Pressure cooking is pleasure cooking – part 1
New and old pressure cookers cook food quickly and safely when used as intended.
Pressure cooking maintains the natural flavor and nutrients of food. It is also a safe way to quickly prepare wholesome foods for your family and friends.
There are a wide variety of pressure cookers. Stove-top pressure cookers have been around for decades. Electric pressure cookers are relatively new to the market and they are all programmable. You may see the term “electric programmable pressure cooker” when reading about new pressure cookers.
Electric pressure cookers use a pre-set pressure regulator. A stove top pressure cooker uses a weighted gauge to regulate the pressure in the cooker.
A pressure cooker, regardless if it is a stove-top or an electric model is a sealed pan in which pressure builds. When the pressure is built up the food is being cooked at about 250 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hotter than the normal 212 degrees Fahrenheit boiling point. This high pressure changes the liquid in the cooker to steam which cooks the food faster. Most foods are cooked three to ten times faster than conventional cooking. Very little moisture is lost, meaning less liquid is required, resulting in more flavorful food.
Michigan State University Extension advises that your pressure cooker be in excellent shape regardless if it is a stove-top or a new electric pressure canner. If you bought your stove-top pressure cooker used, as I did, or it was handed down to you make sure you have a manual for your model. If you don’t have a manual then look for one online. If you purchase a new electric pressure cooker keep the manual with the cooker so that you have quick reference to it.
It is worth the small amount of time it will take to learn how to use your pressure cooker, regardless of the kind that it is. Always take time to read and then follow the instructions for your new or old pressure cooker.
The electric pressure cookers have a couple of conveniences over the stove-top models. The electric pressure cookers don’t require that you fidget with them as much as the stovetop models. The electric models are also well insulated so that the sides do not get nearly as hot as stovetop models do. This does not make them any better but it may be a benefit that some people would value.
Pressure cooking saves energy because they use shorter cooking times, so less power is used to cook the food. Saving energy saves money. When you cook an entire meal in one pan you also have less clean up, saving you even more time.
Read the second part of this article, Pressure cooking is pleasure cooking – part 2.