More on the beauty of pressure cookersgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread
There was a thread last summer on pressure cookers but not much since. I happen to think that they are one of the best y2k (or otherwise) cooking investments a person can make. You can find them for about $40 and up, depending on size and if they are aluminum or stainless. I have an aluminum 6 qt. and it's just fine. I have a small collection of pressure cooker cookbooks (find them for next-to-nothing in thrift stores and used book stores) and have learned how to figure out my own new recipes and methods by comparing info and experimenting (staying safely within the basic guidelines).
It makes wonderful rice. The secret to small grains and small dried vegetable cooking (some books warn one to not cook things like that because it may clog up the vent hole) is to cook the rice or whatever inside a deep metal bowl covered with foil inside the pressure cooker. So if you go buy a cooker, make sure you have or buy one of those stainless, rather deep bowls that will fit, with some room to spare, inside your cooker. Rice cooks in 5 mins. from the time the pressure regulator starts to jiggle. (about 8 or 9 mins. actual fuel-use time in all) Wild rice (which takes over an hour with conventional cooking) takes 20 mins.
All of the American pressure cooker books I have state that you must soak dried beans (such as red, kidney, pinto, navy etc.) overnight before cooking. But I have a French pressure cooker book that gives one a quick method.(If you are at all like me, you know that it's usually about an hour before dinner time that one thinks about the beans.) In fact, I'll just give the recipe:
"....But in any case do not soak dried beans; it serves no purpose and can even in some cases spoil them.
Ingredients: 1 lb. of dried beans - 1 onion with 2 cloves inserded in it - 1 bunch of assorted herbes - 1 clove of garlic - salt.
Wash the beans, drain them, and put them into the cooker. Cover them with cold water, but do not add salt. Close the lid and boil for 5 minutes. (Cat's note: that "5 minutes" means after the regulator has started to jiggle.) Reduce pressure, open cooker and empty the contents into a strainer so that the beans are drained a sesond time. This makes them more digestible.
Put the beans back into the cooker, cover them with boiling water, and add salt, onion, cloves, garlic and herbs. Close the lid and boil for 40 minutes after the regulator begins to jiggle." Note: I use dried herbs when no fresh are available.
I cooked a whole chicken for dinner last night in 15 min.!
-- cat (email@example.com), November 16, 1999
I love pressure cookers, but have blown up several. Be careful.
They are great for getting meals on the table quick, and for making tough meat tender.
-- Pearlie Sweetcake (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 16, 1999.
I have blown up several pressure cookers and just gave up using them until I tried the Excaliber from Home Shopping. It is foolproof and the best I have seen. They are cheaper on HSN than in the stores. I paid $85 for a 8qt stainless with basket and canning rack. I also got an extra gasket for free when I called and asked about extra gastkets.
-- Carol (email@example.com), November 16, 1999.
There's a good reason to soak beans, which has nothing to do with cooking efficiencies.
When you soak them overnight, you're sprouting them. Even though you're not sprouting them long enough for actual sprouts to appear, the seeds have sprung to life, and their little vitamin factories have started production. In other words, an overnight soaking will result in much more nutritious beans than those that are cooked when dry.
-- Ron Schwarz (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 17, 1999.
It is interesting to read that a couple of you have "blown up" pressure cookers. Having used them for most of my life, well at least over 30 years myself, and knowing many, many folks that use them a lot, and never having heard of any one that I have actually talked to have one blow up, I am curious what happened. I don't think the average person, following instructions, should ever have a problem. I don't want to see any one scared off without more info.
-- Jim (email@example.com), November 17, 1999.
Usually the pressure valve lets go, so no real harm is done. Once I left my daughter in charge of watching the cooker while I went to the store, and when I returned the pressure cooker had done something really strange. The heavy metal lid had a small, kidney-shaped hole in it and had to be discarded. I can't imagine how that happened. Another time I forgot that you aren't supposed to cook beans in a pressure cooker. (That's what my instruction booklet said.) They spewed all over my kitchen ceiling and the clean dishes in the drainer. I seem to recall that it only took a new pressure valve to fix that boo-boo. A friend said his mom had a pressure cooker accident due to a small piece of vegetable matter getting lodged in the hole that steam comes out of. I've heard of a lot of pressure cooker explosions, but no serious injuries. In my experience you just have to replace the safety valve. I'm sure serious injuries are possible, though.
-- Pearlie Sweetcake (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 17, 1999.
Just bought my first pressure cooker today. Why didn't I know about these things before?>???? They are GREAT! I got an aluminum 5 qt on sale for $22.47!
It has the regular valve on top, then a little emergency outlet on one side, in case the regular valve is clogged, then in case THAT is clogged, there is an emergency valve on top. Only when the pressure and heat gets high enough, this little alloy pellet in there melts and allows the steam to vent out this 3rd line of defense against blow-ups.
Made rice in it tonight and it came out PERFECT! Never ever had such good rice. And my booklet said 3 min after the steam starts but it was more like 4-5.
Y2K or not, I love this thing and can't wait to try out some pressure cooker recipes in it. If Y2K IS bad, I am thrilled at the amount of fuel we will save using it! Now, to get a replacement rubber gasket just in case....
Anyone want to share their favorite pressure cooker recipe for a newbie?
-- preparing (email@example.com), November 21, 1999.