October 27, 2014

Bringing Back the Pressure Cooker (& need your help)

Sep4

I’ve determined that I am bringing the pressure cooker back, and I think we’re all going to jump on this food train. (Although for many of you it never went anywhere.) Yes, that kitchen tool that typically has us all hiding in the corner for fear our foods may explode on impact will most likely become our most loved appliance, especially with my new Ten Minute Dinner journey. And if anyone could have chicken and sauce splattered on the ceiling, it would occur in my home, trust me…bedlam.

It’s hard to think any appliance will come close to to my Kitchen Aid and Crock Pot, yet from what my inside sources have shared, even the Crock Pot won’t hold a candle to the ease in which foods are cooked in my pressure cooker.  With everything from meats, poultry, beans, rice, grains and even dessert sauces, pressure cookers get it done in literally minutes, instead of hours. This is all second hand info, of course. I talk a big game, but I haven’t purchased one yet, so I need your help.

Pressure cookers have changed dramatically through the years, which is why I now am ready to purchase one. Since I know my personality too well, all the food “babysitting” I would have had to do on the older models would not have been a good match for me, but the new ones have wonderful safety features that eliminate those issues.

But, which pressure cooker should I buy?

There are cookers ranging from $30 – hundreds. I am willing to invest in a quality stainless steel model, since I know it will be a worthwhile invest and last for years, but I do not know where to start. There are so many features and choices, from stove top models, to stand alone ones (which I’ve heard takes a bit longer).

Please chime in if you have any knowledge of pressure cookers. (Or even funny stories about the pressure cookers of old. I am sure there are a few out there.)

If pressure cookers are new to you, I will report back once I purchase one and start experimenting with them because honestly, for those of us wanting healthy, homemade meals on the table in minutes, the pressure cooker is going to be another secret weapon to making that happen.

For me,  it’s just one more thing to “learn,” and I’m sure you know the feeling, I’ll do the researching for you and let you know what I find out.

So, what are you favorite things about a pressure cooker? What do you make in yours or what tips and tricks have you heard to aid in my research?

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Comments

  1. I have never used one…I remember my mom using one and telling me how dangerous they are…this may be when I decided the kitchen was not a friendly place and I went outside to play instead of learning how to cook. Something I have long regretted…I would love to hear the “why” on using one.

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  2. I have never used a pressure cooker but have a friend who swears by hers. She has a large family and it works well for her.

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  3. I have QVC’s Cook’s Essentials electronic pressure cooker and I love it. It’s perfect for lean meats like grass-fed beef/pork. I’ve only had one accident with it, and it was my fault. I was in a hurry and forgot to lock it. I lifted the lid and the soup I was making splattered everywhere, including the ceiling. I check and double-check the lock now! :o)

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  4. Oooh, I’ll be reading your update(s) with excitement! I don’t know a thing about pressure cookers, but I love kitchen gadgets and learning about different ways to cook. Keep us updated! (and thanks for the link-up!)

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  5. Thanks for the party. I hope you enjoyed your weekend.
    I have never used a pressure cooker.

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  6. I have a pressure cooker. My issue is that I never time things quite right and usually I have to cook it quite a bit more. If I were to purchase again, I would probably go electric for precision. My cooker is nice and sturdy and is QVC cook’s essentials brand!

    The best resource I can think of: http://fastcooking.ca/pressure_cookers/cooking_times_pressure_cooker.php

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  7. I have a very old pressure cooker that I use for all kinds of things, mainly beans but also potatoes and other hard veg – it takes just a few minutes. Lentil soup is a dream in the pressure cooker. The only thing is to make sure you are not tempted to overfill :D PS I did a link p to my Baked Marinara-stuffed Arancini but somehow my name is up instead of the recipe name. Don’t know how that happened.Sorry! I don’t know if I should try it again but I don’t want to have a double entry as that just looks greedy

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  8. One thing I notice with my pressure cooker — Presto brand, I think, from Target — is that it’s more difficult than a crockpot to clean up. There’s a small insert which lifts the food out of the water. It always seems to need steel wool to get clean.

    Jora

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  9. I will be interested to learn more about the newer models of pressure cookers, as well. I have a really old one in the house that I used years ago when we had a large garden – but not sure I would trust it to use now.

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  10. I have never used a pressure cooker but I’m excited to see what tasty recipes I’m sure you’ll come up with. I may be tempted to buy one ;)

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  11. My sister uses one that’s a stovetop, it’s really good quality, which does make a difference. It’s a Swedish or German brand I’m not sure the name. Invest in a good one, the $20 isn’t going to work as well!

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  12. Kim Franklin says:

    I use my pressure cooker to fry chicken. Works like a dream! They are nothing to be afraid of :)

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  13. Cat Sullivan says:

    FYI. I got a wonderful stovetop one, but as soon as I upgraded to stove to gas, the pressure cooker can’t handle it very well. It gets really picky on how ‘high’ to turn the heal (talking millimeters of rotation). It’s a common problem I hear.

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  14. I have a Quisinart Electric one I got at Costco a year or so ago. I had seen Jacques Pepin use one on has show, and got excited because I don’t have that gadget. I read up on them and thought I’d go ahead and get one…I have used in only a few times. It is easy to use, I just don’t use it. And for cooking brown rice it didn’t seem to be much quicker since it takes a while for the pressure to build up so it can start the timer.
    I have a stovetop pressure canner (which can be used for food too) but it is huge and something that needs to be babysat because the pressure is much harder to keep constant.

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  15. I’m a long time lurker, and have never posted before, but I think it’s wonderful that you’re going to try out a pressure cooker! I have a Fagor I purchased from Macys after quite a bit of research. They run regular sales and I’m sure it was at least half off – I doubt I paid more than $50 for it but I use it several times a week, and it’s just so versatile. One of our favorite meals is rice and chicken – about 15 minutes from start to finish.

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    Dawn Reply:

    I have a Fagor too–got it at Macy’s. I researched them quite a bit before I bought mine and the Elite line from Fagor got good reviews. I wanted a Kuhn Rikon brand but as I hadn’t used a pressure cooker before I didn’t think it was worth spending quite that much. I just wasn’t sure how much I would use it etc. Definitely love mine. I use it all the time. We eat meat free at home and to always plan ahead to have a protein source cooked–usually a bean–was difficult. The pressure cooker is easy to use. Comes with a book that explains how to use it and has recipes and also comes with a DVD showing how to use it. I think for a big family you will need a large size but when on sale still a great deal as it will save you time and money.

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  16. I have a very large pressure canner/cooker that I’ve only used for canning. It’s an All-American brand. One thing I really like about it is that it doesn’t have a gasket like some models. It’s a metal on metal seal. For me the few peices the better.

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  17. Jen, I think you will enjoy your pressure cooker as a busy mom helper. I find that most everything I would cook in a slow cooker does equally well in this (fast cooker). I have many times forgotten to load the crock pot and have been rescued.
    My beloved cooker is by Wolfgang Puck I think purchased at HSN or maybe QVC.awhile ago. It is programable and not complicated. The interior is a sturdy nonstick finish,so easy.The lid is twist on -twist off and wont budge until the pressure comes down,completely safe.Oh and the outside is stylin in stainless and black.
    Happy Shopping! I’m looking forward to your successful new pressure cooker recipes.

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  18. Hi Jen, I remember my mom using a pressure cooker for green beans. I’m looking forward to Becoming and meeting your team!

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    Jen Reply:

    Jackie – I was just going to email you. :) So excited to meet you as well. It’s going to be a fun weekend.

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  19. I have an ancient Mirro brand pressure cooker that I use quite often, but its aluminum and I honestly wouldnt recommend that to anyone. I’ve been thinking about purchasing a stainless steel one after mentioning it a few days ago Im at the thinking stage now.

    I dont have any experience with newer varieties other than the old fashioned stove-top pressure cookers. And I wouldnt use my All American Canner as a pressure cooker for food. I read in All Americans owners manual to not use it interchangeably.

    If I were buying a new one, I would buy stainless steel, I would buy a stove-top type, mainly because space is limited at my house, and when Im cooking, its safest on the stove. Im not sure about the newer types since I’ve only used the ones with jigglers/rockers on them. I know thats no help. I also would get at least an 8 quart cooker, maybe a 10 qt. I’d have to physically look at them to know for sure. The last thing you want or need is a too small pressure cooker.

    What I cook in mine.. Boiled New England Dinners, Pot Roasts with potatoes, onions, & carrots, Corned beef & veggies, Stuffed Bell Peppers, Shortribs or other ribs… and I have used it to cook whole chickens really fast. Any veggies that take more than 10 or 15 minutes to cook.

    My mom used to make spaghetti in hers but I never have.

    The book that came with mine has other meat/meal recipes for Chili Con Carne, Beef Stroganoff, Hungarian Goulash, Meat Loaf, Hamburger potato dinner, Bbq’d Short Ribs, Swiss steak w pickled onions, Beef Vegetable Dinner, Stuffed pork chops, spareribs, sauerkraut & potatoes, potato salad & frankfuters, Scalloped potatoes & ham, Pork chops & brown rice, Chop Suey, Chow Mein, Rice, Hawaiian Pork, Cassouley, Veal or lamb stew with dumplings, Dumplings, Irish Stew, Veal Scallopini, Veal Marengo, Chicken Paprika (Paprikash), Fried Chicken, Chicken Ala King, Sweet Sour Rabbit (Hasenpfeffer), &Venison Pot Roast.

    It also has Fish & Seafood, Soups & Chowders, Vegetables, Desserts/cereals & fruit sections.

    Im going to have to try some of the above mentioned meals.. I usually only use it for those things I listed above.

    I have a pressure cooker cookbook on hold from the library but I havent gotten it yet. I try to always check them out before I buy them.. a sort of try it before you buy it, if you will. :)

    Looking forward to hearing more about the newer styles from others who use them.

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  20. cindy ultican says:

    cant wait to see what you choose! ive been thinking of getting one also, since the new ones are much safer!

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  21. Wow, I’m interested in hearing what you find out about the new kinds of pressure cookers. I used to have an aluminum Mirro I bought in the early ’90s. We eat tons of beans (I know, cue the jokes…), and they really speed up the process. Tricky, though. I haven’t used it in years, though.

    An oldie but goodie vegetarian cookbook entitled “Diet for a Small Planet” by Frances Moore Lappe’ is what finally got me into using the pressure cooker. It also has a very good veggie burget recipe and the best lentil and tomato soup recipes I’ve ever made!

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  22. I have a Duromatic that I bought about 10 years ago. Now that I live at 7000 ft. elevation, it’s nice to use because cooking everything takes longer here when cooking with conventional cookware. If you live in the Phoenix area, they are sold and they give FREE classes and recipes on using them at Shar’s Bosch Kitchen Center in Chandler, AZ.
    Duromatic makes different sizes of pressure cookers so there’s a size for every family.

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  23. I love my cuisnart electric pressure cooker! It’s one of my most favorite kitchen gadgets to date because you set it up, walk away (or run the kids somewhere) and dinner is done when you come back.

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  24. Thanks for the linky! Honestly, I don’t know anything about pressure cookers, except they sound a little scary! Haha! I will be interested to see what you end up doing about one! :)

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  25. Check out this blog, Robyn from http://www.mypinkstamper.com/ just got a Cuisinart for about $99 and has used and blogged about it several times. She loves hers. I’m intrigued by the idea as I’m always in a rush to get dinner done. I’ll be interested to find out what you end up buying.

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  26. I have NO pressure cooker knowledge! So I’ll be very interested to hear what you do with one! And loved reading the comments about them – sounds like such a great time-saver. Thanks for hosting! :)

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  27. You might find one at a garage sale or favorite Goodwill, if you do, you can take it to your county home extension office and they will check the gasket and pressure gauge for free. If you have to replace either of these two parts, you may be able to still come in at a lower price overall compared to new. That is a great way to find pressure canners to preserve your garden bounty at a lower cost than buying new.

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  28. I’ve been a lurker, but I’m delurking because I think a pressure cooker is the best tool ever in the kitchen. I’ve never understood why it’s not popular in the US, but in India we use it every single day. I used my Indian pressure cooker in the US for almost 15 years and never had a problem. I recommend buying one at an Indian store in the US – they’re cheaper and come with a locking mechanism as well as a whistle system that makes it easy to tell the cooking time. The lid locks into the base, so there’s no way that you can unlock it until the pressure inside goes down. And it works great on both gas and electric stoves. It’s fast and frugal since it cuts down cooking time so drastically.

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  29. I have used a pressure cooker for 35 years. Mine is the old Presto model (lovely 1970s gold color). It is easy to use… just follow the directions. I always check my seal to be sure it is in the groove and look through the pinhole that is the pressure valve to be sure it is not clogged with food. I have never had an explosion!! My favorite recipe is baked chicken breasts. I put them in the cooker, add salt and pepper to each as I stack them, put celery with tops on the top, add 2 cups water and cover. I cook this 20 minutes and let the pressure drop on its own. This makes very tender chicken for a meal and great baked chicken for freezer meals. The “juice” is great chicken stock.
    I also make green beans the Southern way: snap beans and put in pot. Pour a cup of water on them. Add a tablespoon of bacon grease. Cover and cook 20 minutes to soft stage (like we like them). I think the recipe in the book is more the crunchy type. I have also made dried beans and many other recipes. This appliance was the “microwave” of my early marriage and I need to get it out and use it more. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how you use yours.

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  30. I love my pressure cooker. Make that plural. I love the new ones like the fagor and Kuhn rikon. My presto got ditched when I moved from gas to electric and it wouldn’t lay flat. The electric seems to work at a lower pressure than the stovetop ones so they take longer but you don’t have to babysit them. If you want to email me directly to chat….feel free-

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  31. My MIl bought me a presto. I’ve made chicken in it but usually don’t. I LOVE it for roasts & corned beef. I’d love to learn how to do more with it!

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  32. I have a couple of pressure cookers of different sizes, from 2 lt to 8 quarts and a much larger pressure canner. I would recommend stainless steel for anthing that you will be cooking directly in the pan. If I want to cook several things at the same time, I will place them in mason jars on the rack and cook them all at the same time in the AL one. I have a Fagor, 3 Presto, and and Indian one (Vindo?). I cook mostly beans and brown rice but I also do tougher cuts of meat like chuck roasts. It is much faster than stovetop or oven. I don’t find the stainless ones difficult to clean and prefer them over my much loved crock pots.

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  33. Margaret says:

    I had a hard time figuring out what to buy too. I didn’t even know where to start. But when I got to actually looking at some reviews it wasn’t as intimidating as I imagined. I used Cook With Pressure which is a really great resource. Hope this helps anyone who has as much trouble as I did!

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