Saturday, November 26, 2011

Resurrecting the Pressure Cooker

If you grew up at a high altitude, you probably know all about pressure cookers. For the rest of us, they may be something you heard your Grandma talk about.  Pressure cookers are sealed vessels that won’t allow air or liquids to escape below a preset pressure. Because the boiling point of water increases as pressure increases, pressure cookers bring the liquid in the pot to rise to a higher temperature before boiling – and cook food …especially beans and grains that take a long time to cook a LOT faster. Soaked kidney beans will cook in less than 10 minutes in a pressure cooker. Brown rice will cook in 12-15 minutes and artichokes in 10.  You can even cook meat and chicken in them. Think of all the energy..and time you’re saving by cutting down on the cooking time!
Using a pressure cooker is not rocket science, but there are some things you need to know to avoid a mess or even getting hurt.  This YouTube video gives a great overview, (even if the woman might be one of the Stepford wives).  I also found this very comprehensive timetable for the length of time to cook various foods.  I found my pressure cooker (one of the old ones with a manual pressure release valve) at a garage sale.  I’ve seen them for sale at Value Village and several thrift stores.  There are new and improved models on the market these days that are more straightforward to use..but don’t shy away from learning how to use one of the old models.  It’s not that complicated, and your friends will think you’re a really sophisticated cook! 

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