To make fast and healthy meals, I enthusiastically recommend getting a modern pressure cooker and a good blender &/or food processor. If you have this equipment, you will soon be turning out fast, delicious whole-food recipes. When I mention pressure cookers in my talks and classes, I am met with many wide-eyed expressions of fear. It seems most people recall their grandmother’s scary pressure cooker that looked like a small bomb off the TV series “24.” These rattling, ominous and dangerous contraptions of the past are very different from the modern and safe pressure cookers of today. Take a look at this video by Fagor pressure cookers to see a safe, modern, European pressure cooker in action. Some of the benefits of using a pressure cooker include:
- Cooking time is cut by ¼ to 1/3 the time it takes using traditional methods.
- Much more nutritious way to cook whole foods. Cutting cooking time preserves more nutrients. Since the pressure cooker is sealed during cooking, very few nutrients are lost in the cooking water or into the air. By not exposing the food to oxygen during cooking, more vitamins and minerals are retained.
- Foods retain more color which is the health-promoting phytochemicals and antioxidants. Very little water is needed to steam and cook foods in a pressure cooker. Foods cooked in a pressure cooker look very different from other cooked foods that have lost their colors.
- Foods taste better. More nutrients mean more flavor. Since the pressure cooker seals in the nutrients, the flavor is much better.
- More environmental and economical way to cook. The faster cooking times — especially for cooking dried beans — result in a reduced usage of energy. Less heat is needed to pressure cooker and doesn’t result in the high amounts of heat produced by a stove and oven cooking methods. This is advantageous in warm weather. I have used and own 2 brands of pressure cookers, a * Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker and * the more economical Fagor pressure cooker. The Kuhn Rikon is definitely the best and the price reflects this. However, I have liked my Fagor pressure cooker as well and still use it alongside the Kuhn Rikon. The gasket has not lasted long and had to be replaced quicker, but still a good, safe pressure cooker. The Kuhn Rikon has been called the “Mercedes Benz of pressure cookers” and I have found it has lived up to this reputation. Very consistent in its performance and easy to clean and maintain. I have not had to replace any parts after a year of constant use. The accompanying spiral-bound recipe book and list of cooking times for foods has also been a very hand resource. You can order them below.