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Feb 5, 2013 08:36 PM

I keep looking at pressure cookers....and I don't know why...

so what am I missing. I see it mentioned a lot in Indian cookbooks, I remember my mom cooking tongue in it, I'm not sure what I would use it for. Am I just wanting another gadget?

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  1. I don't know why you're looking at pressure cookers either. But if you regularly make braises, stews, soup, stock, dried beans, or whole grains, let me encourage you to strongly consider getting one.

    1. Gadget-o-philia is a true addition so it might just be that. Can you borrow one from a friend and try out a few recipes to see if it is your thing before plunking down money? I have a probably 30 year old Mirromatic PC that works great. I've made a few stews and the like but mainly I use it for beans and artichokes.

      1. I felt a lot like you when I stumbled across a sale that made it a fairly low-risk venture.

        I quite like it-- I use mine for soups and stews, especially on busy days-- I can have slow-cooked taste on the table in the same amount of time as a fairly quick meal.

        I don't know if it would make my desert-island 5, but I definitely wouldn't offer to get rid of it!

        3 Replies
        1. re: sunshine842

          I've wondered the same as OP. Except for the time factor, is there any other advantage? I'm retired so that's no selling point for me. I have a slowcooker and DOs.

          1. re: c oliver

            I would say that great tasting food is a good reason to own a pressure cooker. If it's good enough for Modernist Cuisine, Top Chef and Iron Chef, it's plenty good for me.

            I have been teaching people how to use a pressure cooker for 17 years and the taste of the food is what sold me, and I think that it's why so many others decide to buy one after taking one of my classes.

            Time is only one part of the equation.

            1. re: c oliver

              According to Martha Stewart, you get stronger flavor with lighter color when you make pressure cooker chicken stock.
              It's also supposed to extract more collagen.

              I have a very old pressure cooker that doesn't owe me anything but I do still use it on occasion for beans and stock.
              I am tempted to try it for braising but like you, time savings isn't important for me, and I wonder if the juices would be weak without the opportunity to reduce the way they do during long braising.

              If I had to choose between a crockpot and a pressure cooker, it would be the latter. Not enough evaporation in a crockpot, and an oven serves the same purpose. Between microwaves, pressure cookers, sous vide cookers, and crockpots, we probably have more stove alternatives than we need.

          2. Cook tongue in your own pressure cooker-- try to recreate a memory. Why not?

            Give in to the object of your desire.

            1. Hi, jeffpen2:

              The Cook's Illustrated on the shelves right now has a piece on why everyone needs one.


              7 Replies
              1. re: kaleokahu

                Kaleo, in light of MY lifestyle, could you give me the short version please? Thanks, C

                1. re: c oliver

                  Hi, C:

                  Cliff Notes version: speeds cooking by increasing boiling temperature of water from 212F to around 250F. Only government-approved way of canning to kill pathogens. That's about it.

                  I have one (a bequest), but I've never used it, don't appreciate the need for the above. So I'm with you on this one.


                    1. re: c oliver

                      K's not wrong, but there's MUCH more to it than that -- check this out:


                      I didn't know all of those things, either.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        Thanks, sunshine (lordy, I love your S/N). I guess if I didn't have a slowcooker, I'd definitely be more disposed. The kinds of things that I can imagine cooking in one is currently accomplished by it or low and slow in the oven. Unlike some people I use VERY little liquid in either. That chart shows that steaming keeps most of the vitamins anyway. Since we keep our house cold enough to hang meat --- or so visitors claim :) --- and save energy various ways, that's not a real selling point for me. And, as I say, we're retired so timesaving isn't a factor. But I appreciate that graphic. It does give good info. Best, C

                        1. re: c oliver

                          the PC works better for me because I don't have to squeeze "putting stuff in the crockpot" into the morning rush of school and work.

                          My fridge just isn't big enough to hold the crock it limits my options.

                          I use the crockpot on weekends or if I happen to not be working that day, but I've been a little surprised at how often I use the PC.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Never thought about that. I usually do the mad scramble in the morning. Gah!