Ok so my husband has given me the go ahead to get a pressure canner. I am looking for advice on which brand and size. I am new but hope to get into preserving in a major way.
It all depends on how much canning you will actually do. It is always best to start small and see if you will have the interest and need for a larger more expensive canner. However, you stated you wanted to get into canning in a big way. Big is a relative term. Like Harriet, most folks can find something that will actually can 1 layer of quart jars to be sufficient. However, if you are really going to get serious, I'd recoment the "All American" canners. They produce a whole line of various sizes and none of them need gaskets (the most common failure among canners). I have several canners and the largest one will allow my to produce 19 quarts or 32 pints at a time. This is a link to the All American Canner. The most popular one is the size Harriet likes (the one that will do 19 pints or 7 quarts). Too many folks think go big and then find they should have stayed a little smaller. You can always do multiple batches when you do need to can a lot. In the meantime you can do smaller, more managable batches without having to fill the larger canner with empty-spacer-jars and having to heat more water and space than you need to. Also, as Harriet pointed out, the gauges may not always be acurate. Some of the older pressure cookers relied only on the gauge which had to be visually monitored. I like to use the weighted metal pressure release device. It jiggles and make noise to let me know the pressure is right. It will jiggle faster to let me know I need to reduce the heat or slower to let me know I may need to turn up the heat.