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Pressure Cooker buying guides Stan CashA pressure cooker is a cooking vessel that sits on a kitchen bench and basically works on the principle of steam pressure. It is simply a sealed pot which generates a great deal of steam. The pressure inside the vessel builds up and this helps cook food faster.

The extreme pressure of the steam has two significant influences. Firstly, it raises the boiling point of the water in the pot. When cooking vegetables on a normal stove top, you are limited to the boiling point of water being 212 degrees. A pressure cookers’ boiling point is 250 degrees. Secondly, the raised pressure forces liquid into the food. This allows meat to stay tender and succulent. This means you do not have to have a prime cut of meat to achieve the best results. A stewing meat is fine to cook with as it will not lose moisture or become tough. The same can be said for the vegetables.

Pressure cookers have been around for centuries. It has a very functional purpose. Food being put into the cooker does not need to be really fresh or even of high quality. This also translates to savings on your shopping bill. The extreme heat of the pressure cooking also creates a greater caramalisation of juices and has a better browning affect. The flavours created are very deep and rich as opposed to food that has only been steamed.

Pressure cookers can cook rice in minutes, more hardened produce like beans and chickpeas in under an hour. It creates tender cuts of meats and roasts. Pressure cookers are very economical in that they use less energy than say a slow cooker as it is concentrated cooking quickly, as opposed to a day long process. Like with most genres of cooking these days recipes are easy to come by, so you will not lose inspiration.

One of the big differences I see between a slow cooker and pressure cooker is organisation. I love my slow cooker, it also means I need to be chopping up veges and briefly popping my chefs’ hat on before I run out the door in the morning. For some people this is just a bridge too far, and I get that. The greatest advantage of both a pressure cooker and slow cooker is that there is reduced lead time. Slow cooker – meal simmering away smelling beautiful when you walk in of an evening, ready to eat at your convenience. Pressure cooker – work still has to be done in the evening however you won’t be waiting and hour and a half for your roast to cook. It’s a lifestyle choice. But do yourself a favour and at least choose one.