April 12, 2012

I’m a Lazy Cook.

And, I’m cuckoo for my pressure cooker.

I mean cuckoo. Let me explain.

I am a lazy cook.

There, I said it. I work hard, I volunteer hard and I play hard. I don’t want to be bothered with daily cooking. I bet many of you are the same. To overcome this, I cook in bulk, a dedicated two or three hours a week, and it’s about convenience and speed.

The pressure cooker is fast. Period. I can make beans in 20 minutes or less–and lentils in four minutes! I can make a homemade vegetable stock in under 30 minutes (versus hours in a crock pot). Quinoa is done in minutes. Chili, beans and all, is done in 15 minutes.

Need I say more?

Here are the top three reasons I love my pressure cooker:

1. Eat beans and grains in minutes!

I’m a beans, greens and grains vegan. And, as I mentioned, I’m a lazy vegan cook. That combination could lead to a lot of canned beans and minute-rice, but the pressure cooker has saved me from that fate. This is just a sampling of recipes that I have cooked up fast:

How fast?

Quinoa: 1 minute
Bulgar: 5 minutes
Pearled Barley: 18 minutes
Brown Lentils: 8 minutes
Black-Eyed Peas: 10 minutes
Adzuki Beans: 14 – 20 minutes
Navy Beans: 16 – 20 minutes
Red Kidney Beans: 20 minutes

2. Save money!

A 15 oz can of Eden Organic Black Beans = 1.5 cups of cooked beans. The cost of 1.5 cups cooked beans (canned) is approximately $2.06 USD. A 16 oz box of dry Eden Organic Black Beans = 2.25 cups of dry beans. 2.25 cups of dry beans will make 7.5 cups cooked beans. The cost of 1.5 cups cooked beans (dry) is approximately 64¢ USD. You save $1.42 USD!

A 32 oz. carton of Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth = 4 cups. The cost is approximately $4.29 USD. I make homemade vegetable broth, cooked up in 10 minutes in the pressure cooker, with vegetable scraps that would have been tossed into the trash. The cost is minimal, pennies for whatever spices or seasoning I choose to use, so let’s call it free.

‘Nuff said.

3. Better nutrition!

Actually, that depends on how you cook otherwise. But here are some thoughts from experts on the topic:

The pressure cooker can be an incredibly nutritious method of cooking. Because of its tight-sealing lid, nutrients are trapped inside the cooker within the liquid. This makes the liquid a source of nutrition that may have otherwise been lost with other cooking methods. Also, unlike other high-heat, quick-cooking techniques such as grilling, pressure cooking does not produce carcinogenic compounds. ~ Sara Hass at Food & Nutrition Magazine

In the case of grains and legumes, although the vitamins and heat-sensitive vitamins and phytonutrients are vulnerable to deterioration, the net result of pressure-cooking is a positive nutritional gain—from the increased digestibility of the macronutrients (protein, fiber and starch) and the increased bioavailability of the essential minerals.- Eating Well Magazine

According to the Nestle professional newsletter, pressure cooking conserves 90-95% of nutrients versus steaming (75-90%) and boiling (40-65%) – Laura, HipPressureCooking.com

This is what I know. If I didn’t have a pressure cooker I would not be consuming such a wide variety of nutrients found in beans, legumes, and grains.

Interested in learning more?

Check out Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass or The New Fast Food™: The Veggie Queen™ Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes by Jill Nussinow.

You can also watch me give my friend her first pressure cooker lesson on my VLOG post A Pressure & Rice Cooker Lesson (When the pressure cooker’s rockin’, don’t come a knockin’).

Editor: Lorin Arnold

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