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Pressure Cooker... revisited?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Earlier this week I heard a radio show talking about pressure cooker and I certainly learned a few things, but was left on my appetite…lol! I want to know more but I am having trouble finding the information I seek…


The show talked about selecting a pressure cooking that has a gauge indicating the pressure in the cooker… that was new to me. So the pressure is really important. He was also saying that it is a great way to make stocks, but you need to keep just below the boiling point… which varies depending on the pressure.  Apparently, Heston Blumenthal is making great use of pressure cookers in his restaurant. So I was trying to find out about the various pressures for different foods (vegetables, legumes, meats…).  I have seen ads for cookers with 7.5 psi and others at 15psi.  I have also a canning cooker that has several weights so as to get different pressures. 


Has anyone seen any information along those lines? 


I have found some real neat pressure cookers on the internet, some replacing steamer, rice cooker, slow cooker and more... Has anyone yet have come up with an induction one? 

post #2 of 16

I have this 4.8 quart Chefs Design pressure cooker that I like.  It works on my induction plate fine.  It came with two pressure regulators,  but I forget what pressures they give.  I think it's standard (15 psi) and higher pressure (?? psi).


For brown rice or a small pot of lentils, I really like Indian Hawkins classic pressure cookers even better (1.5 or 2 liter).  For me,  they make brown rice feasible.  Mine are aluminum and I'm not sure the stainless steel version works on induction.  I suspect for sizes larger than 3 liters the Chefs Design is better.



post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hello, When i mention induction, it is not related to my cooktop...i am refering to the device itself being electrical and heating using induction.  I really wonder they have not come up with it yes for slow cooker, they are so energy wasteful...

And thanks for your input!


post #4 of 16


Fred,  I am confused by what you asking.  You mention making stock in the pressure cooker but keeping it just below the boiling point.  With pressure cooking,  that is not possible since pressure cooking depends upon the steam that results from bringing the liquid to the point of boiling.   At 15psi, for instance, the temperature of the liquid is raised to 250 degrees.   The temperature is less at 7.5, but still well past the boiling point.  So, you see that using the pressure cooker but keeping the temperature below the boiling point are mutually exclusive.   Pressure cookers became available for home use in the early 1900's,  and at that time 15psi was set as the standard pressure,  although some manufacturers developed adjustable weight systems,  so that more delicate foods could be cooked at 5# or 10# pressure.  However,  when cooking vegetables,  legumes, meats, etc, you should be looking at various cooking times,  rather than different pressure for each.   At the present time I have 4 stovetop pressure cookers; all at 15psi.  I have no experience with the electric cookers to which you referred.  Induction models may be a thing of the future,  but I know of none being produced at the present time.  So your choices are:  electric cooker or stovetop.  If your stovetop should happen to be induction,  you will want to be sure the cooker you choose will work on it.  If a magnet will not stick to the bottom of the pan,  it will not work with an induction stovetop. 

"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much... if you are fluent in french you can listen to the podcast ( http://medias-balado.radio-canada.ca/diffusion/2012/balado/src/CBF/assiette-20120313-1041.mp3 ).  Confused? that is why i am reaching out to get some more information.  I would really like to see a graph of the temperature, pressure, "jiggling" of the weight indicator and the exact boiling point.  Because, you get 15psi when the weight is lifted from its seat and "jiggles".  The seal occurs sometime before that.  And the water boils at 121ºC    So, can you get 15psi and 120ºC ? That is still below the boiling point...  Is the pressure / temperature boiling point linear?


PS: who is Fred ?


post #6 of 16

Never had a pressure cooker till a few years ago.  Mentioned to sister that I had just made a big batch of chili... something that's had to go SMALL on.  I knew left-overs would freeze just fine, but space in freezer was an issue.  Siince I do some canning, mentioned I was gonna jar up the left-overs for later.  When she mentioned I was risking DEATH processing stuff with meat in it like I did tomatoes or pickles... went out shopping.  Bought a Presto (I think??) pressure cooker/canner.  Pretty much "no-frills"... no fancy controls, just that jiggly thingie on the top.  Not very big, holds 4 pint jars, and works just fine for me.

post #7 of 16



I have been using a pressure cooker for about two years and love it.  Let me see if I can answer some of your questions.


If by qauge you mean a dial I haven't seen that except on pressure canners but all will have a pressure indicator of some kind.  The old jiggler style has a weighted valve that will jiggle as it vents steam to maintain pressure.  The newer switch type generally have pop up indicator and vent steam when at pressure. There is also a new type that doesn't vent but uses a pop up spring valve with markings on the stem to indicate pressure.


Generally the standard pressures are low, 10 psi, and high, 15 psi.  If your PC uses different pressures you will have to adjust the times.


Here is a table for pressure vs boiling point.  It uses absolute pressure rather gauge pressure so you have to convert. Absolute pressure is gauge pressure plus air pressure, which is 15psi. So a 10 psi PC would be 25psi absolute and the boiling point would be about 240F. For 15 psi, it becomes 30 psi and 250F.




When you are cooking in a PC you will generally not actually be boiling even though you are above usual boiling point of water.  As you know when you boil a pot of water you start to get steam well before it comes to a full boil.  In a sealed PC as you bring it to pressure the steam is trapped and raises the pressure, this in turn raises the BP. Once you are at pressure any additional steam must be vented and since you are only venting a little steam you know you are at a bare simmer. A quick release could drop pressure fast enough to cause the contents to boil but it would only be for a few moments.


I do love my PC stock, but once you start cooking rice and dried beans in a PC you will be a convert.


Miss Vickie has lots of good information on her web site including detailed time and pressure charts for various foods. Also any of Lorna Sass' PC cook books give detailed tables as well as recipes.




Hope this helps.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Wow! thank you so much... sure does helps!  and the graph / table helps explaining why, when i put hot liquid in a mason jar and seal it, it sometimes start to boil (and sometimes do a mess...) Now I will check the temperature before sealing it.  Really helpful!  Never tried rice, I am using the lots of water method and drain before fully cooked then let it finish in a strainer on top of the cooking water, so steam finishes it, works for all rice types. But i will try in my pressure cooker.



post #9 of 16

Your welcome. 


If I am doing just rice what I usually do is put a couple of cups of water in the PC with a rack in the bottom.  Then I put rice and water or stock and anything else in a SS bowl that will fit inside the PC.  This keeps the rice from scorching on the bottom.  Try brown rice 1:2 with water and chicken stock, under pressure for 15 minutes, natural release.  It is done in under 30 minutes and the taste and texture are fantastic.


I also do a black bean soup, with soaked dried beans it is 15 minutes under pressure instead of 90 minutes in a pot. Again the texture of the beans is fantastic, better than I ever got in a pot.

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Have you tried red kidney beans?  and how much water for your soup?

post #11 of 16

Here's a starting point: http://www.fagoramerica.com/my_fagor/recipe_library/pressure_cooker_recipes

Originally Posted by FrereAndre View Post

Have you tried red kidney beans?  and how much water for your soup?

Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
post #12 of 16

For the complete recipe go to




It is a variation on a recipe by Lorna Sass from her book Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.


I add 2 cups chicken stock and reduce the cooking water to 3 cups.  Also if I have some smoked pork or turkey available I will add about a cup of finely diced for the smoke flavor.

post #13 of 16

My fagor seems to vent more steam than my old rocker weight cooker. So I need to add more water, I've taken to covering the beans by about 2-2.5 inches of water and that's worked OK so far. Kidney beans probably need a full hour, maybe even 70 minutes if you're using them without a pre-soak or other hydrating method. So perhaps even a little more water would be needed for the extra time.


Small red beans or black beans tend to run about 50 minutes in my experience without a pre-soak.


The pressure cooker and beans is one time I like to use my large teaball to hold some onion, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns. It's easy to remove these aromatics with them inside the teaball, yet still provide good extra flavor.

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks that helps too.  I noticed that the fagor from their site has low and high pressure settings, however the low is 5psi and the high is 9psi... both of them are far from the 15psi that seemed to be the norm at some time.  I have a Instantpot ( http://www.amazon.ca/Instant-IP-LUX60-Programmable-Generation-Pot/dp/B0073GIN08/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1340219993&sr=8-3 ) which has a pressure of 11.7psi  so time adjustments is necessary, but it seems that a lot of recipes do not specify the pressure implied.  So, i am giving a try for the kidney beans with the following: 

Soak 1 hour, Pressure cooking at 11.7psi for 32 minutes, normal cooling..... and i will see in a few minutes how it went.


The Instapot has a rice setting (no adjustments possible) and for basmati rice, both time the rice was overcooked... i do not appreciate rice on the mushy side.. 


So finding what works for the device you have seem to be a much more picky venture as i anticipated. 


Take Notes! ...lol!

and thanks for contributing... FrèreAndré

post #15 of 16

I have the Fagor Duo that hits 10 and 15 PSI.  My comments were based on the 15 PSI setting.

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

and the red kidney beans were quite nicely cooked, intact but cooked through.


I did not see that model on their website. Thanks for the clarification!

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