Why are pressure cookers making a comeback in the modern kitchen? Here are some of the reasons why you might want to get one:
1. Dramatic reduction in cooking time. Pressure cookers work by sealing the pot so that steam cannot escape. As a result, water boils at 122 degrees C rather than 100 degrees C – and the higher temperature cooks food much faster. Generally pressure cooking takes just a third of the time compared to cooking normally. An entire chicken can be cooked in just twenty minutes, and potatoes can be boiled in about eight minutes. It’s as fast as a microwave, with the additional benefit that foods that can’t be cooked in a microwave can be cooked in a pressure cooker (for example you can bake in a pressure cooker).
2. Because the pot is sealed, flavors and nutrients are retained. It’s healthier to cook vegetables in a pressure cooker than on top of a normal stove because you use less water and nutrients do not get drained away.
3. A side effect of the quick cooking is that less energy is used, which can save on your electric bills.
4. You can do a range of different types of cooking in a pressure cooker – you can use it for simmering, steaming, braising, boiling, poaching and baking. As you get more used to your pressure cooker, you will find more ways to cook with it. For example, pressure cookers can be used to make delicious winter soups in minutes.
5. Cooking under pressure helps to kill more bacteria and viruses (because of the higher temperatures reached), so your food will be safer to eat.
6. If you have an infant, you can also use your pressure cooker to sterilise baby bottles, and other items without needing to spend on a separate steriliser.
Some people may worry about the safety of pressure cookers, but they have changed beyond recognition in the last thirty years. They come with safety locks and heat resistant handles. Electric programmable pressure cookers come with precise thermometers and push-button controls making it as easy to operate as a standard microwave.