Ball FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System

Ball® FreshTECH

Sometime yesterday, Jarden Home Brands added a new Ball branded appliance to the Fresh Preserving online store. Called the Ball FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System, this device takes the place of a traditional water bath in the processing of jars for shelf stability. A couple weeks ago, I went up to New York for a media event at which the FreshTECH Automatic Canner was demonstrated and was intrigued by its potential (though just to be clear, I also have a number of reservations about it. We’ll get to those later).

Instead of submerging the jars in a pot of water, it works with just a few inches of water. The device uses that water to create steam and a small amount of pressure to ensure safely processed and sterilized jars. For those of you who are made nervous by the talk of pressure, know that this canner doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of pressure that your average pressure cooker or canner reaches. It goes to just 3 psi, in order to get the temperature to between 215 and 218 degrees F.


The capacity of this canner is three quart jars, four pint jars, or six regular mouth half pints. They don’t recommend stacking jars inside the canner, so if you were to use wide mouth half pints, it would only be able to hold four.

The way it works is that you put your full, closed jars of product in the canner and punch in a code that corresponds with the recipe you’ve used. It will slowly heat and build pressure. Once it has reached the appropriate temperature and pressure setting, it sings a little tune and the processing period begins. When the time is up, the canner then cools and depressurizes. The period the jars are in the canner are often longer overall than in a traditional canning, because of the necessary heating and cooling. However, it’s all hands-off time. You don’t have to tend a canning pot or check to ensure that it’s maintaining the proper boil.

Hugh Acheson

Southern chef Hugh Acheson demonstrated the FreshTECH canner at the media event. I was amused by the fact that he cracked some of the same canning jokes that I typically make in my classes. Canning geeks, unite!

I haven’t had my hands one of these FreshTECH Canners yet, but am expecting a review unit in the next week or so (I’ll follow up with first-hand thoughts after I’ve had a chance to use it). But from observation, here are some of my initial thoughts.

It could be a great device to get nervous beginners acclimated to canning. It may also be a boon for people who want to can but have small kids or work responsibilities that makes it hard to tend a canning pot. You put the jars in, set the machine and it processes them without another thought. You just have to stay close enough to open it and remove the jars once the time is up.

One thing that gives me major pause is the fact that the manufacturers currently recommend that you only use this device with their recipes and they have no plans to offer instruction as to how you can adapt it for use with your favorite recipes. I can understand that they don’t want to be responsible for preserving projects gone awry, but to my mind, if a recipe is safe for boiling water bath canning, it should be safe for use in the FreshTECH Canner. The fact that it seems like they’re trying to create a closed system of recipes and products makes me hesitant.

Ball FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System

The other thing that concerns me is what the FreshTECH communicates to the canning uncertain. I spend a goodly portion of my life calming the fears of beginning preservers and so am well acquainted with the level of anxiety that canning carries. Because this device uses a small amount of pressure to elevate the temperature a few degrees over the boiling point, I worry that some will interpret that to mean that the boiling water bath (the gold standard of high acid canning) is no longer good enough and that an elevated temperature is necessary for all products.

All that said, I am still curious about it and am looking forward to seeing first-hand how it works. My best case scenario is that it becomes a useful appliance in a home canner’s toolbox (though at $299.95, it will be a pricy tool).

What do you all think? Is this something you’d use?

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181 Responses to Ball FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System

  1. 151
    Jean says:

    Success at last (just finished two 4 pint batches of peaches-every jar sealed) !!!!! Maybe not for canning pros, but this canner is well worth my money.

  2. 152
    Evelyn Westby says:

    can this canner use 12 0z. jars. would like to know before purchasing one. would treat them like pint jars for timing. please reply

  3. 153
    Kris Novosedlik says:

    I would love to try one of these because I have a ceramic stove top and don’t want to risk breaking it.

    However that said I would also like to can meat when it is on sale. Meat has to be processed at 180 degrees for 90 min to be safe. If it would do that I would want one tomorrow.

    The small capacity is an issue too but I’d settle for doing whatever quantity I could do.

    Ball should know there are people like me interested in canning larger quantities and low acid foods especially with an electric pressure canner.

    • 153.1
      Marisa says:

      Meat has to be processed at 250 degrees to be safe. You need to do it in a pressure canner. While this automatic canner uses a small amount of pressure, it is not a pressure canner.

    • 153.2
      paula says:

      No, low acid foods, such as meat, need a higher temp and psi to about 11-15. This assures the microbes that grow anaerobically a killed. This device seems to only substitutes for the waterbath canning method.

  4. 154
    darlene says:

    hi there;
    just found your blog and really appreciate your safety comments for canning. i love canning but we don’t have the time and also struggle with second guessing the safety, so i love the idea of the Ball machine. i see you were going to do a review on it but don’t see it anywhere in your site…did you ever do the actual review? should love to here about it before we spend that $300..

  5. 155
    Christy Ballinger says:


    I received the FreshTech Automatic Home Canning System for Christmas of 2014 and as berries are becoming in season, I have finally used it. There are pro’s and con’s but overall I am satisfied. I do agree with you on the recipe monopoly — it seems like the company would appeal to more consumers if they were more flexible. They do have a good website and I have to admit I have “fudged” on some of the recipes and have used other brands of jars. All of my jams have turned out just fine.

    Thanks for your blog, it’s so informative! 😀

  6. 156
    laura says:

    Hi! I’m late to the auto-canning party, but I’m wondering if it really is dangerous to use it with my own recipes. There are only a handful of jam recipes in the booklet that comes with the appliance…and frankly they don’t sound all that interesting, pina colada jam? What the heck would I even put that on?

    And the promised new/additional recipes don’t appear to have materialized on the website.

    Anyway….what it comes down to is if I can’t use other recipes (that would be safe for water-bath canning), then I’m not sure I have a use for the auto-canner. Thoughts?

  7. 157
    Gail says:

    I have the Fresh Tech Automatic canning system and the Jam maker. I was shocked to find out that the recipes for jam, that came with the automatic canning system, are too much, in volume, for the jam maker. Before I used the auto-canner recipes I called the Ball Company to ask if I could use the canner recipes in my jam maker…they said “Of Course!” NOT!! It will boil your jam maker over—for crying out loud!!
    Also, I think their little rule about only using their recipes is self-centered, on their part. I have used other recipes in the Auto-Canner. They did fine. You just have to use the same volume of ingredients and same jar sizes.
    Their recipes aren’t consistent, either. In the Italian-Style Pasta Sauce recipe it says it produces 4 pints of sauce for canning, with no instructions for making a larger amount. Yet, in the Basic Tomato Sauce recipe you can make 4 pints or 3 quarts?! Why not 3 quarts in the Pasta sauce? To a novice canner they would believe that you could not make 3 quarts with the first recipe. Those recipes need to be corrected.
    And they have not made any new, useful recipes, yet.
    I am still waiting.

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