Author Topic: Should I buy a pressure cooker?  (Read 8408 times)

Dee

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Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« on: March 02, 2012, 05:10:31 PM »
Jacob at ERE was a big user of the pressure cooker and recommended them as a useful ERE tool. I've never used one and don't even know very much about what they do. It sounds from what Jacob wrote that, at the very least, they allow for cooking rice really quickly -- something I would like very much.
I was going through this week's flyers and saw that Canadian Tire has a 60% off sale for Cuisineart pressure cookers: $30 fr a 5-qt or $40 for an 8 qt.
Seems like it has the potential to be a Mustachian purchase... but I'm not sure...

Any opinions from Mustachians on whether I should make this purchase?

Thanks!

kolorado

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2012, 05:24:23 PM »
Check out thrift stores, CL,  Ebay and local swap groups first. You may need to replace the rubber ring but those are generally pretty cheap.
I bought my cooker for $10 at a thrift. I hated it. I tried so hard to like it. I love kitchen gadgets but not this one. I sold my cooker and stuck with my 3 crock pots. :)

velocistar237

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2012, 07:12:48 PM »
We have one of the non-electric variety, and we like it. When I started following the ERE blog, it became generally known that a pressure cooker was wanted by me. My sister-in-law found one for us at a yard sale for $10. It turned out to be an unused Kuhn-Rikon.

It cooks things faster, which also means it uses less fuel and heats your house less in the summer. It also humidifies the house less because it's sealed, which helped when we had humidity problems a few months ago. It does take some babysitting, but not for long, since it cooks quickly. There are electric ones that are programmable, like a slow cooker on steroids. Some of them can even double as slow cookers. They seem more prone to breakage, though, while a pot basically lasts forever.

Lars

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2012, 08:30:07 PM »
If your planning on doing some canning, I'd recommend a pressure cooker. For just cooking, I think there is a decent chance you won't use it much - I can only think of one member of our extended family that used it much for cooking.

BTW If you get a used one, some university or county extension agents will test for you for free.

dahlink

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 10:53:37 PM »
I have an electric pressure cooker.  I live in an apartment that has an electric stove so, an electric pressure was a better option for me here.  Got it cheaply off of amazon or ebay...cant recall which.  At the time I was not taking advantage of craigslist but have since become a better mustachian.  I do actually use it to cook rice.  I find that it works great as long as you follow the directions, and be slightly conservative with the water.

My father used to cook a bunch different things from the pressure cooker.  Chuck roast really tastes great and is easy even for me to prep.  I am still in the infantry of my cooking skills, but I think a pressure cooker is a valuable tool if you use it.  Much like MMMs article on the bread machine.

Parizade

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2012, 07:07:47 AM »
Here's the only pressure cooker I want, but I would consider it a luxury item to purchase after FI if I can afford it.
http://www.wisementrading.com/campcookware/pressurecooker.htm

Mrs MM

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2012, 09:35:42 AM »
We don't have a pressure cooker.  I just wanted to point out that rice is really easy to make in a regular pot.  I'm sure they are useful for other things, although I'm not sure what... :)

I'm not really a fan of large pieces of kitchen equipment.  We did get a crockpot at one point, although we don't use it that much (I know some people use them all the time).

Dee

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2012, 06:29:32 PM »
Thanks, everyone, for your input.

Since it's not like I'm having a pressure cooker emergency or any such thing, I think I will take the majority advice here and just keep an eye out for a used one.

jdchmiel

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 09:24:18 AM »
I must be one of those weird families that actually uses all the kitchen gadgets..
electric gridle - pancakes every weekend. no need to serve in batches, or try to keep the first ones warm while the remaining cook . cook them all in once batch, and it does a better job than a cast iron skillet or a frying pan. plus, it was cheaper than a used frying pan lol.
bread machine - wedding gift. Wife makes cinnamon buns, pizza dough, break multiple times a week.
kitchenaid - pre mustachian purchase, still price shopped around and used a coupon. Wife uses for muffins and cookies and such also at least weekly.
Coffe machine - grinds and brews according to alarm clock every morning. A luxury that would be worth paying for a new one every year :)
Crock pot - used ALL the time. with the rice machine.. set it, forget it, dinner is ready at the end of the day.
toaster oven - best way to reheat pizza. If you pre heat, you can do regular baking in it, which we do often instead of heating up the big gas oven.

Things we never used much / never owned / got rid of / or need to sell on craigslist:
pressure cooker, dont even own one, Do not do canning, anything else I am not sure how it benefits. My Mom used one growing up to cook potatoes faster for mashed potatoes.
George Forman - Wife used to use this in her single days. I like the gas grill. I want to run a gas line to the grill to avoid the tanks, but need to build a deck first to have a permanant locaiton for a grill. Never liked the george forman, hard to clean, no more convenient than a real grill, does not taste as good as a real grill.
hand mixer - kitchenaid for big things, hand whisk for most things.
ice cream machine - takes up too much space in freezer to get bowl frozen, makes small batch that is not THAT much better than grocery store, and ends up being more $$
toaster - toaster oven is so much better, i have not had a toaster in 15+ years.
blender - our food choices do not seem to utilize a blender very often.  Wife did make some shakes during pregnancy, but now it is almost never used.
food processor - never owned one, wife got a slicing attachment as a gift for the kitchen aid. Seems faster to use a knife and hand power than to set up the attachment for veggies, but for grating cheese it beats a grater and bloody knuckles any day.

So anyways sorry about the side off topic rant, but I find that we use devices different than others, and I thought if you found similarities or differences to your own utilization of some of these things it might help you decide. And  if you make just  3 meals with any kitchen device that replace going out to eat, you are spending less than most. 

shedinator

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2012, 10:10:06 AM »
I must be one of those weird families that actually uses all the kitchen gadgets..

Us, too! I love fix & forget gadgets (bread machine, rice cooker, slow cooker) because they take the irrationality out of dinner. If I get home at 9 PM and don't feel much like cooking, it doesn't matter, because the chicken's been in the crock pot since 9 AM, and all I have to do is grab a ladle. My wife is one of those weirdos who does what she loves, which is being a pastry chef. In about 4.5 years of marriage, I can't think of a time when our kitchenaid was neglected for more than a day or two, and it's not uncommon for us to run out of pots/pans/baking sheets when they were all clean 24 hours before.

AJ

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2012, 11:02:44 AM »
We had a regular pressure cooker, and we never used it. But, we do use the electric pressure cooker that my mom gave us all the time. I know we could cook all the same stuff on the stovetop (rice, soup, beans, etc.) but it doesn't require any interaction from us (no stirring, no boiling over, etc.). Just set the timer and forget about it. However, I have no idea how much this thing cost, so I can't necessarily recommend it outright. All I can say is that we use and love it.

Gerard

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 03:26:17 PM »
If you wait a while, and ask around a lot, you'll probably find a relative or friend who has one (maybe received as a gift) and doesn't use it. That's how I got my rice cooker!

I used to use a pressure cooker a lot for quick legumes or stews. Now, I soak, sprout, and/or slow-cook.

(If you ever buy the Canadian Tire one, check the packaging really carefully to make sure you have all the parts... mine was either missing the rocker, or it was tucked into a bit of the packaging that I threw out and couldn't get back!)

twinge

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2012, 09:03:56 AM »
I got a pressure cooker when I graduated from college 15 years ago and have used it 4-5 times a week ever since and it's still going strong.  It has paid for itself many times over in energy savings alone and in the fact that I'm 100x more likely to use dried beans if I know I can cook them so quickly even if I forgot to soak them ahead of time.

Dee

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 05:49:59 AM »
Ohhhh, Twinge, that sounds really useful! I make bean dishes frequently but only ever use canned beans because I'm not big on planning ahead and following through, especially when it comes to cooking. So you're really selling the pressure cooker idea to me with that! I may now be swayed from my passive approach of just waiting and seeking if one comes along to actually seeking one out from used item sites or stores.

Or maybe I will quietly pick one up next time they are on sale at Cdn Tire (or elsewhere) and omit to mention the source of my purchase here... It is nice to get the original instructions, clean unused equipment and return policy of buying a kitchen item new. Even if there is a piece missing, as a previous poster mentioned might happen, big chain stores will just take things back and let you try again with another one.

mm1970

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2012, 08:37:02 AM »
I love my pressure cooker for dried beans and sometimes other things too.  I have a few good recipes for other items from cookbooks.  But mostly dried beans.

Exprezchef

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2015, 11:01:43 AM »
I know this is an old topic but wanted to re-open it to hopefully get some advice from regular pressure cooker users. My wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday coming up and I decided on a pressure cooker. I am looking at the Presto 6qt stainless steel non-electric model and then also pick up a cook book to go along with it. Any experience either pros or cons regarding this model or other recommendations?

GizmoTX

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2015, 11:23:51 AM »
Cookbook: Pressure Cooker Perfection: 100 Foolproof Recipes that will Change the Way You Cook, by America's Test Kitchen.

This cookbook did change the way we cook. We now have 3 PCs: 2 large stovetop & 1 electric, all "3rd generation". These are much safer & quieter than grandma's version. Choose stainless steel rather than aluminum or coated non-stick pots. Stovetop PCs have to be monitored more, but reach higher pressure & are available in larger capacities than electrics.

For a minimalist or set it & forget it kitchen, I recommend the electric Instant Pot. (Amazon is a good source.) Not only is it a good PC, it also functions successfully as a rice cooker, slow cooker, keep warm pot, & even a popcorn maker. This is the one small appliance that DS has in his college apt.

pmk

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2015, 11:56:11 AM »
I use mine quite often, but I wouldn't say its essential. Its great for cooking from scratch though. I make beans (~10min cook time for pre-soaked beans), broth (1hr cook time for rich broth) and getting batch cooking done quickly and with little electricity. I've also had good results converting crock pot recipes into pressure cooker (I made a chicken curry the other night in just 15min). But, I did get mine from my mom since she didn't use it much, Im not sure I would have ever bought it. Mine is a stove top stainless Fagor.

One note, I probably wouldn't count on canning and cooking in the same one. I've been eyeing the canners and if you want to do more than 4 jars at a time, you have to get quite a large capacity.

mm1970

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2015, 12:51:29 PM »
I must be one of those weird families that actually uses all the kitchen gadgets..

Us, too! I love fix & forget gadgets (bread machine, rice cooker, slow cooker) because they take the irrationality out of dinner. If I get home at 9 PM and don't feel much like cooking, it doesn't matter, because the chicken's been in the crock pot since 9 AM, and all I have to do is grab a ladle. My wife is one of those weirdos who does what she loves, which is being a pastry chef. In about 4.5 years of marriage, I can't think of a time when our kitchenaid was neglected for more than a day or two, and it's not uncommon for us to run out of pots/pans/baking sheets when they were all clean 24 hours before.
Me too!

So I like my pressure cooker.  I've used it for meats sometimes, but mostly for beans, and sometimes rice.

For example: one Saturday during the summer we went to the water park with the kids.  I'd tossed some chicken and Asian sauce in the crockpot, with the plan to eat it over rice with steamed broccoli.

We got home MUCH later than expected and HANGRY.  So, I cooked my (brown) rice in the pressure cooker - in less than 30 minutes total, with heat up and pressure release.  Dinner was on the table quick!  We mostly eat brown rice.

My rice cooker (which I also love) is a slow one - 60 minutes for white and 90 minutes for brown, so it's not at all practical for a weekday or if I haven't "planned ahead" sufficiently.

For beans: I love the pressure cooker for dried beans.

I have two good recipes for dried beans in the crockpot (refried pintos and black bean soup).  But if I want to just generically cook "beans" for something, it's always the pressure cooker.  I plan ahead and soak, then the beans just need 5-10 minutes at pressure and a slow release.  But you can cook without soaking - I've done that a couple of times too.

I have a great pressure cooker cookbook from Lorna Sass.

Of course, these days I'm eating fewer carbs, so less use of the pressure cooker.  Though most of the carbs I eat are beans.


mm1970

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2015, 12:54:16 PM »
I know this is an old topic but wanted to re-open it to hopefully get some advice from regular pressure cooker users. My wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday coming up and I decided on a pressure cooker. I am looking at the Presto 6qt stainless steel non-electric model and then also pick up a cook book to go along with it. Any experience either pros or cons regarding this model or other recommendations?
I have a large Kuhn-Rikon and a smaller (6 qt) Presto. 

The Kuhn-Rikon is "nicer" but the Presto is easier, so I use the Presto 90% of the time. 

I should probably donate or sell the other one.  We use it maybe once a year.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2015, 01:11:27 PM »
I have the Cuisinart EPC-1200 6 quart electric pressure cooker, and use it ALL the time.  This is a 10psi pressure cooker. 
Favorite dish:  Boston baked beans & brown rice - sometimes with diced sweet potatoes on top.  White rice is a 3-6 minute 'cook', while brown rice and pinto beans (from CostCo in bulk) are both 30 minute cooks.  Get one of those radar-dish looking steamer baskets as a must-have accessory.  It has browning, simmering, sauteing, and warming functions, but I mainly use the high-pressure cook function / quick-pressure release. Normally it switches to warming once the cook cycle completes, and the pressure slowly releases taking 10 minutes to reach room pressure.

mungo

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2015, 03:16:29 PM »
I have two (I want to say a five litre and a three litre?) and I use them at least 3-4 times a week normally.  I like risotto, beans, any kind of whole grain (barley is one I'm into right now), most soups. I'm married, but I usually just cook for me so the small one is really handy, particularly for grains. I wouldn't want to be without one.  I know someone mentioned Lorna Sass's cookbooks already, but they really are fantastic--I have her vegetarian book and I've had maybe one dud out of the whole book.  She has a lot of basic, hardy food that still manages to really taste good.  It's maybe not the sort of thing I would serve to impress people at a dinner party, but it's darn tasty. 

Exflyboy

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2015, 07:01:40 PM »
Absolutely you need one!

You can cook kidney beans from dry in 22 minutes.. Way less energy use, and time of course..:)

GeneralJinjur

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2015, 07:35:35 PM »
In a slow week, I will only use my pressure cooker 2-3 times.  Check out Miss Vickie's blog and book.  I second the Lorna Sass recommendation.  The America's Test Kitchen book really didn't have anything that I could use, but that could be because I already had the other sources.  Check them out from the library and see which trips your trigger before you buy one, if you buy one.  I have a little 2 quart electric, which I bought for rice and beans, but use for chicken dishes and small batches of soup.  I also have the 4 and 8 quart Fagor model from Costco.  I use the 8 quart pan for big soups and the 4 quart for everything else. 

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2015, 07:46:42 PM »
And don't forget steel cuts oats in about 10 minutes!  And broth!  You can dump a whole chicken in with vegetables and water, and you'll have chicken soup in 25 minutes.  Well, you do have to strain and pick the meat off the bones.  I have two pressure cookers and use them at least weekly. 

frompa

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2015, 05:50:11 AM »
Hell yes, get a pressure cooker if you cook from scratch as a rule.  I don't have an opinion on whether to buy new or used... when it comes to money saving devices like this, I don't fret too much over that decision.  In my mind, you can't beat going from unsoaked dried beans to done beans in half an hour.  I also recommend the cook books Cooking Under Pressure and The Pressured Cook by Lorna Sass - both of which came out some years ago (late 90's) so should be available from your library or used.  Aside from having all pressure cooker recipes, these will give you the understanding and skills to utilize your pressure cooker to the max.  Good luck. 

MayDay

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2015, 06:31:20 AM »
I want to ditto that you can't pressure can in a pressure cooker.  It is not considered acceptably safe for the canned food, as the canning times will be off.  You can probably mitigate this by just leaving it in there extra long, but as a PP said, the other issue is you will only be able to fit something like 4 pint jars, making it slow and tedious to can in normal quantities. 

If anyone is thinking about a pressure canner the two most common ones are the Presto which runs 90$ on amazon, but may require seal replacement every decade or so, and the All American for $220, which is all metal.  You will also need a weight gauge, I believe for another ten bucks. 


Exprezchef

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2015, 08:02:33 AM »
Thanks for all of the replies and advice :)
I ordered the 8qt stainless steel Presto using an Amazon card that was received for Christmas. I'll check out my library for cookbooks and let you know how the meals turn out.

dragoncar

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Re: Should I buy a pressure cooker?
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2015, 04:40:17 PM »
I know this is an old topic but wanted to re-open it to hopefully get some advice from regular pressure cooker users. My wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday coming up and I decided on a pressure cooker. I am looking at the Presto 6qt stainless steel non-electric model and then also pick up a cook book to go along with it. Any experience either pros or cons regarding this model or other recommendations?
I have a large Kuhn-Rikon and a smaller (6 qt) Presto. 

The Kuhn-Rikon is "nicer" but the Presto is easier, so I use the Presto 90% of the time. 

I should probably donate or sell the other one.  We use it maybe once a year.

Wow, you can donate it to me if you like :-)