How a Pressure Cooker Can Transform Your Cooking Endeavors
You've probably heard of a pressure cooker, but chances are you've never used one. Unfortunately, cooking with this handy tool is often met with apprehension. However, through the years, the pressure cooker has evolved into a much safer device,...
You've probably heard of a pressure cooker, but chances are you've never used one. Unfortunately, cooking with this handy tool is often met with apprehension. However, through the years, the pressure cooker has evolved into a much safer device, which not only shortens cooking time but also helps create delightfully scrumptious meals. To help you become better acquainted with this simple but effective technology, we've provided a handful of helpful facts and tips that will make using a pressure cooker less intimidating.
How Does It Work?
As heat builds up inside a pressure cooker, the liquid within begins to form steam, which increases the pressure in the sealed pot. That high pressure affects the cooking process in two major ways. First, it raises the temperature of the boiling liquid. While boiling water in a regular pot never surpasses 212 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature in a pressure cooker has the ability to reach 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher temperature significantly lessens the time it takes to cook your food.
The second effect a pressure cooker has on the cooking process revolves around the rate at which moisture is forced into your food. The high pressure causes moisture to enter your food at a much quicker speed, which not only decreases cooking time but also helps tougher foods tenderize faster. This really comes in handy when you're preparing a delicious pot roast for your family.
A True Time Saver
Due to time constraints, week day cooking is usually limited to quick and easy dinners. However, using a pressure cooker allows you to prepare certain foods 70 to 90 percent faster. For example, cooking a whole chicken only takes 13 to 15 minutes, and a roast is usually ready in 30 minutes instead of 1 ½ hours. Vegetables and beans also cook at a much quicker speed, which makes meals that are normally saved for the weekend achievable seven days a week.
Preparing your veggies in a pressure cooker has a huge impact on the food's vitamin and mineral retention. Due to evaporation, vegetables have a tendency to lose large amounts of both during the boiling and steaming process. The sealed lid and the speedy cooking time in a pressure cooker reduces evaporation which lessens vitamin and mineral depletion. Veggies also better maintain their taste and color when prepared in a pressure cooker.
An Energy Saver
Quick cooking and healthier meals aren't the only things a pressure cooker has to offer, it also provides you with increased energy efficiency. Due to shorter cooking time and the pot's sealed lid, preparing your meal in a pressure cooker uses 70 to 90 percent less energy than boiling or steaming your food. The lack of escaping heat allows you to turn your burner to low once the proper pressure is reached inside the pot. The minimized flame translates into a huge savings in energy when compared to other cooking techniques.
Stove Top vs. Electric
The differences between a stove top pressure cooker and an electric pressure cooker aren't huge, but knowing them can help you make a final decision when deciding between the two. Ultimately, both appliances use steam pressure to cook, however, the time it takes and the types of recipes you are able to prepare can differ.
Although, electric pressure cookers are a bit slower than stove top ones, they're ideal for individuals who find fidgeting with the heat setting intimidating. An electric pressure cooker automatically regulates the appliance's heat, which allows you to sit back and relax while your food is cooking. Most electric pressure cookers are also equipped with a timer, scheduling features, which allow for a delayed start and cooking programs.
A stove top pressure cooker requires more attention, but it can reach higher pressures which equals faster cooking. It's also much more durable than its counterpart. While an electric pressure cooker can fall victim to electrical failures, stove top pressure cookers, which are usually made of stainless steel or aluminum, have a much longer shelf life when maintained properly.
At the end of the day, whether you choose a stove top or an electric pressure cooker, you're still receiving all the benefits that go hand-in-hand with the cookware.