Folks, there’s nothing hard or scary about using a pressure cooker. I’ve heard others (folks that have never cooked with a pressure cooker) carry on urban legends about exploding pots. I say, “bah humbug!” Pressure cookers are no different than any other appliance you properly use and care for in your kitchen. Once you’ve read through the owner’s manual, nothing can stop you from creating meals in half or a third of the cooking time.
Take fresh greens for instance. In a regular cooking pot, they have to cook up to an hour before their country-style tender. In a pressure cooker, it only takes 1 to 3-minutes, depending on whether they’re whole or pieces. The quantity of vegetables does not change pressure cooking times. Although, more mature vegetables may require a longer pressure cooking time.
Now cooking green beans with red potatoes in a pressure cooker can be tricky. Mature whole green beans take a maximum of 4 minutes to cook, while the average 2 1/2-inch size red potato cooking time starts at 15 minutes. If not don’t right, you can end up with mushy greens beans and tender potatoes or tender green beans and hard potatoes.
The solution: whole red potatoes must be no bigger than 1-inch in diameter or cut into 1/2-inch thick slices and the green beans should be whole.
HERE’S ALL IT TAKES
- fresh whole green beans
- red potatoes, 1-inch in diameter or cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 cup water
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
- 2 teaspoons bacon drippings or olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
The amount of vegetables does not change the cooking time. However,
DO NOT fill the pressure cooker over 2/3 full!
When mixing our vegetables, it’s good to use the cooking rack to keep them out of the cooking liquid. Each vegetable will retain its own distinctive flavor and appearance. If you wish to blend the flavors, omit the rack and place them in the cooking liquid.
Pour 1 cup water into cooker. Place the remaining ingredients in cooker, with or without rack. Close cover securely. Place pressure regulator on vent pipe. Using a medium to high heat setting, heat the pressure cooker until the pressure regulator attains a gentle rocking motion.
NOTE: The air vent/cover lock may move up and down a few times when cooking first begins. Steam will be noticeable. This is normal. Air is being vented out of the cooker. Once the cooker has sealed, the air vent/cover lock will rise up and remain in the up position until pressure is released. The overpressure plug will rise slightly and seal as well.
Cooking time begins when the pressure regulator begins to rock gently. Gradually lower the heat as necessary to maintain a slow steady rocking motion and COOK FOR 4 MINUTES. CAREFULLY lift pressure cooker to remove from burner and place in kitchen sink. Cool the pressure cooker under running water faucet until pressure is completely reduced. Pressure is completely reduced when the air vent/cover lock has dropped.
If the air vent/cover lock remains in its raised position, there is still pressure inside the cooker. Continue to cool until air vent/cover lock drops.
Remove the pressure regulator BEFORE opening the cover. Lift the cover toward you to keep any steam away from you. If the cover turns hard, there still may be some pressure in the cooker. Do not force the cover off. Continue to cool the cooker until steam no longer is escaping from the vent pipe, the air vent/cover lock has dropped, and the cover turns easily.
Food is ready to serve.
Like I’ve said, once you know how to properly use a pressure cooker, you can cook anything. Trust me. It takes longer to type these instructions than it takes to learn to cook with a pressure cooker.
I have had the Presto 6 Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker w/ Bimetal Clad Base for last five years and I use it regularly. Its perfect for a family of four. My first pressure cooker was a hand-me-down from Memaw and served me well until the manufacturer stopped making its particular overpressure plug. That’s the only reason why I had to replace it.
Do you own a pressure cooker?