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Hello!<br><br><br><br>
Does anyone here use a pressure cooker?<br><br><br><br>
Even though I've been a vegetarian for more than half of my life, I've never used a pressure cooker - they kind of scare me! Here I've been all these years either buying tinned beans or soaking and boiling them. I read in a cooking magazine a wee while ago that you can cook dry beans (without soaking) in mere minutes - is that true? I'm a pretty organised person but I'm always like <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/doh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":doh:"> when I get up in the morning and realise I forgot to soak the beans!<br><br><br><br>
What do you think - worth the investment?
 

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I love my pressure cooker. It makes cooking beans much quicker and it makes awesome risotto (no stirring!). It's also good for making chili and soup, so instead of simmering for 45 minutes, you cook it at high pressure for 10 and you're good.<br><br><br><br>
If you do get a pressure cooker, I recommend this book: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FGreat-Vegetarian-Cooking-Under-Pressure%2Fdp%2F0688123260%2Fref%3Dpd_sim_b_3%2F002-3667783-0745638" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Great-Vegetari...667783-0745638</a>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">I've never used a pressure cooker - they kind of scare me!</div>
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Well, just don't open it up until the pressure gauge drops. Mine is designed so that you can't open it up until the gauge drops unless you push the gauge down. But just be patient and wait for it to drop.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">I read in a cooking magazine a wee while ago that you can cook dry beans (without soaking) in mere minutes - is that true?</div>
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Not really. If you count the time it takes for the cooker to heat up and the time it takes to cook and the time it takes for the gauge to drop it takes at least an hour, I'd say, to cook soaked beans. I'm sure cooking would go faster in a smaller cooker but mine is 6 quarts and I usually cook 4 cups of dried beans.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">What do you think - worth the investment?</div>
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Absolutely; even though it's not real fast you still save time and energy. It takes less energy so it's environmentally friendy. I love it, and always cook beans that way. The only bad thing is that you can't open it up to check the beans. In time you will learn how long it takes to cook the various types of beans and almost always have good results. If you undercook you can finish them coventionally. If you use it a lot every few years the gasket will start to leak and you need to buy a new one. They cost about $10 at an appliance parts store.
 

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There's one thing I'm not sure about though. I wonder how cooking with pressure cookers affects the nutrients.
 

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Pressure cookers are better, nutrition-wise than some forms of cooking, because the food retains it's nutrients (and shape, and color and all) with cooking under pressure.<br><br><br><br>
Kyo: I cook beans all the time and it usually takes maybe 1/2 an hour at the MOST. And that's for unsoaked beans.<br><br><br><br>
Pinto beans and black beans will sometimes take up to 40 min. but I think this is usually when I'm using VERY dry beans that have been sitting in the bag on the grocers shelf for a VERY long time...<br><br><br><br>
I LOVE the amount of time it saves. AND the lower cost!! I can buy 20# bulk bags of garbanzos, lentils, split peas and little red beans for about 5$ a bag.<br><br><br><br>
Takes us almost a year to use up the 20# and we cook them ALL the time in the pressure cooker.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Kyo: I cook beans all the time and it usually takes maybe 1/2 an hour at the MOST. And that's for unsoaked beans.</div>
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When I cook it takes at least 15 minutes for the pressure to build up and the gauge to rise (it takes time to heat things up). After I turn the burner off it takes about 35 minutes for the pressure gauge to drop. That's already 50 minutes and doesn't even count the cooking time (after the gauge goes up and before I turn the burner off). Like I said, if you cook a small amount it goes faster. Tofu-N-Sprouts; how many beans do you cook at a time? I suspect you cook less than I do.<br><br><br><br>
And if the gasket around the rim leaks the pressure drops a lot faster after you turn the burner off. It's nice that it finishes faster but you don't want a leaky gasket though. I guess it's possible that the newer pressure cookers are designed to release the pressure faster once the burner is turned off. Mine is about 20 years old.<br><br><br><br>
I think that when people say it takes 10 minutes to cook beans in a pressure cooker they are probably just talking about what I defined as the cooking time and they aren't counting the heat up time and the time for the pressure gauge to drop. The whole cooking process takes longer than that.<br><br><br><br>
Vegmumma was also asking about safety I forgot to mention that it's important to make sure that the passage way for the steam (in the center of the lid) doesn't get plugged up. The pressure is regulated through the weight on top of it and if the passage gets plugged up the pressure can rise too high. It never happened to me but I guess that if that happened the rubber pressure relief plug would pop out and a person might get burnt. I've been using my pressure cooker once or twice a week for about 20 years and it has never happened so it's not something that happens a lot. When you clean it make sure that the passage way is clear.
 

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This probably sounds really stupid, but are they really safe?<br><br>
I mean, can you really set it going in the morning and have dinner done in the evening without it blowing up?<br><br><br><br>
I'm just concerned because recently I have been out all day, and have two cats....I wouldn't want to come back to find stew covered cats....<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/worried.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":worried:">
 

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This is sounding more and more interesting to me. So, if you don't have to soak the beans first, does this affect the 'gassiness' of the beans since I've heard soaking them first reduces the gas effect?
 

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This is something I've thought about, since I usually don't manage use up the whole jar of, say, chickpeas on my own but spending a long time cooking a small quantity isn't all that appealing either. Not to mention all the energy that would be wasted cooking a measly handful the conventional way. The soaking part doesn't bother me all that much. I've heard you can cut down on the amount of time that takes by bringing your water and beans to a boil before letting them sit for an hour.<br><br><br><br>
Oh well, I'm sharing a kitchen with other students though, so unless there are inexpensive pressure cookers around, I don't think I'll get one any time soon.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Snow White</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
This is something I've thought about, since I usually don't manage use up the whole jar of, say, chickpeas on my own but spending a long time cooking a small quantity isn't all that appealing either. Not to mention all the energy that would be wasted cooking a measly handful the conventional way. The soaking part doesn't bother me all that much. I've heard you can cut down on the amount of time that takes by bringing your water and beans to a boil before letting them sit for an hour.<br><br><br><br>
Oh well, I'm sharing a kitchen with other students though, so unless there are inexpensive pressure cookers around, I don't think I'll get one any time soon.</div>
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Hi there, I could not imagine NOT having a pressure cooker..I have a huge pressure canner with a gage but for just regular cooking I use a 4 quart..They can be a little pricey..Try ebay, goodwill, salvation army or yard sales..You will be amazed how much time you can save..<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/hamster.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":hamster:">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Schoska</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
This probably sounds really stupid, but are they really safe?<br><br>
I mean, can you really set it going in the morning and have dinner done in the evening without it blowing up?<br><br><br><br>
I'm just concerned because recently I have been out all day, and have two cats....I wouldn't want to come back to find stew covered cats....<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/worried.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":worried:"></div>
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I think you're confusing a pressure cooker with a slow cooker. Pressure cookers cook very quickly, you wouldn't leave them on all day. The modern models have a number of safety features like locks that won't let you open the pot until the pressure is reduced. They are very safe.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>karenlovessnow</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
This is sounding more and more interesting to me. So, if you don't have to soak the beans first, does this affect the 'gassiness' of the beans since I've heard soaking them first reduces the gas effect?</div>
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not IME. Even with a pressure cooker you should soak the beans though, it promotes even cooking. The upsides is that if you forget to soak the beans you can still have them done in a reasonable time. (its only a couple minutes extra cooking)
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Blue Plastic Straw</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think you're confusing a pressure cooker with a slow cooker. Pressure cookers cook very quickly, you wouldn't leave them on all day. The modern models have a number of safety features like locks that won't let you open the pot until the pressure is reduced. They are very safe.</div>
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<br><br><br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/dunce.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":dunce:"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/dunce.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":dunce:"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/dunce.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":dunce:"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/doh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":doh:"><br><br>
I'm not with it today.. Thanks BPS!
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Kyo</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
When I cook it takes at least 15 minutes for the pressure to build up and the gauge to rise (it takes time to heat things up). After I turn the burner off it takes about 35 minutes for the pressure gauge to drop. That's already 50 minutes and doesn't even count the cooking time (after the gauge goes up and before I turn the burner off). Like I said, if you cook a small amount it goes faster. Tofu-N-Sprouts; how many beans do you cook at a time? I suspect you cook less than I do..</div>
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Kyo, I think we're almost talking about different cookers: the newer pressure cookers are SO much different than the old style.<br><br>
This is the one I have: <a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.co.uk%2FAlessi-Pressure-Cooker-Stefano-Giovannoni%2Fdp%2FB000G6LFG6" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alessi-Press.../dp/B000G6LFG6</a><br><br><br><br>
It's 2 years old. It's also 6 quarts.<br><br><br><br>
I start with very hot water (I have a hot water-dispenser in my sink) and it takes less than 10 minutes to build to pressure. After the beans have cooked at pressure I set the pot under cold water and do a "quick release" and can open the cooker in about three minutes.<br><br><br><br>
The new models don't have the same type of little gauge for pressure. They also have TONS of new safety features i.e. if the pressure valve is clogged you can't even get the lid to lock on in the first place. They're 'almost' foolproof (nothing is totally foolproof).<br><br><br><br>
It's STRONGLY not recommended to buy a pressure cooker at the Goodwill or similar becase many of the old ones are not safe for exactly the reasons you mentioned.
 

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I've seen newer pressure cookers with gauges, but they are designed for canning or autoclaving purposes, not cooking.<br><br><br><br>
I have a 6 qt fagor and its awesome. When I replace it (which will be years from now) I might step up to a kuhn rikkon but I have no complaints about the fagor.
 

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I agree with what Tofu-n-Sprouts has to say.<br><br><br><br>
Pressure cookers have been around for a long time. I inherited an old one made in the 1950s. This kind would be extremely dangerous if I tried to cook beans in it.<br><br><br><br>
Put a different way, beans were about the most dangerous food you could ever try to cook in an old style pressure cooker, because of the danger that the skins would come off and clog the steam ports. Ka-boom!<br><br><br><br>
Starting in the 1970s, pressure cookers began to be redesigned and many new safety features added.<br><br><br><br>
So I would definitely urge someone thinking of getting a pressure cooker to cook beans to get a new model with the best redundant safety features that fit your budget. Do your homework and research this issue. Don't just "impulse buy."<br><br><br><br>
There are some models that come with some sort of internal ceramic pot and lid. This is yet another layer of safety, since the beans would stay within the lidded pot while they cooked.<br><br><br><br>
BTW, I believe that Jeff Nelson of VegSource and his family got a pressure cooker and just went ape over it. There were articles there about it. It seems it allows you to cook many foods moistly yet without adding oils or fats, and thus can help you lose weight.<br><br><br><br>
P.S. Tofu is also correct that you would typically take the pressure cooker over to the sink and run cold water over it, thus allowing it to be opened quickly, rather than just shutting off the burner and letting it cool down that way.<br><br><br><br>
ETA:<br><br><br><br>
Jeff Nelson talks about using a pressure cooker as part of a drive to lower his cholesterol here:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/nelson_mcdougall.htm" target="_blank">http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/nelson_mcdougall.htm</a><br><br><br><br>
There is a brief article on pressure cookers the Nelsons bought here:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/pressure_cookers.htm" target="_blank">http://www.vegsource.com/articles2/pressure_cookers.htm</a><br><br><br><br>
There is a whole discussion area devoted to vegetarian cooking using pressure cookers here:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.vegsource.com/talk/pressure/" target="_blank">http://www.vegsource.com/talk/pressure/</a>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Joe</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
P.S. Tofu is also correct that you would typically take the pressure cooker over to the sink and run cold water over it, thus allowing it to be opened quickly, rather than just shutting off the burner and letting it cool down that way.<br><br><br></div>
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Tofu didn't say that, so only you are incorrect. Quick pressure release and natural pressure release are each appropriate in different circumstances. Quick pressure release happens to work well for beans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks so much everyone - can I ask another question?<br><br><br><br>
Can you use a pressure cooker on any type of stove-top? We don't have gas - just a normal electric stove.
 

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I used mine on electric and now use it on a gas stovetop. Either works fine.<br><br><br><br>
I *think* I may have scorched a couple things on my electric stovetop, though it may also be because I was just learning to use my pressure cooker at the time.<br><br><br><br>
I know I had a couple "trial and error" efforts (though only a couple). Who knows if it's because of the type stove I had.
 
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