Stop being scared of the pressure cooker!
That was one of my New Year’s resolutions this year, and at just over the halfway point of February, I can say it’s the one I’m glad I stuck with!
Having lived in Nepal at a time when it wasn’t unusual for Maoist insurgents to deploy pressure cooker bombs, I must defend my fear of this kitchen device as being somewhat based in reality!
But today’s pressure cookers are a far cry from their less-reliable, and more explodable predecessors. If you don’t have someone purposely rigging them to explode, you need not fear the pressure cooker.
Pressure cookers work by increasing the boiling point of liquid. Inside the tightly sealed pot, the boiling point goes from 212 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The superhot steam causes food to cook faster. What tastes like it took a full day to boil, is yours in a matter of minutes.
These instruments are great for cooking some of your favorite high-fiber foods, most notably legumes, steel cut oats, and beets.
Here are a few tips for quick cooking dried beans from The Veggie Queen, Registered Dietitian Jill Nussinow and author of the website www.theveggiequeen.com:
- For presoaked beans, cover beans with water in a bowl and let sit for 8-12 hours, drain and then cook
- Presoaked pinto, black, white or kidney beans take 4-6 minutes to cook at pressure
- Garbanzo beans take 12-14 minutes to cook at pressure
- A good ratio is 3/4 cup water for every 1 cup presoaked dry beans
For some great pressure cooker recipes, check out Jill’s book “The New Fast Food – The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes“.
To learn about selecting the best pressure cooker for you, view the Cook’s Illustrated video on pressure cookers.