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Pressure cooker

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I'v heard a lot about pressure cookers, but I don't know much about them.
If it's so good, and the food is cooked thrice faster, why is it not always used?
Are there are disadvantages? Why to use regular pans?
Which kind of dishes are better prepared in the pressure cookers?
post #2 of 7
A pressure cooker is not suited to many dishes. A pressuer cooker can acheive a temperature above boiling. They work well on tough cuts of meat for dishes such as stews or swiss steak. I sometimes brown off bones and then put them in the pressure cooker to extract flavor for stocks.
post #3 of 7
As Greyeaglem mentioned, if you've got a tough piece of meat the pressure cooker is a great tool. It will also overcook vegetables; if you like them that way. Some restaurants (chicken fast food places come to mind) use pressure cookers to cook their product quickly, then dip it into a batter or other coating to deep fry it. I don't know many cooks that use pressure cookers today (everyone owned one in the 50's ;) ) and given the cost of a quality pressure cooker compared to the amount of use it might get I don't personally believe they are cost effective.
My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
My failures in life are few. The most blatant of these is my attempts at retirement. I've studied the process carefully but cannot begin to understand how it is done.
post #4 of 7
With a pressure cooker you can take $1 to $2 a pound meat and make it fall-off-the-bone tender. But instead of having to pay for it with 6 hours of stovetop gas or electricity, you can do it in 45 minutes.

Now somebody explain to me how this isn't completely win-win.:beer:

The same goes for stocks and broths. And you make them all free of food additives.

Why pressure cookers aren't as popular as they should be is beyond my comprehension.
post #5 of 7
One reason they are not popular is that there were problems with the old ones -- like the one I have that was my mother's, and is easily close to 50 years old. They scared people with their hissing and jiggling and the possibility of exploding (actually, just the regulator shooting off the top and the food spewing out the vent). :bounce:

But the new ones are much, much safer, as long as you use them according to the directions (most important: don't fill more than halfway!).

A friend of mine will have an article in the Washington Post soon on the subject.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #6 of 7

ah, memories...

This made me laugh out loud as I was once witness to such an event. Peacefully sitting at the kitchen table doing homework for school, when my mom's cooker blew its regulator. What a noise! imagine a steam locomotive whistle in your kitchen. And a geyser of whatever it was she was making jetting out the top, splattering under the hood, and raining down all over the stove. She came running in worried that I had been blown to smithereens. Luckily, I didn't have to help clean it all up! :look:
post #7 of 7

Well I've been a vegetarian for about 30 years and just recently discovered Pressure Cookers. I love mine.


They are hands-down the best and fastest way to cook beans, but I also use them for corn on the cob, potatoes, squash, and grains (like rice, quinoa, millet, etc). No more hours and hours of cooking!


These things are fast, safe, and generally non-burnable, unless you were to boil it dry, which I've never done. In fact there's a much greater chance of a cooking accident when you have to cook something for an hour or two in a regular pot (and then fail to remember to check it), than a Pressure Cooker, which usually only takes about 10 to 20 minutes to cook. Quinoa only takes 1 minute! (then you have to let it cool down for about 10 minutes...but really, only 1 minute!). Brown rice takes 10 minutes (plus the cool down time).


I've also tried making a Lentil Curry recipe that came with the pot and it turned out excellent.


I like to also fill my pot half full of potatoes (peel and all), put in a few cups of water, then pressure cook for 15 minutes, and they are done.


Look at the cooking times for other foods:


Corn on the Cob: 3 minutes

Beets (whole): 15 minutes

Squash (halved): 12 minutes

Lentils: 3-5 minutes

Garbanzo beans (soak first): 7-10 minutes

Pinto beans (soak first): 3-6 minutes


I never wanted a Microwave, because I don't trust the technology, but a Pressure Cooker is just as handy for speeding up the cooking of many foods.

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