Just as crock pots and slow cookers have come back into fashion among time-starved cooks and homemakers, another of our mother’s traditional small kitchen appliances is making a come-back these days. It’s the pressure cooker, believe it or not!
With a crockpot, you must plan head and get the dish assembled, but then you can leave it to cook all day and supper will be ready when you get home because a crockpot creates a low constant heat that cooks food slowly over a long time. On the other hand, a pressure cooker uses heat and pressure to cut cooking time in as much as one-third, so you can get supper on the table quickly.
A pressure cooker is a pot of boiling water which has been sealed shut. Because the water vapour cannot escape to the atmosphere at the boiling point, 100 degrees C, the temperature and pressure increase above that temperature. This means that food cooks faster in a pressure cooker…
The steam pressure breaks down the fibres of the food a lot faster than just boiling the food would do. Because the food is cooked so quickly, the energy needed to cook the food is 50-75% less than other cooking methods.
Perfect for winter comfort foods like hearty stews and pot roasts and chili, a Pressure Cooker is a good “green” choice for the busy modern cook because it can reduce cooking time, save energy, preserve nutrients that would be destroyed by prolonged cooking — and turn out a tasty hot dinner.
The old horror stories of exploding pressure cookers — ask your mother or grandmother about that! — are a thing of the past with new appliance designs and safeguards. For example, the new style of pressure cookers won’t open until the pressure inside is reduced to safe levels. The key is to periodically inspect all the gaskets and fastenings, to make sure the cooker is in proper operating condition.