No pressure, cooking

No matter where I live, be it off-grid or in an apartment in a busy downtown area or anywhere in between, I would find my pressure cooker to be an indispensable piece of cooking equipment, in other words, I wouldn’t want to live without it! I use mine once or twice a week, sometimes more.

Mine is especially important to me because I cook with propane, that is a finite resource, I’m not talking globally, I’m talking 5 gallon containers, I use those little propane bottles you find on outdoor grills, if I recall correctly I have 5 of them and have 3-4 of them going at once in different locations depending on the time of the year. One for my cook stove, one for my kitchen propane water heater, one for my shower propane water heater, and in winter, another one in the shower for the propane heater.

I know, someday we will get one of those large propane tanks for outside, get it filled once a year and be done with it, but for now, we use what we have.

Back to my pressure cooker, the main reason I really love using it is because it cooks to fast, especially on those dishes that traditionally take all day to cook, things like beans, stew, soup. I don’t have the power or the propane to spare to cook something all day. Cooking these foods in a pressure cooker gets them done in a fraction of the time and they taste like they have been cooking all day.

Today for dinner, I made baked potatoes, I can hear some of you saying that these can be popped into a microwave, and while that’s true, I have to say that I don’t like COOKING in a microwave, heating things up maybe, but not cooking. The big difference being that if you cook potatoes too long in the microwave, you get hard pieces and potentially a mess if it explodes. If you cook them too long in a pressure cooker, at the worst they will split, they will not get those harden ends.

I had a bag of those golden flesh potatoes, they aren’t very big so I put the last half of the bag in the pressure cooker, it totaled 8 of them, I washed them, poked them with a knife, put them in the cooker on the rack, I had already put some water in the bottom. I put the top on and brought it up to pressure, I cooked them for 15-20 minutes, I am at high elevation so mine take longer to cook.

I wasn’t ready to serve them so after I turned off the heat, I just let them sit on the back of the stove while I did other things. We had wonderful baked potatoes, and the extras that didn’t get eaten were put in the refrigerator for another meal.

There are lots more foods that can be cooked in a pressure cooker: rice, boiled eggs, meat-beef, pork, chicken, fish, veggies, desserts…

I started out using it because of the fuel savings, and continue using it because of the convenience and versatility. I use an 6qt stainless steel pressure cooker, personally I wouldn’t use an aluminum one. There are even electric ones, if I lived in town or had grid power, I would probably invest in an electric one, or not, I really like using my old fashioned stainless steel model. The 6 qt is a good size, there are 4qt ones but you are very limited as to what you can put in them, there are also 8qt units.

Do you have one? Do you use it?

Here are some good sites with more info about pressure cookers, tips, tricks, hints…


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3 Responses

  1. Sarah and I abandoned our microwave about a year ago. At first it was difficult but within 30 days we kind of forgot we didn’t have it anymore. Haven’t missed it this whole time. Though there are certain things typically done in a microwave that only I do on the stove simply because it’s a little more complicated (like popcorn).

  2. FWIW, my parents downsized from the larger propane tank to one of the 20lb ones you describe, because it wasn’t worth the cost to rent the larger tank and have the company drive out to fill it once every year.

  3. I have several pressure cookers, and I wouldn’t want to cook without them, either.

    A microwave is no substitute. A microwave always cooks the outside more than the inside, they’re not really faster, and besides which, my sister had several co-workers who were diagnosed with cancer whose doctors told them to stop cooking in the microwave. If doctors are telling cancer patients not to eat microwaved food, that’s a pretty good indication none of us should be eating it, so our entire family got rid of our microwaves.

    Potatoes may take about the same amount of time, but you get much better results with the pressure cooker. If I want roasted potatoes, I add 1/4 tsp of baking soda and salt to the cooking water, then I’ll “parboil” the potatoes and crisp and brown them up in the oven (the baking soda changes the pH so they brown more readily). Plus there are so many things you could never do as quickly, or cook as evenly or well, in the microwave: brown rice, wild rice, beans, legumes, other grains, meat, stews, and the microwave could never make soup like the pressure cooker does. ;D

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