induction stoves because of the bottom.
The other two models shown below are large, normal looking pots with glass lids on them. Victorio calls these the “multi-use models” because as regular pots, they can be used for a zillion things including both water-bath canning or steam canning as well as normal cooking uses.
The difference between these two is that one is made of aluminum with a wavy “concentric ring” bottom, and the other is made of stainless steel with a completely flat bottom. They both share the exact same lid, but the stainless is more expensive.
Victorio says that neither of its aluminum models will work on flat top / glass top / induction stoves. It’s not because of the aluminum material (though the material would likely be an additional issue in the case of induction stoves), but rather, owing to their wavy bottoms.
The only steam canner for glass top / induction stoves
If you have a smooth top stove (and / or an induction stove top) and want a Victorio brand steam canner, your only choice as of 2016 in the Victorio product line is the stainless steel one, Model VKP1130 with its flat bottom which they certify for use on flat top / glass-top induction stoves. (That being said, Victorio does point out that you still need to check with the maker of your flat-top stove to ensure that the maker certifies the stove for any type of canning, period.)
(Note: Victorio also used to make a stainless steel steam canner with a wavy bottom, model VKP1055. It could not be used on flat-top stoves as it did not have a flat bottom, and has been discontinued.)
The following overview is based on the stainless steel model. (Most of the points apply to the aluminum glass-top VKP1145 model as well, aside from the flat-top stove compatibility.)
Victorio multi-use stainless steel steam canner, model VKP1130
The packing box
The packing box is unusually informative, so we decided photos of it would be useful.
This is a solidly constructed, stainless steel pot with a heavy-duty, clad bottom. Its steam canning abilities aside, it is a high quality pot for which many varied uses will be found over the years.
It has a 20 US quart (19 litre) volume capacity inside.
It is 40 cm (15.5 inches) by 30 cm (12.5 inches) high when the domed lid is on.
The steel handles are coated in silicone, so they stay cool to the touch.
The lid is made of tempered glass, and has two small holes in it for excess steam to escape through.
The lid’s handle is also the “heat” gauge. When your altitude zone band enters its green area, you start counting your processing time.
Photos of the pot, lid and rack for Victorio VKP1130
Victorio Steam Canner Manuals
The steam canner comes with a 17 page manual. In it, there are 10 pages of usage directions and advice, and 5 pages of recipes reproduced directly from the USDA Complete Guide for Canning (2015 edition.)
Jar Processing Capacity for water bathing for Victorio VKP1130 and VKP1145
These are the processing capacities for water-bathing given by Victorio:
- 7 x US quart regular or wide mouth jars;
- 8 x 500 ml (US pint) regular or wide mouth jars.
When you are water bathing in these multi-canner models (which you will want to do if you are processing anything that requires over 45 minutes at your altitude), with the rack in, inverted for boiling water canning, and a litre / quart jar set on top of that, there is 5 1/2 cm (2.25 inches) between the top of the quart jar and the top of the pot. That leaves an inch of water to cover the jars, and an inch for the water to bubble in.
Note however that it’s only the actual US quart size jars that you can fit 7 of into the wire basket for water-bathing that Victorio provides.
Such as these jars, which are actual US quart size.
The newer “metric quart” (in effect, actually, litre) jars from Golden Harvest and Bernardin are just a little too large to allow 7 at a time into the wire basket. You can only get 6 in (you don’t want to water-bath something tilted.)
Solution: simply instead use another rack to keep the jars off the bottom. Some people feel that jars are too unsteady on the wire basket rack, anyway. The Presto flat canner rack works perfectly, as would an inexpensive metal Chinese dumpling steaming rack. Victorio also sells a flat rack you can use for this purpose. See here.
Jar Processing Capacity for steam canning for Victorio VKP1130 and VKP1145
The following is the configuration of jars that will physically fit into the Victorio VKP1130 stainless and VKP1145 aluminum for steam canning. Note this is what will physically fit; this is not to say that Victorio has specifically gone on record endorsing these various jar sizes and quantities for steam canning.
Jars can be tippy at the outer edges of the supplied wire rack when just sat on the rack. If, however, you place on top of this wire rack a flat canning rack such as that used in the Presto pressure canners, you get a broader stable surface which allows you to place jars out more towards the edge without worrying about the jars leaning and interfering with your headspace and ultimately seal.
- 7 x 1 litre (US quart) regular or wide mouth jars (just sitting on wire rack);
- 8 x 1/2 litre ( 500 ml / US pint) regular mouth jars (just sitting on wire rack);
- 10 x 1/2 litre ( 500 ml / US pint) regular mouth jars (with flat rack to stabilize base);
- 11 x US pint (actual US pint) regular mouth jars (with flat rack to stabilize base);
- 8 to 9 x 1/2 litre ( 500 ml / US pint) wide mouth jars (just sitting on wire rack)
- 14 x 250 ml (1/2 pint) tall regular mouth jelly jars (with flat rack to stabilize base);
- 8 x 250 ml (1/2 pint) salmon jars (aka wide mouth 1/2 pint);
- 14 x 125 ml (1/4 pint) sampler size jars (with flat rack to stabilize base).
Note: the Bernardin 500 ml and Golden Harvest pint regular mouth jars are in practice just a little bit larger by a few tablespoons than the equivalent US actual pint pint jars.
Note as well: we have found that if you are lucky enough to have any of the old-style tall US quart jars, you can fit 8 of those at a time in for steam canning.
Reviews of the Victoria VKP1130 Stainless Steel Steam Canner
Here is a video of the stainless steel model:
Here is the Victorio stainless-steel canner on Amazon, for shopping comparison purposes:
Victorio multi-canner and outdoor propane / camp stove burners
Victorio does not want you using their stainless-steel multi canner on an outdoor camp stove or propane burner. They don’t have an opinion on the aluminum one.
Use of the VICTORIO Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner (VKP1130) on a camp stove will void the warranty. As the BTUs camp stoves put off are considerably greater than most kitchen stoves, it is possible for the heat to loosen the adhesive of clad bottom rendering it useless. With the aluminum version there is no clad bottom, so we don’t have an opinion on using it on a camp stove.”3
The Victorio high-top aluminum model (VKP1054) used to come with a wire rack. This was apparently replaced by the start of 2014 with the flat perforated rack shown below after customer complaints about jars toppling over. 4
The Model VKP1130 (stainless steel) and VKP1145 (aluminum) come with the wire-type rack. Both are “multi-canners.”
We’ve used the rack; it’s a high-quality, strong, stainless-steel metal rack with relatively close-together rungs that many jar sizes will be stable on (in any event, it’s less tippy than most wire racks that come with water-bath canners.) For steam canning, you use the rack inverted, so that it actually acts as a stand to hold the jars just above the surface of the boiling water.
Flat racks for the Victoria Steam Canner
For smaller foot print jars, such as the 250 ml (1/2 US pint / 8 oz) jelly jars, a flat perforated stabilizing rack with holes in it is definitely desirable. In fact, really, all jars regardless of size do benefit from such a flat rack over the supplied wire rack.
If you already have a Presto pressure canner, as many home canners do, the flat rack from that works perfectly. Put the Victorio wire steam rack upside down in the steam canner, then place the Presto flat rack on top of that. The elevated wire rack keeps the jars out of the water, and fully exposed to the hot steam, while the flat, perforated canning rack stabilizes the jars and allows steam evenly through. If you are concerned about a flat perforated rack interfering with the steaming, bear in mind that it’s exactly that kind of rack that Victorio supplies with its VKP1054 model shown just a bit above on this page.)
Victorio also makes and sells a similar flat perforated canning rack. (It’s the one that also comes with the VKP1054 model.)
Here’s a photo of that Victorio canning rack inside the Victorio VKP1130 steam canner:
Double-decking for steam canning for Victorio VKP1130 and VKP1145
It is physically possible to stack some low-profile jars in a steam canner in a stable and secure manner.
But, is it safe in processing terms to do so? We wrote to Wisconsin Extension, who did the steam canning research, to ask if there were a research-based answer.
The answer was that while double-decking in a steam canner was not tested, if you can ensure that you have a canner full of pure steam, then the principle should be the same as that for double-decking when pressure canning. You should definitely use perforated racks to provide stability and allow steam to flow evenly, and the upper jars should be “offset” from those below them, i.e. not sitting directly on top of the jar below, but straddling two jar rims.5
(Handily, the gauge on Victorio canners lets you know with precision when you have reached a canner full of pure steam.)
All other guidelines for steam canning must be adhered to.
The Victorio steam canner lid and gauge
The handle of the lid is a gauge. It has three colour bands in it. You watch the coloured band for your altitude. When the needle of the gauge enters the green zone for your band, you start timing your processing. This indicates that you have reached (relatively) pure steam inside.
As soon as the needle reaches your ‘Zone’s’ green area, start your processing time.”6
The altitude zones are:
- 0 to 1000 metres (0–3,000 feet);
- 1001 metres to 2000 metres (3001 to 6000 feet);
- 2001 metres to 3000 metres (6,001–9,000 feet).
Do not lift the lid off while steam canning. If you do, you will lose your build-up of pure steam:
Do not remove lid during processing. Removing the lid allows the steam to escape and the jars will no longer be at the correct temperature. If the lid is removed during processing you will need to bring the canner back up to heat and restart the processing time to ensure the jars processed correctly.”7
If you have the lid on while you are bringing the water to a boil and filling your jars, then remove the lid, place the jars in, and then put the lid back on, you may see the gauge for a minute still showing that it’s in the green zone. That’s a false reading. Wait a minute, and you will see it fall back down out of the green zone. Wait for it to return to the green zone and give a true reading.
Once you have the jars in, the lid on, the gauge needle in the green zone and have started timing your processing, you can lower the heat on the burner a bit, further saving more cooking fuel:
Do not let the water continue to boil vigorously throughout the entire processing time. This can cause leakage and breakage of jars. Slowly turn down your burner unit, watching the needle carefully, to keep it from continuing to rise further into your green area. You need only enough heat to maintain the temperature inside your pot and to keep the needle just inside your ‘Zone’s’ green area.”8
At the end of processing time, turn the burner off. Remove the lid towards you, using it as a shield against the steam that will rush out. Set the lid somewhere safe, like on a towel, so it doesn’t suffer from heat / cold shock. Set a timer for 5 minutes, during which you leave the jars alone to settle. When the timer is up, remove the jars and place them somewhere (like on a towel) for 12 to 24 hours to cool and seal — in order words, the same as you would do for water-bath canning.
Checking the gauges
We asked Victorio customer service in 2016 if the gauges ever had to be checked, serviced or replaced, in the same manner for pressure canner gauges. The response was,
By 2018, however, Victorio had released a Word document containing the following advice:
Testing the Victorio Temperature Indicator
Follow canner instructions except use 4 one-quart [litre] jars filled with water – lids are optional. 4 jars simulate the contents of your canner in actual use but enable it to get up to temperature quicker.
It will take about 20 – 45 minutes to come up to full temperature and complete the test. The time it takes depends upon the stove that is used and heat that is applied.
If the lid starts lifting up, rattling or spitting water from around the edges, this is an indicator that it is almost up to temperature and you need to slowly turn the heat down until it stops doing any of these.
Continue to watch the indicator until the red needle stops rising. The indicator should reach the green area for your “Zone” but can vary from just reaching the green area to going far inside it. This is because the “Zones” are approximate and your exact altitude will affect the maximum position of the indicator.
Record this maximum point by marking it on the indicator knob, making a note or taking a picture. This is the point at which your canner is up to boiling temperature and it is safe to start the processing time. To ensure that each batch is properly processed, be sure to wait to start the processing time until the indicator reaches this point.
For best results this test should be repeated each year before you begin your canning and note any changes in the indicator reading from the prior year. This test will also need to be done each time your canner is used in a different location as elevation differences will cause the indicator to read differently.
Replacement indicators are available at www.VictorioProducts.com/Parts .”10
Great big billowing clouds of steam raising the lid?
Some users have a reported that they get great big billowing clouds of steam lifting the lid up, which raises concern in a few people’s minds that escaping steam lowers the temperature below safe canning temperature.
There are documented safe procedures for operating a pressure canner, which involve lowering the heat once pressure is achieved to the bare minimum required to maintain the head of steam required to keep that pressure. If you disregard the operating manual and every source of reputable advice on that and keep the heat high, you will get massive jar venting of contents, seal failures, and, it’s possible to blow the safety overpressure plug out, thus lowering the pressure below safe canning pressure. The answer of course is: don’t do it. Follow the manual instead.
Really, it’s the same answer for atmospheric steam canners such as this multi-canner. Once the desired head of steam has been achieved, you must lower the stove burner to the bare minimum required to maintain that head of steam (you quickly learn what setting it is on the dials for your stove.) Here’s what the Victorio manual says:
Do not let the water continue to boil vigorously throughout the entire processing time. This can cause leakage and breakage of jars. Slowly turn down your burner unit, watching the needle carefully, to keep it from continuing to rise further into your green area. You need only enough heat to maintain the temperature inside your pot and to keep the needle just inside your ‘Zone’s’ green area.”11
Note it says that the needle should be just inside the green zone. Not in the middle of the green zone, or at the top end of the green zone, but just inside. You’re going to probably find that’s quite a low heat setting for your burner.
We can attest that too high a head of steam will cause the top to rock and roll, like you are trying to re-create the original Flying Scotsman steam engine. That will cause even jam in jars to superheat, and vent out over the rims of the jars, almost certainly causing seal failures and thus requiring reprocessing at the proper, lower heat.
So, just like pressure canners, there is a limit to how much heat you want! Just follow the manual’s very clear and sensible directions. It will also save greatly on your home energy bills, and that’s half the point of this to start with.
Parts for Victorio canners
Victorio offers a full range of replacement parts for their canners at reasonable prices.
We’re unable to offer a direct link to their canner parts as their web site software doesn’t allow for it. To see parts, use the search box in the upper right hand of the Victorio site, and submit a search on the word “canner.”
Other uses for the Victorio steam canners: steam prep of food
Pressure canning is very different from steam canning: steam canning doesn’t reach the required higher temperatures for pressure canning.
That being clear, the Victorio steam canners can be used to help in prepping some foods in getting them ready for the pressure canner.
The USDA Complete guide allows for steaming as a prep option for items such as Sweet Potatoes, Spinach and Other Greens, Chicken or Rabbit, Clams, Tuna, etc.12 For instance, prepping sweet potatoes by steaming instead of boiling can save you both water, cooking fuel and time (because steam comes to temperature faster than a huge pot of water.) After the steaming, of course, you would then follow all other directions for additional prep and then pressure canning.
Search Amazon for further information on Victorio steam canners.
Paola Willmore, Mark Etzel, Elizabeth Andress, Barbara Ingham. Home Processing of Acid Foods in Atmospheric Steam and Boiling Water Canners. Food Protection Trends, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 150-160, May 2015. Page 159. ↩
Harris, Linda J. and Katherine E. Soule. Guidelines for Safe Canning of Acid Foods in a Steam Canner. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.ANR Publication 8573. September 2017. Page 1. ↩
Kimberley Gaver to HealthyCanning. 29 August 2016. Correspondence on file. ↩
Information from Amazon.com customer reviews and feedback sections. ↩
Barb Ingham. Professor & Extension Food Safety Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Email to Randal Oulton. 9 February 2015. Email on file. ↩
Victorio Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner, VKP1130 manual. 2014. Page 8 ↩
Victorio Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner, VKP1130 manual. 2014. Page 8. ↩
Victorio Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner, VKP1130 manual. 2014. Page 9. ↩
Victorio customer service to Randal Oulton. 11 February 2016. Email on file. ↩
Src: Victorio customer service department. 2018 ↩
Victorio Stainless Steel Multi-Use Canner, VKP1130 manual. 2014. Page 9. ↩
USDA Complete Guide, 2015. Page 4-16, 4-19, 5-5, 5-9, 5-14, ↩