Pressure cookers are all the rage these days in home kitchens where cooking fast has become a necessity of busy family life. The way these cookers work is simple: A sealed pot filled with food and water allows steam pressure to build up inside, cooking the food quickly. You can turn a valve on the pot to control the steam's pressure. High pressure is best for most dishes, but low pressure works well for a few select meals.
Invented in the 1600s by a French man named Denis Papin who wanted to use new knowledge of physics and steam in cooking, pressure cookers have been around for a very long time. However, they weren't always as safe as they are today.
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Stove Top Versus Electric Pressure Cookers
There are two types of pressure cooker. The key distinction is this: Stove top pressure cookers are faster, but electric pressure cookers are easier to use.
Stove top pressure cookers
- Require greater attention from the chef. The heat needs to be manually adjusted while the cooker is building up pressure. It can take time and practice to get this adjustment right.
- Cook meals approximately three times faster than conventional cooking
- Can be used as a normal cooking pot if you remove the lid
- Are easy to store with other pots and pans
- Are less expensive than electric
Electric pressure cookers
- Are fully automated. They can be set then left alone.
- Cook meals approximately two times as fast as conventional cooking
- Can be bulky and more difficult to store
- Also work as slow cookers and rice cookers
- Can be set ahead using a timer
Good Reasons to Buy a Pressure Cooker
There are many advantages to having a pressure cooker. They're fast, easy, clean and safe to use. You can purchase a stove top version for as low as $20 or get a fancy electric one for under $200.
In addition to making your cooking life more convenient, there's evidence that pressure cookers are healthier because this method of cooking retains more nutrients than steaming or microwaving. They're also energy efficient, so you can feel good about your personal health and the health of the environment.
High-Pressure and Low-Pressure Settings
Pressure cookers are great for cooking things fast that can usually take a long time, such as dry beans or roasts, but you can cook just about anything in them. Most of the recipes require the high-pressure setting, but there are a few things that work well on low pressure.
Hard-boiled eggs come out perfectly when cooked using the low settings on your pressure cooker. The low-pressure setting is also ideal for a variety of seafood recipes, such as crab, halibut, mussels, oysters, trout and salmon.
If you like to cook but don't have much time, a pressure cooker is a great option. It's also an ideal tool for a family on the go that wants to have healthy meals made at home.