Pressure Cooker: Hot or Not?
Everyone and their mom jumped on the pressure cooker wagon over the holiday season as prices dropped and pressure cooker hysteria mounted. I was one of the crazy ladies that got her pressure cooker and couldn’t wait to put it to work. My life was going to be so much easier and we would be eating pot roast in just three minutes.
Um, not really.
Let’s have a REALLY honest discussion about pressure cooking so you can figure out if it’s right for your family. I’ll start with the cons of pressure cooking because I do think there are some, especially when you are just figuring out how to use it. Next, I can tell you why all of the cons were worth it because we use it almost every single day! Here goes.
CON: It Releases a Terrifying Steam Monster
The first hurdle is getting the pressure cooker out of the box and using it. Pressure cooking the first time was SCARY! I read my booklet three times and about lost my crap when I had to release the steam out of the top of the venting thingamabob.
When I say I lost my crap, I basically started screaming and ran in the other corner of the kitchen.Then I realized that this really was not a big deal. It’s steam. I will not die from it. Right?? Right??
There is a learning curve with this one. One day I was venting it when it was supposed to be shut, another day I had it closed when it should be venting. That steam monster is a confusing guy and takes some time to figure out.
It’s a good idea to do the advised water test to make sure that your pressure cooker is sealing properly before attempting your first dish. This helps you to understand the steam monster (that is its official name) and it helps you understand the process better.
CON: It’s Difficult to Figure out Timing
If a dish says it is ready in JUST seven minutes, please know that they are not counting the preheating time which can be agonizingly long when you wait until the last minute for that “JUST seven minute” meal.
Several nights my kids were clutching their bellies and moaning around the house.
“How many more minutes until dinner? I’m so hungry.” “LOOK, I AM DOING THE BEST I CAN. IT SAID SEVEN MINUTES AND EVERYONE IT IS A LIAR. IT’S ONLY 9 AT NIGHT. YOU ARE ALL BEING VERY DRAMATIC.” (runs under table to shield oneself from the evils of the steam monster).
Timing is always my biggest hurdle with this gadget.
CON: Some Things Just Shouldn’t be Pressure Cooked
I don’t think all slow cooked dishes should be put under pressure so I choose to not use it for everything. If I buy a pork shoulder, for example, I want it slow cooked all day for our carnita bowls. Steel cut oatmeal lacked the creamy texture I have grown to love as a slow cooked dish when cooked under pressure.
It is one of those things that you have to experiment with and decide what dishes you feel like pressure cooking compromises their flavors and which are enhanced.
PRO: It Makes Quick Work of Labor Intensive Dishes
Once I started to understand when to vent/when not to and gave myself an extra half hour start time before meals, I fell in love with this amazing gadget. Pressure cooking is an incredible device because of its ability to make quicker work of things that normally take a long time or that can be very labor intensive. Steel cut oatmeal in four minutes, risotto in seven (with no pot hovering), baby back ribs in thirty minutes, and shredded beef in just forty-five minutes. It’s a dream come true!
I never dreamed we would have a weekly risotto night, but once I lock the lid on this dish, it does all the work for me. Our spoiled children are now baffled if there are no steaming bowls of risotto to enjoy on a Wednesday. #firstworldproblems
PRO: Frozen Meat No Longer Stands in the Way of Dinner
I can’t tell you how many nights I have forgotten to thaw our meat for our family meal. Ground beef doesn’t stand a chance now that I know that I can put a frozen brick of it in, lock the lid, and have it all cooked in about thirty minutes of pressure cooking.
Thanks to my pressure cooker, we’ve had many a last minute taco or spaghetti night which would have otherwise digressed to bowls of cereal, late night snacking and hangry family members.
My pressure cooker, for me is amazing. For some, not so much Pressure cooking isn’t for everyone. Honestly, I know many people who have returned their pressure cookers because they didn’t find it as useful as I do. I completely get it!
As someone who doesn’t have a lot of space in her kitchen for gadgets, every item must pull its weight. In our house, it is worth its weight in gold! Don’t believe me? Head over on a Wednesday for a big bowl of risotto.