Todays post is on pressure-cooking. Yes,…household cooking using pressure cookers. Most of us are under time pressures in our daily lives. For those who want to cook their own meals from scratch, it might be hard sometimes to make that time during the week. Many argue that they just don’t have time to cook! We are looking for good healthy food but then get tempted to grab the ready-made carb loaded meals, junk foods or takeaways, simply because we are too tired to cook or are time strapped.
What if I told you there was a kitchen appliance that can help you cook faster? No, it’s not a microwave this time but it’s the pressure cooker. Whilst many prefer slow cookers, I personally can’t stand them after being spoilt the latter half of my life using pressure cookers. If you are doing lchf, chances are you are eating much more red meat these days than before, especially the cheaper fattier cuts of meat, which take much longer to cook. If you don’t have a pressure cooker as yet, it is something you should perhaps seriously consider saving and investing towards.
Pressure pots these days come with many safety features and are not as risky as some old models of the past. Be warned though, you still need to exercise care and caution whilst using. Know also that it really is a great time saver and makes this lifestyle so much easier to maintain as well.
Not only do your meals take a fraction of the time to cook, compared to normal pots but your food also is much tastier and tender and you also often use much lesser liquids during cooking, resulting in more vitamins and minerals being retained in your food. The editted link below shares more information on pressure cooking.
What is pressure cooking?
A pressure cooker is a pot which has a sealed lid. The key to pressure cooking is steam. Steam is created when water evaporates. This happens at 100C, even if you increase the temperature it just makes the water evaporate quicker.
When water evaporates in the pot, this sealed lid is what prevents the steam and heat from escaping. The steam that can’t escape creates the pressurised environment in the pot. Traditionally water can get up to 100°C before turning into steam but in the pressure cooker, the temperature can rise to 121°C.
This increase in temperature and pressure is what allows the cooking time of dishes to be done in half or quarter of the time!
What dishes can you make with a pressure cooker?
Wet cooking methods (like steaming boiling and braising) transfer heat more efficiently to food than dry cooking methods (baking and roasting). Think about it, have you stuck your hand in a hot oven? Did you get burnt? Probably not (unless you touched the side of the oven). Now what happened when you stuck your hand on top of the steam that comes from the kettle when you are making cuppa of tea? That steam probably burnt you.
Pressure cooking is a great wet cooking method because it uses steam.
Why I pressure cook
I fell in love with pressure cooking because I could make recipes that I loved (growing up at home) in a short amount of time. Let me take you back to when I was young, it was a Sunday and my mom was making a Vietnamese dish called pho. It is soup dish made with a beef broth. The broth involves simmering beef bones with aromatic spices like cinnamon and star anise for hours. My mom used to have the broth simmering for 4-6hours. Thats a long time!
To my amazement, when I made this dish in a pressure cooker that time went from hours to 45mins. From there I continued to make curries and stews and basics like rice and hard boiled eggs.
How will pressure cooking help your daily life?
Vegetables cooked under pressure take a few minutes to make and lose very few vitamins, minerals, taste and color compared to boiling. There is less evaporation so the nutrients stay there with the veggies.The sealed lid and shorter cooking time translate into using less energy to cook. Once the pot has reached the right amount of pressure, less heat is required to keep it heated. In fact foods cooked in the pressure cooker use 70-90% less energy than those cooked in traditional cookware.Ingredients used for pressure cooking such as stewing meats or large joints are cheaper than other cuts of meats. This means you get much more food out of your grocery bills
Making good food fast doesn’t need magic
We are all under time pressures in our daily lives, perhaps it is time to apply some pressure to our cooking to make good food fast.