Sometimes I am a little slow to catch on to trends. For example, so many people have been talking about Instant Pots (or pressure cookers) for the last couple of years.
I have been resistant to jump on the train just because everyone else is already on it.
Can you relate?
However, life with 3 boys gets busier and busier. And we work harder and harder to provide healthy, homemade meals for our family without taking up our entire day. As I have been weighing these things, a friend told me about a pressure cooker on sale at a local store.
I had to go there, anyway, for a birthday present, so I searched around until I found that pressure cooker. It was still on sale. Gosh, I love finding deals!
I decided to pick up this pressure cooker and give it a try. Not only do I love finding deals when shopping, I also love finding tools or tips that help me save time and effort! Oh, and I should mention that I LOVE kitchen gadgets. Life is too busy and too short to be struggling unnecessarily!
Since I have never previously used a pressure cooker before, I have to admit to feeling a little anxiety about using it. I have heard horror stories of people being injured and burned from using the old stove top pressure cookers – thus another reason why I never ventured into this “world” before.
Then I did what I usually do, and I researched about using pressure cookers. It turns out that the pressure cookers on the market now are much safer than the first generation pressure cookers from before. In fact, when used properly, they are as safe to use as a crock pot (my favorite kitchen gadget)!
In case you are like me and knew almost nothing about pressure cookers, here is a little basic info:
How it works
A pressure cooker looks a lot like a rice cooker or maybe even a crock pot; however, it has an interlocking lid that uses a rubber gasket to create a seal.
To use a pressure cooker, you place the food in the cooker with some water (amount depends on what you are making, but generally because steam can’t escape the cooker, pressure cooking uses less water than other cooking methods use). Once the lid is locked in place and the pressure cooker is turned on, steam begins to develop and can’t escape.
The trapped steam creates an increase in atmospheric pressure inside the cooker by about 15 psi (pounds per square inch). This increase in atmospheric pressure raises the boiling temperature of water from 212°F to 250°F. The higher boiling temperature causes food to cook faster.
Once the pressure cooker has reached full pressure, a release valve opens, releasing steam at a regulated rate to provide a consistent and constant pressure within the cooker.
Once cook time is complete, you can allow the cooker to sit and gradually release pressure over time (good for meats and beans), or you can manually do a quick release (better for veggies and grains). After the pressure is released, then you can open the cooker (great safety feature!) and enjoy your creation!
Extra bonus: the countertop pressure cookers on the market today have multiple settings for various foods, making it more simple to determine how long to cook. You also have the ability to adjust the cooking time (and often the pressure) anytime you want.
Pros of using a pressure cooker
- Because the cooker maintains a higher cooking temperature and a constant pressure, cook times are shorter
- More energy efficient because of shorter cooking times
- Atmospheric pressures decrease at higher altitudes, causing water to boil at lower temps and causing longer cook times. A pressure cooker creates constant and precise atmospheric conditions, resulting in shorter cook times even at high altitude.
Cons of using a pressure cooker
- Some adjustment is necessary – liquid amounts vary from conventional cooking and that takes time to get used to.
- Checking to see if your food is done isn’t easy to do. To be safe, the pressure must be released from the cooker before opening it up. Once that is done, pressure must increase until it reaches full pressure in order to continue cooking.
- Food and cooker can scorch if enough water isn’t put into the cooker or food is left in just a little too long
For more information, check out this article.
Ok, so I had the pressure cooker, and I had done my research. What to make? Well, I have been playing around with it, trying out a few things, and getting more familiar with it along the way!
Let’s make some wild rice!
I developed a wild rice recipe because my family loves wild rice, but I get super annoyed with the long cook time necessary to make wild rice that isn’t a complete crunch-fest.
However, I don’t always have an hour or more to cook wild rice. And if I’m honest, the days that I do have the time to traditionally cook rice are getting more and more rare. Homework, sports, and other activities eat up our afternoons and evenings.
So my mission became to make wild rice in the pressure cooker to see if it was as good, better, worse, or even any faster.
Our wild rice was a hit! The kids loved it, and so did my husband and I.
I also loved the 35 minute cook time (including waiting for the cooker to reach full pressure and doing a quick release of the pressure after cook time ended). That cut down the cook time by half – win!
**NOTE: Because of the faster cook time, not as much water is absorbed into the rice. This will result in some water being left inside the cooker after cook time is complete. That’s ok! It SHOULD be that way. Don’t try to reduce the amount of water for cooking because the food and cooker will scorch, causing damage to your cooker. Simply drain the water and serve immediately.
On to my next dish to tackle: roast chicken (we eat a lot of roast chicken)!
Welcome to our lives, Bella (the pressure cooker)!
Enjoy the giveaway and please let us know in the comments below: What would you like to make with this pressure cooker (or would you give it as a gift)?
Bella 6 Qt Pressure Cooker Giveaway
With the holidays quickly approaching, we thought it would be super fun to give away a brand new pressure cooker! Keep it for yourself or give it as a gift. This pressure cooker is amazing! It features:
- Cook full birds, brisket, pork, lamb, fish, stews, soups and even pasta in minutes. Safely and quickly cook your favorite meals up to 70% faster than conventional cookware.
- Features 10 pre-set functions specifically engineered to cook various types of food to perfection. With one touch you can: Saute, brown, pressure cook, slow cook, soup, stew, meat, chicken, cook rice and even risotto
- Sear and brown your foods directly in the pressure cooker to lock in flavor and juices to all your recipes. No need for a stove top
- Safety features include: steam release valves, airtight locking lid, and a safety-minded user interface for 100% assurance that you are cooking safely
- Easy cleanup features: a non-stick removable cooking pot and moisture catching container are built in to make clean up a breeze
Read rules below. Thanks for entering, good luck, and Happy Holidays from Lisa and me!
This giveaway is completely sponsored and paid for by Made In A Pinch. The prize is approximately a $130 value. Giveaway Begins December 5, 2017 and ends December 18, 2017 at 11:59 pm Mountain Time. We will contact the winner on or around December 19, 2017 by email. The winner will have 2 days to respond before they are disqualified and a new winner is chosen. By entering, you give us permission to share your first name, last initial and comment publicly but we will not share any other information with anyone. Giveaway only open to US residents, aged 18 or over, residing within the 48 US contiguous states. We are not liable for errors stemming from lost/delayed e-mail or mail, posting or typographical errors, technical failures, etc. Void where prohibited by law.
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