Crème de la thong soup! Mmmmmm !!!
The theory behind the pressure cooker is that, just like a car's cooling system, the boiling point of the water is raised (being under pressure). This enables the food to be cooked hotter and so speeds up the process, so yes, cooking time is shortened. Theoretically you would therefore save power, but in some circumstances without due care this can be cancelled out by the energy lost through pressure venting. But if you have time to monitor the cooker and the element setting, it's a great way to cook!
My Mum used a pressure cooker all the time. The floor in our kitchen was old and bouncy so when you walked past the stove it would start hissing and steaming. It terrified me as a child and I have never got over the fear of pressure cookers. We have one now but I don't use it
Have used one for many years, they are great things, but a little scary! Modern ones are not so bad now but I believe they do not reach 15psi like the old ones did.
Better than a slow cooker - more flavour, stews cook in 5 to 10 minutes...
Also great for bottling, but you need a high dome one for that and a pressure control that is adjustable.
The cooker base makes a great saucepan too.
..are VERY handy if you have oodles of crab apples. Wash the crabbies, chop them in half, cook briefly in the pressure cooker, then put the ensuing pulp through a sieve to make jam, apple leather etc. Chuck the pips, stalks & most skins out (obviously). Apple pulp made like this dries very well in a dehydrator. It also makes an excellent base for cakes - apple cake, fruit cake...yum.
You can also pressure cook small plums this way to make it easy to get the stones out - just mash the cooked pulp and take the stones out. Since small plums are often produced in bucketloads, using the pressure cooker is an excellent way to get something useful out of an abundance of fruit which might be too hard to process otherwise.
The better quality modern pressure cookers can operate at 15 psi, and some can be adjusted to operate at a selected pressure. Many cheaper ones do not go this high, as they are not robust enough, so recipes designed for good pressure cookers may need to have about 10 to 20% added to the cooking time, depending on the rating of the cooker. Mine doesn't have a rating, which shows it isn't very high pressure at all, (or high quality but it was worth at least what it cost ) and it generally needs 20% more time, but still does the job quite a bit faster than a standard pot.
Lamb shanks in 40 minutes from go to whoa. Yum.
I still have the very, very, very old Prestige that my mother had when I was a kid. (Not that I'm very old actually This is what's commonly referred to as a Northern exaggeration. ) I think it was handed down from my grandmother. It has a weight that bobbles around on top and can go 5, 10 and 15 LBs of pressure. I occasionally use for cooking the fillet fish scrap for the chooks. Cheap to buy and the pressure cooker makes the bones go soft, so they can eat the lot (and they are like sharks at a feeding frenzy) Good way to kick start the laying season by boosting protein once or twice a week.
Stikkibeek, mine sounds same as yours. I paid $5 for it at local Lions gala day and use it to cook dog stews. Much quicker than old saucepan saving gas as well. Have got used to steam and vent hissing and now feel happy it is not going to blow up.
I have one of those modern mains powered pressure cookers. Absolutely LOVE it. Set the cooking time and let it do its stuff. Dead easy. Now I just have to work out what the optimum cooking times are... Last week's attempt at al dente lentils to make a british indian restaurant dhansak turned into lentil puree. Still nice in the curry, but not what I was aiming for
I did have a stove top jobbie, but rarely used it as I was always scared stiff about the possibility of an exploding hot steam bomb in the kitchen when I tried to use it thanks to the very unhelpful chinglish instructions that seemed to refer to some other contraption.
I have a beautiful heavy based stainless steel Italian pressure cooker. No fears about the top exploding off as the lid fits inside the pot and then clamps up into place and seals. It has the usual steam vent and another safety pressure release valve in case the first one gets blocked.
I mostly use it for cooking dried beans, Chick peas, lentils on occasion, lima beans, etc. Lentils can be cooked in 10 minutes. Chick peas I usually cook for about 20- 30 minutes to get them nicely soft. Most legumes take about 20 minutes.
Thanks for the tip on doing fruit in the pressure cooker.
I have used a pressure cooker for years......it is almost impossible to blow them up unless you overfill them, even then, the safety valve would blow and you get a nice repainted ceiling!
Those new electric ones don't get up to as much pressure as the old ones (15psi). I had two (Breville), sent them both back due to faults and stuck with my old Prestige. I can cook shin beef in 5-10 minutes, no problem. OK, they are a bit scary when depressurizing, but you get used to it.
Another good thing with the old ones is that they are not non stick coated, so no worry about toxic residues - but don't get an aluminum one.
kai wrote: I have a stainless steel one, but I would love to know where I can get a new gasket for it.