Because when you cook with a pressure cooker you can save as much as 2/3rds of your energy use!
How is this possible?
All domestic cookers vary in their performance. But no matter how efficient your cooker is, or isn't, and no matter what fuel you use, cooking food under pressure reduces the time and fuel needed.
This is because at higher pressures, water will boil at above 100 degrees centigrade, even up to 121 degrees in some pressure cookers. The extra temperature makes the food cook faster. No extra fuel is consumed during this shorter time frame. You just get faster cooking at reduced cost!
How safe are pressure cookers?
When they were first created there were tales of pressure cookers exploding. There were also incidents where the weights would blow off under pressure and food stuffs would bubble out onto the cooker.
Modern pressure cookers do not generally suffer these problems and are quite safe and easy to use.
The lid of the pressure cooker has an airtight seal around the rim which prevents heat and steam from escaping. A pressure valve sits on top of a small hole in the lid which allows steam to escape only when the desired pressure is reached. e.g. 121 degrees centigrade.
The heat is reduced on the cooker hob (gas or electric) when the chosen pressure is reached and the food simmers without the steam escaping. The contents of the pressure cooker stay at the higher temperature throughout cooking.
There is often a choice of pressures available, typically 5, 10 and 15 lbs of extra pressure, or low medium and high pressure. 15 lbs of pressure (15 psi) results in water boiling at 121 degrees Celsius.
Pressure cookers are versatile; you can even use them when you are camping or caravaning!
It is easy to cook a large meal using a pressure cooker. You can also use them for steaming puddings and for preparing vegetables for freezing. They are great for preparing Christmas puddings.
The Nesco PC6-25P has had some great reviews at Amazon, as has the Cuisinart CPC-600. Look for a versatile model which can generate a decent amount of pressure. The Nesco, for example will cook at up to 15 psi which is enough for domestic cookery needs.
Modern pressure cookers are well designed and easy to use. A good size is 3 litres. Make sure there is a range of trivets so that you can easily cook different foods together. See Cooking with a Pressure Cooker for more about pressure cooking techniques and recipes.
For my money stainless steel is the metal to choose. Stainless steel is very safe. Unlike aluminium there is no risk of the metal interacting with the foodstuffs and causing health problems. It is also easy to clean and is an excellent conductor of heat.
Other than that, look for good design, robust construction and a decent warranty and part replacement service.
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