Pressure cookers are a staple of homes all around the world. They are great to use if you are pressed for time and want to cook wholesome and delicious meals in an instant. A pressure cooker, for those who are not aware, is a cooking style that relies on the use of steam. The steam is trapped inside the cooker and creates an intense pressure that accelerates the cooking of food.
Because it uses steam, the moisture content of the food remains intact and cases of having dry food will never be an issue, in fact, moisture actually goes inside the ingredients and makes everything hydrated. The intense heat is created by the combination of the steam and the airtight pot that prevents anything from going out. Pressure cookers are used primarily to cook delicious stews. People from most European and Asian countries use this cooking tool to great effect, Europeans especially are fond of this way of cooking because of their love for cooking stews, casseroles, and soups.
Where Did Pressure Cookers Come From?
It is generally agreed upon that the earliest ideas for the pressure cooker started in France by a person named Denis Papin. Initially, it was known by a different name and it was created by Papin’s love for using new science to the way food is cooked. It was a novel idea but earlier prototypes were filled with safety problems.
As the improvement in the knowledge of steam and pressure grew, so did the understanding of the pressure cooker. The first person who began to build pressure cookers made of cast iron was a man named Georg Gutbrod in the 1800s. The first pressure cooker designed for houses was made by Alfred Vischer in the 1990s. The first designs were a big hit and were the catalyst in creating the market in the US and in Europe. Over the decades, it has since gained traction as a viable way of cooking food and has gained a permanent place in kitchens the world.
Pressure Cooks Fast!
The amount of pressure inside the pot directly affects how hot it is inside. Let’s us give you an example, a pot with no pressure can only reach the heat of up to 100ºC, if the pressure starts building up to let’s say, 15 pounds (psi), the heat inside the pot can get up to temperatures of around 121ºC! This dramatic increase can absolutely make your cooking time way faster than usual.
Let’s now compare how effective pressure cookers are vs other means of cooking like baking and using a microwave oven. As mentioned above, the steam inside the pressure cooker secures in the moisture of food and in turn locks in the flavors tight, using a microwave is good for reheating and things along those lines but is a total disaster in keeping food items fresh and moist. Baking is a really good way of cooking because it heats up the surface area evenly and can create stunningly delicious food, the only problem is that it usually takes hours for an oven to cook food.
Pressure cookers can mimic the browning effect of baking which gives stews this complex flavor. The best way to describe it is the way food looks when it is braised (cooked in an extremely hot surface and then slow-cooked in its natural oils and juices). Other means like boiling are also not as good because unlike boiling food, using a pressure cooker retains the nutrients inside our meats and vegetables.
How To Use A Pressure Cooker?
Cooking using a pressure cooker is slightly different from other methods of cooking. First off, it is important that you need to allow the cooker to get hot before you add in the ingredients for the dish. The pressure should be carefully checked to make sure that food is cooked to the desired state. We are not saying that the pressure should be kept to a certain measurement all the time though, it is actually required to release some of the pressure for cooking certain food items. Be mindful of this because it may make or break the food that you are cooking!
The pressure cooker is versatile enough that you can cook almost anything with it. It is an excellent tool to use for meat dishes as it makes meats fall-of-the-bone soft. Stews and soups can be cooked lightning fast using this method and also gives it a robust, sophisticated flavor. Things like beans, which usually take a long time to cook, can be cooked in an hour or less.
The pressure cooker is a great alternative if you don’t have extra time to cook, just heat it up, put the ingredients inside and off you go. The pressure cooker for me is a highly effective way of cooking and can do most (if not all) things a regular pot can do. Because of its ability to cook food at faster speeds, it consumes fewer resources compared to other things you might have in the kitchen. Smart Homes Reviews always thinks of it as a cooking device with the convenience of a microwave and the cooking ability of a regular oven.
One of our readers shared a story: “I still remember when I was a kid, my mom used to cook her trademark dishes with her old pressure cooker. She likes cooking her stews in that old thing and it was perfect each and every time. I can still recall the unique sound the cooker makes when she was tenderizing the meat before adding the other ingredients. Being a busy mom of 3, it was important for her to do things with efficiency, the humble pressure cooker was one of her tricks that allowed her to cook good food for the family while having extra time to take care of the kids and keep her career as a successful businesswoman. That was almost 20 years ago but she still swears by the pressure cooker’s effectiveness even to this day”.