I used that little cooker for a LONG time. It was perfect for the two of us as I was working full time and it was a fast way to cook a small roast when I got home from a long day. I actually still have it even though it's a few decades old now. I went on to buy a 12 quart pressure cooker too. I use that almost exclusively for canning, but I did use it different times when I was cooking a roast beef dinner for a lot of people.
What's so great about pressure cooking?
1) It's first and foremost advantage is its ability to cook fast...really fast. How about cutting down on the cooking time from 3 hours to 1 hour? That's right. It can cut cooking time by 1/3 on many recipes. Why is that an advantage? Well, knowing that you're food will turn out well and cook fast easy makes cooking at home an advantage. Especially if you're working full time or just busy in general. It makes meal planning a bit easier too. You don't have to start a meal 6-8 hours in advance when you're too busy to plan on what's for supper. I love my crockpot too, but it definitely takes thought to get a meal together when you slow cook.
2) It's my favorite way to cook dried beans.
Cooking dried beans in a pressure cooker is a dream! I actually purchased my latest pressure cooker (electric) with cooking beans in mind. It's so fast and easy and of course, so much better and economical than a can of salted canned beans. I also like the idea of being able to store lots of dried beans in the pantry with rice. They're great to have on hand. (Read my post, 3 Fool-Proof Ways to Cook Dried Beans.
3) It's a great way to cook leaner cuts of meat which means saving $$$.
Go ahead and buy those round steaks and roasts. I love my crockpot and they do a nice job of cooking, but if I'm short on time...my pressure cooker comes to the rescue! My sister made a roast beef dinner complete with carrots and potatoes for her family and hungry guests in an hour. With this kind of efficiency; it;s time to "watch out Rachel Ray, this could be the new
4) A pressure cooker is an excellent way to make quick quality broth/stock.
I was reading a few articles online about making stock with a pressure cooker. Chefs do this in the kitchen and a recipe for it is in my pressure cooker cooking guide. It takes about an hour...wow. I've actually made soup up in a hurry by using the pressure cooker.
How about the nutritional aspect of pressure cooking?
A great question to be sure. Even though some vitamins are lost during cooking, the amount of vitamins lost is the same as standard cooking. And if you consume the cooking liquid, you will regain some of the lost nutrients. According to this Eating Well online article, "In the case of grains and legumes, although the vitamins and heat-sensitive vitamins and phytonutrients are vulnerable to deterioration, the net result of pressure-cooking is a positive nutritional gain—from the increased digestibility of the macronutrients (protein, fiber and starch) and the increased bioavailability of the essential minerals." In other words, the beans are actually more easily digested with less "beanly" side effects.
What kind of pressure cooker works for you?
There are so many models to choose from and nowadays they are so much easier to use. I have an electric model (my latest purchase) and I can put pinto beans in DRY and have them come out fully cooked within 40 minutes!!! It's miraculous! I am pretty in "love" with the electric version. It sautes, browns, warms, and automatically shuts down when finished. It also doesn't make any noise. Seriously. It's a great pressure cooker to start off with as it is so easy to use.
My one tip? Get the largest capacity pressure cooker you can afford (mine was under $90.) You'll want to be able to cook up enough for the family and have extras.
You may find a pressure cooker at a yard sale. If you do and it's an old model, make sure you have an instruction book so you can buy a new gasket, and release valve for your cooker. On my old models, there are only three parts that would need replacing. The gasket is a rubber seal that can get cracked, brittle or stretched out if too old. I would suggest asking someone who knows about pressure cookers before purchasing an old one. Unless the one you find is still in its box and looks new. These older models are a little trickier to use but if you are patient, completely fine. I personally love the electric model and plan on keeping this version busy in the kitchen!
|This is my electric pressure cooker...LOVE!!|
What are your experiences with a pressure cooker?
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