“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Disclaimer: The great energy efficiency challenge was conducted by regular folks (Leslie and Ryan) fiddling with a Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitor, a stopwatch, and a whole bunch of chili.
We can’t say the results are scientifically precise but we can say with 100% certainty that they were delicious.
We set out to answer a simple question:
What is the most energy efficient way to cook?
4 pounds of ground beef and 4 batches of the Devil’s soup later we had our answer.
Who were the challengers?
What was the criteria?
Before we list the results and in an effort to protect our “millennial” fragile self esteem we would just like to say: When it comes to making your own chili, with real ingredients, we are all winners. (who am I kidding, making 4 batches of chili was a pain in the arse)
|Taste (out of 5)||Time (minutes)||Energy Consumed (in KW)|
|Pressure Cooker with Induction||4||34||0.63|
|Stove top pot||4||138||1.225|
I already know what you are thinking. Of course the pressure cooker won, just look at the name of the website. Likely bias aside, let’s discuss the results:
Taste: We were hoping that we would be able to distinguish meaningful taste differences when the chili hit our spoons. Our hopes were dashed. Maybe it was the chili powder or the jalapeno peppers but we couldn’t really taste much of a difference. We love chili so we can say they are all good, but one better than the other… we will leave that up to you.
Possibly because of our spice burnt tongues we found all methods equally as devastating.
Time: This is a tough one. The different cooking methods required different cooking times so an apples to apples comparison was a little difficult. We used the exact same ingredients and amounts but followed standard cooking times for classic chili recipes:
Pressure Cooker Chili: 8 minutes
Stove Top Chili: 2 hours
Slow Cooker Chili: 8 hours
Taking into consideration browning the beef, onions, and garlic prior to beginning the actual standard cook times listed above, the pressure cooker is the clear winner requiring only 24 minutes of cook time. (actual times listed in the chart above)
Energy Consumed: Ok, here is where the ground beef hits the pan. It was obvious to us that the pressure cooker (requiring less stove top heating time) would beat out a standard glass lid pot, but we just weren’t sure where the slow cooker would come in. Slow cooking this recipe takes about 16 times longer than a pressure cooker ( 8 hours vs 26 minutes) but consumed only 2.5 times as much energy ( 1.69 KW vs 0.67 KW). Slow cookers are efficient but the lower energy consumption just cant make up for the much longer cooking time.
The pressure cooker using the induction burner was the winner in this category.. (If you are unfamiliar with induction cooking: an induction burner is a powerful, high-frequency electromagnet that vibrates the molecules that make up the metal of a cooking pan producing heat. It’s pretty cool stuff. We will be writing more about our induction experiences soon.)
Why didn’t the pressure cooker with induction burner win?
Although the induction burner did use less energy it took more time to cook the meat and bring the pressure cooker to pressure. This is almost certainly a function of the unit we tested which was a small to medium powered countertop induction burner. The induction method also required an additional $ investment which is tough to justify with the added energy savings in this particular experiment.
What do you think?
Who do you think should have won? Do you have experience with these different methods and what results have you found? Is this all bunk? We would love to hear your comments!
Thanks for reading.
"I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate." ~Julia ChildWhy 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 Recipes? We've got'em here. Get new recipes and videos in your inbox. Looking for a pressure cooker? Read our pressure cooker reviews. Our favorite Pressure Cooker Cookbooks including the food book that changed my life. Similar Posts: