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Choosing The Best Pressure Cooker

Updated on June 3, 2009

Look For The Best Pressure Cooker For Your Needs!

Want to buy a pressure cooker? Here's how to choose!

Pressure Cookers Save Time And Money

With today’s busy lifestyles and budget crunches, using a pressure cooker is a great way to make meals in a hurry. It’s ideal for preparing healthy foods because it preserves flavors and nutrients, and tenderizes leaner cuts of meat. On top of that, it cooks foods three to ten times faster than ordinary methods. In fact, some foods cook more quickly in a pressure cooker than in the microwave!

Staying Safe Under Pressure!

If you’ve put off buying a pressure cooker because of safety concerns, take another look at the pressure cooker. Improved designs of today's pressure cookers means that have not just one safety feature, but sometimes up to three safety devices to prevent accidents. Use common sense and follow the cooking and safety procedures found in the pressure cooker's manual. That will make it more likely to burn yourself taking something out of the oven than have a problem with the pressure cooker.

Just remember the cardinal rule of pressure cooking – NEVER open the cooker while it is still under pressure!

Reasons To Have A Pressure Cooker

In any financial climate, a nice new pressure cooker is a good investment for healthy cooking. It will repay you with many years of hard service in your ktichen. Some of the advantages of using a pressure cooker include:

  • Because it takes less time for foods to cook, you use less energy and save money and natural resources.
  • Pressure cookers work at all altitudes. All that's needed is to adjsut the amount of pressure and cooking times.
  • An entire meal can be quickly cooked in one pot by using a rack to enable cooking a variety of foods.
  • It is a time saver since it cooks food so fast, and saves money by tenderizing cheaper, tougher cuts of meat.
  • Flavors and nutrients are preseved since food cooks so quickly in an airtight environment with little liquid.

Not only is a pressure cooker great for cooking meals, but it’s bigger cousin, the pressure canner, is absolutely essential for canning many vegetables and meats.

Choosing The Right Pressure Cooker

Whether to buy an aluminum or stainless steel pressure cooker is one of the biggest decisions. The aluminum models are cheaper and more lightweight. Aluminum is also a good conductor of heat. Unlike most other aluminum cookware, however, pressure cookers aren't availalbe with nonstick coatings. These types of finishes just don't last in the conditions inside a pressure cooker.

Heaver than aluminum, stainless steel pressure cookers are also more expensive. However, they have the same long lasting, lustrous finish common to most stainless steel cookware. Stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat however, so choose one with a bimetal base to improve cooking performance.

Deciding On The Right Size Pressure Cooker.

Pressure cookers are generally sold by their total liquid capacity. In reality, however, only one half to two thirds of a pressure cookers total liquid capacity can be used, depending on what food is being cooked. The most commonly available models come in the following sizes:

  • 4-quart: This is a good size for a single person or couple. An entire meal for 1-2 people can be cooked in this size, but it would likely only have room for a single course for a bigger family, such as vegetables.
  • 6-quart: This is a good size for families, and probably the most popular sized model for cooking.
  • 8-quart: This size is best for bigger families. It can also be used for pressure canning pint and half-pint jars.

There are larger pressure cookers like the 17 or 22 quart models, but these are generally used as pressure canners. To use them for cooking would require a large amount of food, so it would only work for large groups.

The Advantages Of A Pressure Cooker!

A pressure cooker is a good buy for today’s kitchens. It's a convenient and safe way to prepare healthful foods on a budget. This is one kind of pressure in the kitchen that ends up being a good thing!

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