You’re probably familiar with some of the benefits of pressure cooking. After all, it’s the easiest, fastest, most convenient way to cook delicious meals year-round. (And, with these smart new electric models, you no longer need to worry about soup or beans or grains exploding all over your kitchen.) The new electric models automatically pressurize, depressurize, keep food warm and do the work while you walk away and enjoy a completely no-pressure meal situation. It’s that simple
So sit back, pour yourself a pre-dinner beverage and get ready to have your meal prep rocked (in a good way!) These are the top reasons for embracing the electric pressure cooker.
DINNER IS READY IN AN HOUR
If you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry, but haven’t prepared anything ahead of time, the pressure cooker is your new best friend. You can literally come home with a nice cut of beef for a braised stew at 6 p.m. and enjoy a delicious, tender meat-filled meal at 7 p.m.
THE COOK TIME IS ALWAYS THE SAME
Unlike other cooking methods, whether you’re cooking for one or for a crowd, the cooking time with a pressure cooker doesn’t change. With other methods, cook time needs to be increased as the quantity of food increases. But with pressure cookers, once the pot comes to pressure, the amount of time needed to cook the food stays constant. For example, once the pot has been brought up to pressure, the amount of time needed to cook risotto for two or for eight is exactly the same.
PRESSURE COOKING IS SAFE!
Gone are the days of having a “little dinner accident” on account of the pressure cooker. The new electric models have multiple functions and several built-in backup systems to ensure even, safe cooking — even when you’re not standing nearby. These backup functions automatically release steam after the cook time has ended, but they still keep your meal warm until you’re ready to eat it.
SOUPS, STEWS, BRAISES AND BEANS (OH MY!)
Dishes that cook well in liquid are natural choices for the pressure cooker, so braises are a delicious option. Soups, stews and dense ingredients such as potatoes, root vegetables, squash, dried beans and artichokes are all great in the pressure cooker — and they cook in less than 1/3 of the standard cooking time. That said, vegetables, fruits or dishes with high sugar content are easy to scorch when you bring them up to high heat in the pressure cooker. Be careful to use a trivet and internal bowl to keep food off of the metal-bottomed pot, or to add those sweeter items to the top of the bowl before cooking to prevent burning.
… BAKING, SIMMERING AND LAYERING, TOO!
The pressure cooker isn’t just for soup. Risotto is a great pressure cooker dish, and desserts are just a button-push away. Once you’ve really mastered your low-pressure dinner plan, try the layering technique (which entails layering several types of food into the cooker at a time. An example of layered cooking is to pour an inch of water in the bottom of the cooker, place quartered potatoes in the water and then set a meatloaf pressed into a steamer basket on the potatoes. Top the steamer basket with vegetables wrapped in foil and you have an entire meal that takes only 13 minutes to cook under pressure.
BEANS CAN BECOME YOUR BEST FRIEND (AT LAST!)
Canned beans can be pretty lackluster, and cooking dry beans takes forever on the stove. The slow cooker does this pretty well … but beans tend to get mushy in the slow cooker because they are often overcooked. Beans cooked in the pressure cooker stay whole, tender and unsplit. Tip: If you open the lid of your pressure cooked beans and see they aren’t quite done, you can simply cook them for a few more minutes for perfectly tender beans.
YOUR CRAMPED KITCHEN WILL THANK YOU
The new electric pressure cookers have several other functions that allow you to eliminate your slow cooker, several large stock pans, baking pans and more from your kitchen arsenal. And, the electric pressure cooker won’t heat up your kitchen in warmer months — another reason it’s a great option when you’re out playing all summer (but still want to have that black bean taco party).
IT’S HELPFUL AT HIGH ALTITUDE
Cooking at high altitude can be tricky, since the boiling temperature of water goes down the higher up you go. A pressure cooker can be a big help for predictable cooking times and perfect meals each time (without the over-cooked nature of a slow cooker).
YOU CAN STILL KEEP IT FRESH (AFTER, THAT IS)
Adding fresh herbs, tender greens, spinach, arugula or kale to the pressure cooker at the start of cooking will completely destroy the texture and flavor of these ingredients. You can still make a mean salad with whatever you’re cooking under pressure … just assemble it after the pressure cooking is done!
FAST IS FUN
Pressure cookers are nothing to be afraid of, and the convenience they provide is nothing short of freeing and fun. With the time you’re saving away from the stove, you could be enjoying a cocktail with your spouse, playing cards with your kids or taking some much deserved time for yourself to read or catch up on the day. Once you understand the basics, a low-pressure dinner is just around the corner.