You may remember a pressure cooker in the distant past screeching away in the kitchen and, if you shudder at the very thought, it’s not difficult to understand why. The pressure cookers of yesteryear were invariably noisy and cumbersome devices, so it’s unsurprising that they became less popular with the advent of quiet and efficient cooking appliances. However, the stovetop pressure cookers of today are a world away from their old-fashioned ancestors and could transform the way you prepare meals, helping you to cook delicious food that oozes with flavour and nutrients.
What is a pressure cooker?
You’ll already know that, if you’re simmering vegetables in a pan of hot water, they’ll cook more quickly if you balance the lid of the saucepan on top with a slight gap to allow steam to escape.
Pressure cookers work in a similar, but highly efficient, way. Food is placed in the circular pot which is tightly sealed, and steam pressure will build inside to very high levels. With nowhere for the steam to escape to, the pressure inside the pot will rise, heating the water to a much higher temperature than you could achieve in a saucepan on the hob. Consequently, the food will cook more quickly and will also be moister as water is forced into it by the pressure of the steam.
Modern pressure cookers are incredibly safe and cannot explode as a result of the high pressure! Safety devices, such as locking lids, are incorporated into the design so the chances of being burned are negligible; however, as with any new kitchen appliance, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before first use.
What are the benefits of using a pressure cooker?
When you invest in a pressure cooker, you’ll need to take a little time to learn to use it correctly. However, in no time at all you’ll be enjoying the many benefits of pressure cooking:
- Quick, nutritious meals: With pressure cooking, you only need to add the ingredients and you can be assured of thoroughly cooked food in a much shorter time than if you were using a traditional oven. Because the water is boiled away, the food retains more of the vitamins and minerals that are essential to our health, meaning your customers will be enjoying more nutritious food as well.
- More flavoursome food: the shorter cooking time and smaller volume of water used in pressure cooking means that less flavour is lost from the food, making it tastier and healthier. Meals are richer in flavour and some food, such as meat, is more succulent and juicier, so it’s a definite win-win for your customers.
- Lower energy use: with pressure cooking, the amount of energy expended is lower than with other kitchen appliances. In part, this is due to the shorter cooking times, but also because you tend to combine ingredients in the pot rather than heating several saucepans simultaneously. You’ll also notice that, as the heat is retained inside the pressure cooker, the kitchen will be cooler and more pleasant to work in.
What can be cooked in a pressure cooker?
Pressure cookers are incredibly versatile pieces of kit, not only because they cook quickly and thoroughly, but also because they can accommodate pretty much any food at all! In fact, it’s not just main meals that you can cook in a pressure cooker, but desserts as well.
An entire meal can easily be cooked in a pressure cooker, such as a casserole or stew, by combining the ingredients together, or it can be used to cook individual items quickly instead. Rice, for example, can be cooked in a few minutes while hard foods, such as beans or chickpeas, are done in less than an hour.
Meat is an especially good choice for a commercial pressure cooker as it tends to cook with more moisture than in the oven, so it will be more tender and bursting with flavour, while fish and other seafood also cook efficiently.
Even desserts can receive the pressure cooker treatment, including sponge cakes, baked apples, chocolate fudge brownies or cheesecake, and they’ll be just as soft and tasty as if you’d cooked them in a commercial oven.
Our top tip for buying a pressure cooker
Modern pressure cookers are predominantly made from steel or aluminium, but if you’re looking for the most efficient model, an aluminium pressure cooker would be a savvy choice.
Aluminium is an excellent conductor of heat so your customers will benefit from quicker cooking times as well as food that is thoroughly cooked and bursting with flavour. Your pressure cooker will be a little lighter – perfect if you need to move it around the kitchen - and, as aluminium is a cheaper metal, you should save money when you make your purchase.
Whichever model you choose, a pressure cooker is an excellent addition to the modern commercial kitchen and, in no time at all, you’ll be wondering how you ever coped without one!
You can see all our Pressure Cookers at our Manchester store 7 days a week or shop online. Online orders have FREE delivery when you spend over £50 and next day delivery on stock orders.