Not Your Mother’s Pressure Cooker

by Elizabeth on July 26, 2012


For those of you unfamiliar with pressure cookers as I was until recently, you are going to want to get one of these handy appliances. For those of you familiar with pressure cookers, I realize this may evoke some skepticism (my mother’s reaction to my recent purchase – “I remember getting one of those when your father and I got married. Aren’t you worried you’ll burn your head off!?”), you are going to want to get one of these handy appliances.

 “Most of us have memories of coming home to our mother’s kitchen to find a pressure cooker bobbing and whistling away on the stove…For those who remember being frightened that a pressure cooker might explode at any moment, the models available today are not only affordable but extremely safe. With new valve systems, multiple safety mechanisms and easy to read gauges these are not your mother’s pressure cookers.” –Le Cordon Bleu Blog, July 2012




My pressure cooker has become my favorite time-saver in the kitchen because:

  • It cuts cooking time by up to 75% so making fresh beans, which can take anywhere from one to several hours with conventional methods, takes 10 minutes. (See the chart below). In a nutshell, this is because a locked valve seals in steam and cooks the food at a higher temperature.  If you’re interested in a more in depth explanation see here.
  • You net less cooking time so more nutrients are preserved in the food and you get up to 55% more vitamins and minerals. Plus, the sealed lid locks in and intensifies flavor.
  • It’s versatile and can be used to cook almost anything but its best for long-cooking recipes that you want done in a jiffy (without sacrificing flavor). Think stock, stews, soups, roasts, root vegetables, legumes, grains etc.
  • It’s green. Less cooking time = less energy (saves up to 70%!)
  • Keeps it cool! In summer no one wants their stove pouring heat into their kitchen for hours so this offers a great alternative.
  • You save money – yes there is the initial purchase cost. But when you factor in the $ from saved energy (if you live in NYC, that includes not needing to turn the AC on every time you cook!) and what you can save buying less pre-packaged food and takeout, it pays for itself pretty quickly.

And Best of All… 

It can improve your health:

Besides the convenience factor, pressure cookers can make a big difference in your health by offering an alternative to canned food. Why is this important? BPA. We hear a lot about plastic and BPA (a chemical associated with certain cancers and causing damage to the reproductive and nervous system) but canned foods are just as problematic. A study from 2011 shows that eating canned soup for 5 consecutive days can raise the level of BPA  in your system by up to 1000%! Pretty alarming stuff.



Here’s the model I use and a few links to pressure cooker recipes:

Beets with Dill and Walnuts

Mushroom Risotto

Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

Coq Au Vin

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