Using a Pressure Cooker is One Good Way to Green Up Your Kitchen

Why?

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?

Very!

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.

Some advantages of using a pressure cooker

  • Pressure cookers are fast. People are often amazed just how much time they can save. For example, a meat stew can be thoroughly cooked and ready in 20 minutes. If you enjoy growing beans it's nice to be able to dry and store some. Dried beans, which are notoriously slow to cook in a pan, can be done in about 30 minutes provided that they have been soaked for an hour or two first.
  • Because pressure cookers are fast they save fuel. And you don't have to have the heat on full once the pressure cooker get up to pressure.
  • They can also save money because it becomes practicable to use dried beans and other foods instead of canned. This is also healthier for you and your family because tinned beans and other products may contain traces of chemicals from the can and its lining.
  • Another way using a pressure cooker can save money is using it to tenderise the cheaper cuts of meat. They can also be used successfully to create stock. Delicious meals can be created from relatively unpromising ingredients such as soup bones and left over meat scraps.
  • Traditional recipes and ingredients become more user-friendly when you have a pressure cooker as part of your kitchen arsenal. All those recipes which call for chicken stock or mutton are much more do-able.
  • Puddings are easy in a pressure cooker once you get used to the process. (Though I must say, a microwave is easier and faster.)
  • Pressure cookers are actually cleaner than conventional pans; less steam escapes to run down windows and walls and cooking smells are minimised because the steam is mostly being kept in the pot.
  • Pressure cookers are versatile tools. You can use the larger ones such as this Presto model for canning for example.
  • Provided that you use them correctly, they are unlikely to boil dry and spoil the food.
  • You can also use modern pressure cooker to cook more than one thing at once.




  • For other energy saving tips in the kitchen click here

    How does a pressure cooker work?

    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.


    What to look for in a pressure cooker

    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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