What are the Benefits of Cooking With a Pressure Cooker?

This entry is part of a series, Pressure Cooking 101»

"I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate." ~Julia Child  

Simply put, cooking with a pressure cooker results in healthier and better tasting food prepared in less time and with less energy by utilizing an efficient, versatile, safe, and easy-to-use kitchen accessory "Phew! I wasn't sure I would be able to fit it all in."  Although you may question the elegance of our long-winded sentence, an indisputable fact is that more and more people are discovering just how easy it is to make healthy and great tasting food with a pressure cooker.  

Pressure Cooking is healthy

How food is prepared matters!  It doesn't make sense to grow or buy quality vegetables and meats only to lose a meaningful portion of their nutritional value through cooking.  Study after study has shown that the longer you cook food and the more liquid you use the more nutrients you lose.  Water-soluble vitamins and minerals are simply cooked out and washed away.  Pressure cooking helps retain the quality of the foods you cook with by preparing them quickly and with very little water.  Vegetables remain crisp, colorful and retain the texture and flavor that make them so delicious in the first place.  Meats stay juicy and moist.  By cooking with superheated steam natural flavors are often intensified so, please feel free to use less salt.  Use quality ingredients (and as many organic and local ingredients as possible) and you will not be disappointed....we promise!     

Pressure Cooking is efficient

The pressure cooker cooks food 70% faster than conventional cooking techniques.  Faster cooking means less energy use.  Less energy use means less money spent and less impact whenever you use one.  Think roasted chicken in 30 minutes, or beef stew in 15 minutes. We could go on and list that a pressure cooker doesn't release oily residues, odors and splatters like stove-top pan cooking or that many meals can be cooked in one pot instead of several reducing cleanup, but that would be too much to list here.   

Pressure Cookers are safe

Modern pressure cookers are 100% safe and "goof-proof".  Today's designs employ up to six valve and vent safety systems that prevent accidents.  They can't explode! The pressure release and gasket mechanism would allow excess pressure to vent (if there ever is any). That's it. A quality stainless-steel pressure cooker is safe, requires little maintenance and will last a lifetime.   

A pressure cooker is versatile

From a dutch oven to a steamer, from a sauce pan to a baking pan (yes, a baking pan: recipes coming), a pressure cooker is a multi-purpose pot.  

But wait! There's more to it than this...

Paraphrasing some of our thoughts contained in the about us page: Pressure cooking benefits aside some folks simply have difficulty changing their cooking habits and trying something different.  Others love exploring new ways to cook and sharing new recipes with their families. Regardless if you use a pressure cooker or not, healthier cooking is still up to you.   

For us (and we hope you too) fewer are the days of "assembling" precooked and processed meals from boxes, cans and frozen shrink wrapped shapes obtained from grocery stores or fast food restaurants.  When 4 out of the 10 leading killers in America are related to diet there is something wrong with the way we are eating.  Michael Pollan, author of one of the most life changing books we ever read, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, explains that the problem goes deeper than most would think:   

"I think our problem around food is a cultural problem... It's a problem of not valuing it, not revering what it is, not recognizing that this is our most important engagement with the natural world."   

Pressure cooking is not the end all solution to healthy eating. Healthy food requires fresh and healthy ingredients which take a little more time and a little more knowledge to prepare, but that's where we (and all our community members) come in to help.  Food and cooking is a process of discovery.  We've discovered that a pressure cooker is an important tool in our healthier living toolbox and we hope you do too.   

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Read more from this series of articles. 


Thanks for reading.

"I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate." ~Julia Child  
Why learn pressure cooking?
It's 7 pm. The end of the work day stomach rumbles...

In one hand, a take out menu. In the other hand, the refrigerator door...its contents staring back almost as blankly as we are towards them. We want a homemade meal, but also want something quick and simple to make.
1. Simple and quick recipes requiring basic skills to become proficient in the kitchen.
2. Quality ingredients, not necessarily 100% organic, but meals without artificials and chemistry class additives.
3. To understand more of the story of our food and take small steps towards self-reliance.

It's true, there are many benefits to pressure cooking: the time savings, the taste, a small step towards self-reliance, sustainability... but the real benefit is in what we learn as we redefine our relationship with food. Good food can be fast. Good food can be easy.

Pressure Cooker Diaries: Leslie
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   Looking for a pressure cooker? Read our pressure cooker reviews.
   Our favorite Pressure Cooker Cookbooks including the
   food book that changed my life.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

jill January 4, 2012 at 3:00 am

I just got a pressure cooker as a gift. I don’t know how to use it. I am looking for a bean and rice recipe that my Brazilan friend cooked. She bought me the pressure cooker, she gave me the recipe , 2 times lost, i am too embarrassed to ask her again.
can you help?

Leslie January 6, 2012 at 12:32 am

@Jill – I haven’t tried rice and beans in the pressure cooker yet. Do you know what kind of spices and other “stuff” your friend added? We’ll try to get a recipe up soon. :)

Dan April 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Hi Ryan and Leslie,
What a beautiful site! Great content, great layout, great recipes! Thank you for your committment to Pressure Cooking.
Gratefully,
Dan

Leslie April 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

@Dan – Thanks!

Sean Davis November 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I use a prestige pressure cooker that Indians commonly use. It whistles to help release pressure so in stead of using the clock to cook you count the whistles. I am falling more in love with pressure cooking than I thought i would.

Oxnard Montalvo August 3, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Just purchased my first pressure cooker and I’ve been researching to educate myself. Your recipes are great and the background music is too. Can you please tell me what music you used for the video on cooking a turkey in a pressure cooker? Please post music credits in future vids. The recipe and music are great. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

anabolic cooking October 18, 2013 at 6:54 am

Garnish with the chopped walnuts and serve immediately.
Since ingredients are thoroughly cooked
over a long period of time, stirring is not recommended or the food
will break apart. When they returned to work they sliced up the meat and served it to
their customers.

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