We all know how a pressure cooker can significantly cut our cooking time. It makes meats tender and moist, too. But using a pressure cooker has so much more benefits. Did you know that it can retain nutrients and eliminate harmful food toxins as well? Read on and discover how!
1. Boosts Food Digestibility
Biting into tender and moist meats is the best! Even hard legumes and grains are at their most flavourful when well-cooked. And using a pressure cooker makes all these possible. But, aside from making dishes palatable, steam and pressure also make cooked food easier to digest. Specifically, pressure cookers are capable of breaking down proteins for enhanced digestibility. In turn, our bodies get the most nutrients out of the meals we eat.
2. Retains Food Quality
Conventional cooking methods like boiling expose food to air and allow flavourful vapours to evaporate. These often result in colour and flavour loss. However, with the steam pressure cooking process, food colours stay bright. Moreover, locking pressure inside helps in developing a better, richer flavour even without the added seasonings.
3. Preserves Nutrients
Is pressure cooking healthy? While this topic is still debatable, research and its comparison with ordinary cooking methods suggest that it can prevent nutrient loss. Here are some factors that make it a healthier choice:
- Cooking time is reduced by up to 70%. Cooking foods for a shorter time helps in retaining heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
- Pressure cooking requires less water. Conventional boiling makes water evaporate quickly, forcing you to add more cooking liquid and dilute water-soluble vitamins.
- Studies concluded that it retains nutrients better. Researchers found that vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach, vitamin C in broccoli and iron in certain legumes are higher when pressure cooked.
4. Eliminates Toxins
Pressure cookers cook with heat higher than 100C or water’s boiling point. With extra high heat and locked-in pressure combined, stovetop and electric pressure cookers can kill harmful bacteria. This benefit is particularly crucial when we are cooking dishes with meats and poultry. This feature also makes some stovetop cookers useful for sterilising preserving jars and baby bottles. At times, people use them to treat drinking water, too.
Pressure cookers also neutralise some natural toxins in food. Lectins in beans, for example, are anti-nutrients that can harm our gut. But proper pressure cooking removes these, so we can safely eat fibre and proteins in beans. Another good example is aflatoxin. This harmful mould grows in improperly stored rice, corn and wheat. But using a pressure cooker, in place of a conventional saucepan or rice cooker, efficiently reduces aflatoxin concentrations.
5. Saves Money
For home cooks like me who loves to stay on budget, learning how to use a pressure cooker is a must. It can help you save time and energy. But ultimately, they all boil down to significant money savings. Here are some ways how:
- It lessens burner usage. Pressure cooking method often starts with tenderising food items like meat or grains. After releasing pressure, you can add the rest of the ingredients next. With everything cooked in one pot, you get to save gas or electricity.
- It cooks inexpensive ingredients. Beans, pulses and fibrous meat cuts are cheaper food items that you can turn into tasty meals with a pressure cooker.
- It cuts your cook time by one third. With a shorter cooking time, you get to reduce fuel use and have more time to enjoy your homemade meal. Using accessories like a pressure cooker cooling rack also lets you cook more food items at a time.
- It lets you multitask. This one is especially true for electric pressure cookers that come with built-in timers and safety mechanisms. Time is gold, as they say. And by multitasking, you tick more tasks off your to-do list and have more time to relax after cooking. The delayed cooking option of your electric cooker is also a time-saver for busy nights.
- It can do more than just pressure cook. Depending on your electric model, a pressure cooker can also make sautés, yoghurt, desserts and more. It lessens the need to buy separate kitchen tools that only take up space.
6. Reduces Heat, Noise and Smell
Oven baking or conventional boiling in the kitchen is the last thing you want to do on hot weather conditions. A pressure cooker, however, generates less heat than your oven. Compared with ordinary saucepans, its sealed pot locks the hot steam inside, too. That means, a pressure cooker keeps your kitchen cooler and is perfect for making stews even during summer months!
If you own an electric pressure cooker, you can even stay out of the hot kitchen while it’s busy cooking. Both electric and stovetop pressure cookers cook in an airtight seal, too, which lessens cooking noise and odour.
7. Quickens Clean-Up
Here’s another essential benefit of pressure cookers: they take no time to clean. Some of their parts, though, are not dishwasher safe. However, with one pressure-cooker lid and pot to handwash, clean-up is a breeze. You won’t have to worry about scrubbing individual pans or soaking pots.
On top of these, they are airtight cookers. There’s a lesser chance for spills and spatters to happen while pressure cooking. Boil overs won’t occur either. And so, using a pressure cooker keeps your benchtops and stove clean and cuts your cleaning time, too.
The use of pressure cookers at home is undoubtedly a time, money, energy and nutrient saver. They are also versatile kitchen appliances that can cook all sorts of pressure cooker recipes, both indoors and out. One thing to remember, though, is to make sure to choose the right pressure cooker so you can enjoy all its benefits!