Does anyone use a pressure cooker?

nancyjane_gardenerFebruary 24, 2012

I don't think I'm interested in canning with a PC (I mostly freeze), but I am interested in cooking with them if it is worth my while.

I've read that it saves time, energy and $.

What do you use your PC for, and does it really save a lot of time in the kitchen?

There are only 2 of us at home right now. I do have a foodsaver and freeze soups etc often.

Any thoughts? Nancy

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Nancy, it cuts the cooking time way down. Not sure anymore how much....
my pressure cooker is in storage.... since my divorce.

I miss it.

Used to cook in it for only two people. Should be the same for one... me thinks. :)


    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:23PM
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I enjoy cooking with my pressure cooker on a regular basis. I make a pork ribs/sauerkraut/potatoes/carrots recipe often in the cold weather months. Also cook brown rice to freeze (only 12 minutes instead of 45 plus), small red beans for chili and pinto beans too, stew beef cubes in gravy, and chicken stock. I make homemade food for my little dog too.

My PC is a stainless Presto 4 qt. but sometimes I wish I had bought a 6 qt. Wish I had more time and energy to try new recipes more than I do.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 9:55PM
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I also cook with the pressure cooker, not as often as Teresa, but regularly.

I use it for beans, to make chop suey out of very lean round and it comes out so nicely tender, and to hurry along barley or brown rice when I'm rushed.

I should use it more, it's wonderful for tenderizing tough meats like old stewing hens or cheap cuts.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 10:45PM
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There is a difference between a pressure CANNER and a pressure COOKER. You can cook food in both but you can't can in both. Pressure cookers are too small for canning, but great for cooking - so you'll have to determine what size you need/want. Pressure cookers now come as electric models, and if I was buying one today that's what I'd get.

It's about what you get accustomed to using as much as anything. Check your local library for pressure cooker cookbooks in order to see the wide range of recipes they can be used for to determine if the pressure cooker would be a good fit for you.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 7:38AM
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I use my pressure cooker a lot. For beans, chicken stock, stew, rice (no stove-top boilovers!), Swiss Steak, that I can think of off-hand. Have an old 6 qt Presto that is just like the one that my mom had. Really need to invest in an 8 qt model because the 6 qt is just too darned small a lot of the time. (You can fill to only about 2/3 of capacity.) I resort to pulling out the big pressure canner several times a year to make stock when I have a lot of chicken bits accumulated.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 8:12AM
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I didn't have a PC until I was in my fifties; now I couldn't imagine having a kitchen without one. I use it at least weekly, often more than that. And I'm usually cooking for only 2 or 3.

I got started with an electric model, but soon thereafter bought a good stovetop model and that's what I've used ever since, and haven't used the electric one since then. Electric ones do have the 'Ron Popeil' advantage of 'set it and forget it', but I find the stovetop ones more versatile.

Why are they good? Comfort food (pot roasts, chili, stews) in one third to one half the time. Steamed artichokes in 12 minutes instead of 45. Grains and beans in a third the time. Corned beef & cabbage in about an hour. Look at the site and look at all the stuff you can do with it. Miss Vickie has a good cookbook available as well, but the head honcho of PC enthusiasts is Lorna Sass. Her latest and most complete is 'Pressure Perfect', but I have 4 of her PC cookbooks and have found all of them useful.

What to get? Whatever brand, go with stainless, not aluminum. The modern PC's are much safer than those old jiggle top items from the 40s. High end PC's are made by Kuhn Rikon--made in Switzerland, beautiful, elegant, responsive, and never discounted much by dealers. Ones nearly as good at a third the price are those made by Fagor, in their 'Splendid' line. Designed in Spain and made in China, they are a bargain. I've cooked with both and don't see much difference in performance.

If you're thinking about trying them out, Fagor makes a set from their 'Splendid' line that has an 8 qt stockpot, a 4 qt saute pan, a pressure lid that fits them both, a clear lid for non-pressure applications, and a pasta strainer, all for around $100 or so. (I've seen it occasionally for $80 online--a bargain there, but it's a good deal even at full retail.) They also make an set that's identical except the larger pot is only 6 qt, for about $10 less. I'd go for the larger set. I had that set until a nephew kept borrowing it so often I let him keep it. The pots also work well for non-pressure applications as well.

If you're only getting one item, if you have the storage space I'd get a 8 qt stockpot shaped cooker in stainless rather than a 6 qt model. That extra volume comes in handy when making stock or cooking ahead stuff like chili. My latest item for which I have equipment lust is a Kuhn Rikon 5 qt braiser, but it's $$$. That Fagor Splendid set is hard to beat for the money, though. (See the link)

One other thing: some PC's have two settings, low and high. 99.99% of the time you'll be using high. (I've been using a PC for 10 years and have never cooked anything on low pressure.) Don't avoid that functionality if you get a good bargain on a dual setting PC like the Fagor Duo, but don't spend extra for a function you likely will never use.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fagor pressure cooker set

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 8:13AM
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Arley's advice is spot on and I would add 2 - no 3 other things to keep in mind:

~ if you are on a budget, check out the Presto cookers at the link below; I've not had one problem with my stainless Presto over several years now; IMO, the Mirro cookers found at Wal-mart are too flimsy

~ before you buy a digital, electric model, compare the cook times for similar amounts of the same food, i.e. 2 cups of brown rice, 2 lbs. of pork ribs, 3 lb. pot roast and be aware that these types of PCs have fuses that can go bad and cause problems (when I was on a Yahoo PC group, the digital models frequently had problems, the stove top models none. period.)

~ practice with your new PC using 2-3 cups of water in the cooker and following your manual's directions; also, read the manual thoroughly, then read it again!


    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 8:37AM
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One thing that can go wrong with a PC is the rubber gasket, either from aging or from overheating (happens to everyone).

Get one that uses silicone gasket. It lasts much longer.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 8:48AM
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link to Presto pressure cookers

Here is a link that might be useful: Pressure Cooker -

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:10AM
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I just got a Futura. It worked really well for dry beans with stew beef. It worked ok for cooking frozen boneless skinless breasts, but I think it would work better with another cut. It didn't work well for rice noodle soup. Makes sense, because they don't stand up to long cooking. It also hissed and made a mess when I tried to release the pressure. I guess that was the starch from the noodles, or the fact that the broth had oil in it from browning the beef.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:18AM
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As dcarch noted, silicone lasts longer; both the Kuhn Rikon and Fagor items I referred to have silicone gaskets. I have a gasket on my KR that I replaced about 3 years ago, and it's still going strong despite being used on a weekly basis.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:45AM
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I am also recent convert. I use mine several times a week - creamy risotto in 10 minutes, ribs, chicken stock in 30 minutes. What's not to like.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 5:39PM
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I use mine regularly as well, short ribs are terrific and the time is slashed to a third the time! Also love ribs in it, they come out tender and tasty. But because often work later than planned it gets pressed into service at least once a week, but maybe I cheat, mine is electric.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Thanks for all of the info! I'm torn between my croc pot (which I love) and trying a PC!
With there only being the 2 of us, I'm thinking that the PC isn't a big buy for us. I already have a great Croc pot and rice cooker (which I still have to figure out), so I'm thinking the PC isn't in the picture right now. Thanks! Nancy

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 9:20PM
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Funny, I just used my pressure cooker tonight to cook some chicken. I had planned to roast it yesterday and my oven wouldn't ignite, so had pizza last night and make chicken stew tonight.

I use it for beans, brown rice, and meats than benefit from its tenderizing effect. I have a Fagor 6 qt. and have been very happy with it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 10:01PM
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I have the Fagor 4 & 7 Qt Duo pair. Just 2 of us and I use the smaller on most often. Long cooking veggies like beets, turnips can be done in a very little time.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 12:22PM
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I've used a pressure cooker for over 35 years, and am so dependent on it that I always had one in my travel trailer as well as my own kitchen. My daughters both own one; one daughter uses hers as often as I do. Believe it or not, she requested one for a birthday present while she was still in college! The other one reluctantly took the one from her grandma's RV (after they sold their RV), and now really likes using it.

Roasts -- chili -- spaghetti sauce -- sirloin tip steaks -- are just a few of the things I make in mine. It's used at least once a week.

I currently have a Presto stainless steel whose handle has loosened too much to use, so I am using the Mirror aluminum model that used to be in my travel trailer.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 8:59PM
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I use my pressure cooker (Presto stovetop) frequently. I'm toying with the idea of buying an electric model, but am not sure which one I want. Does anyone recommend the Nesco?

Here is a link that might be useful: Nesco 6qt. electric pressure cooker

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 9:39AM
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Pat, I bought the Fagor multi function electric cooker after comparing to the Nesco, I was originally looking for something to replace my vintage slow cooker and was tempted by the models that slow cooked, browned, pressure cooked too (my stove top pressure cookers/canners are stored in basement and not conveniently).

The reviews were so similar between Fagor and Nesco, I'm not sure there is really a difference, but the Fagor was an inch smaller in diameter, allowing it to be stored on a 12" cabinet shelf with a closed went with that, and for that reason only. LUV it, I've used it a lot in the last few short months that I've had it.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 2:22PM
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A few more more ideas:

1. I have found that painting the pressure regulator red makes it easier to find in the kitchen.

2. Pressure cooker with long handles makes it much easier to open the cover.

3. Use a smaller pot inside the pressure cooker to cook (kind of pressure steam) make it much easier to clean up. You don't have to clean the big P.C., just put the smaller pot in your dishwasher.


    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 3:14PM
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My mother had a pressure cooker, and my sister loved using it, but I never did. One time DS decided to make popcorn in it, and for some reason, she opened the lid half way through, and popcorn went flying all over the kitchen and did not stop until all of it had popped. DS was never able to get the top back on in the middle of cooking, and so I have always been afraid of them. I'm always afraid that they will explode. I don't cook tough meats, and so I don't think I need one. I much prefer lids that are less complicated/dangerous!


    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 5:30PM
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I have a Presto 6 qt pressure cooker. I love Cooking with my PC. I make Roast, Swiss steak, chicken dishes and many other dishes with my PC. It not only cuts down the cooking time, but food comes out moist and tender and very flavorful. It is great to cook cheaper cuts of meats in as it tenderizes the meat as it cooks it.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 6:14PM
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