Pressure cooker cooking times?
Is there an easy "rule of thumb" to gauge how long one should cook something in a pressure cooker? Like for instance, if it takes 4 hours regularly to make chicken stock, how would that translate to 10 lbs of cooking pressure, 15 lbs, etc. Is there a conversion chart I can look for?
I am a new to the pressure cooker cook, and find the whole thing mysterious. I am so used to being able to view and touch food while it is cooking, that this is a new mindset for me. I have been using this chart:
So far, lentils have been spot on. My beef stock wasn't quite done after releasing the pressure so I cooked it the old fashioned way until I was happy. My red kidney beans were also a bit undercooked using her chart.
I had the best intentions of creating my own chart, but real life has gotten in the way. Perhaps as we experiment, this will be a place to make those notations?
Yes, there is a "rule of thumb" but there are always exceptions!
Usually things at high pressure (13-15psi) cook three times faster - calculate the basic cooking time in minutes by 0.3. And things cooked at low pressure (6-8psi) cook in half the time - calculate the cooking time in minutes by 0.5.
The thing is, that the rules aren't always cut and dry. Chickpeas, for example, cook 90% faster in the pressure cooker (13 minutes instead of 2-3 hours). Your chicken stock, only 30-45 minutes at high pressure!
These "rules" should be a starting point for figuring out the cooking time.
Your main resource should be your own cooker's manual. It should include a good list of cooking times as they relate to your pressure cooker. The online chart that smtucker linked to is culled from pressure cooker manufacturer instructions books. There are other, more reliable versions online that have been updated with first-hand experience.
For example, the chart in the link lists asparagus thick and thin pressure cooking time as the same - actually, you should ONLY pressure cook thick asparagus lest your expensive purchase of thin asparagus turn into soggy mush - a reputable timing chart will make this distinction.
I hope this helps!
I found exact cooking times useful in learning which foods need more heat than others. However, if you allow a natural cooldown, published cook times become much less dependable. They will vary with food volume, stove type, PC (pressure cooker), etc.
I found that the cooldown in a PC can do a lot of cooking, particularly with large food volumes. Once food reaches 15 psi (250F), the PC and food have stored considerable heat. I like to “passive cook” with this stored heat.
I can easily passive cook many foods. I bring the PC to 15 psi, turn the burner off, and wait 15 min. My PCs stay pressurized the entire 15 min. That means the food temperature was between 250F and 212F for 15 min. That is enough heat to cook white rice, split peas, and most soaked beans.
I try to use passive cooking as much as possible, because it saves energy and produces more even/uniform cooking. Plus, there is nothing more convenient (or safer) than letting beans or split peas cook while the burner's off.