My friend, the pressure cooker

About a year ago, my Mom mentioned she got a pressure cooker.  And after seeing her use it for a little bit, I decided to jump in and get one.

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Back then, pressure cookers were kind of scary and they didn’t have nice release knobs and indicators.  And you might have heard of some tales of even exploding ones.

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Example of a scary old pressure cooker your grandma might have had.

There are quite a few videos, on Youtube on how to use a pressure cooker, and for more detail feel free to visit Modernist Cuisine on an explanation.  But here is the general gist.

  • When you boil water, the maximum temperature it can reach is 212 degrees (boiling point)
  • When you use a pressure cooker, the temperature can reach up to 250 degrees.  This means things cook faster
  • Since the lid is sealed, you use less gas/electricity

Basically using a pressure cooker will save you tons of time.  Here is an example of some things you can cooker in a pressure cooker.

Regular Cooking:

  • Beef chuck (beef stew) – 3 hours
  • Chicken thighs – 40 minutes
  • Stock from chicken bones – 1-2 hours
  • Dried beans – 6-8 hours

Pressure Cooker

  • Beef chuck (beef stew) – 15-30 minutes
  • Chicken thighs – 10 minutes
  • Stock from chicken bones – 30 mins
  • Dried beans – 40 mins

So for the most part you can get a meal on the table in about 15-40 minutes.  This is a crazy savings in time.

However, the trade off is when you use a pressure cooker, you no longer have context on how the food is cooking.  We usually use our eyes, our hands, or even a thermometer to gauge when something is done.  But we lose that ability.  The best website that tells you how long to cook something hands down is FastCooking.ca

In summary:

  • Pressure cookers can shave hours off your cooking.  Saving time is a good thing!
  • Look up the cooking times from fastcooking.ca to see how long to cook any protein or vegetable.
  • Be sure to buy a newer pressure cooker.  These have better release valves and indicators.
  • It is easiest to cook things which can handle lots of heat.  For example, chicken thighs, tough cuts of beef, root vegetables, and beans are good candidates.  For things that need gentle cooking like fish, chicken breast, etc you have to be very careful of how long you cook things.
  • If you have any questions on how to use one, feel free to drop a question on our facebook page.