Can You Pressure Cook Without a Pressure Cooker?
A pressure cooker uses steam power in order to cook food. It was invented by a Frenchman called Denis Papain back in the 1600s who called it the food digester and although his early prototypes were unsafe, the same physics is used in pressure cooking today.
A pressure cooker works by boiling water in a sealed unit so that it creates steam and cooks the food. The boiling point is higher in a pressure cooker than externally, reaching 250 degrees Fahrenheit and because it is so hot, cooking time is drastically reduced. In addition, the heat forces liquid back into the food leading to tender moisture-rich food because, despite the high temperature, your food will not dry out.
You cannot pressure cook without using a pressure cooker. The early pressure cookers were extremely dangerous so there is nothing that you can fashion out of pots and weights that you may have lying around in your garage or workshop in order to make your own. The only way to cook with a pressure cooker is to use a pressure cooker but of course, there are plenty of other cooking methods available.
You could, of course, use a slow cooker for a similar taste experience that doesn’t dry out the meat or a casserole for example but whereas a pressure cooker only takes minutes, a slow cooker will take hours.
Beans and pulses, of course, can all be cooked conventionally but instead of taking about 15 minutes from start to finish in a pressure cooker, you will probably find you are looking at about 45 minutes in a conventional pan.
You need to ensure that you pre-soak beans if you are cooking conventionally or they can be very dangerous for health. The usual time is overnight or for at least 8 hours. With a pressure cooker, you can actually cook dried beans without soaking.
Steam cooking vegetables on the hob can provide similar taste results to vegetables cooked in the pressure cooker but it is time-consuming and not as easy.
A microwave offers a speedy alternative to a pressure cooker but lacks its versatility. A microwave is ideal if you are defrosting meat or warming up a meal or cooking a jacket potato. You can also find microwaves that brown the meat but they are not as easy to use as a pressure cooker and most microwave models are quite basic unless you opt for a top of the range model which is expensive.
Of course, you have your oven, your microwave, your hob, your slow cooker, and your steamer but none of these offer the same advantages of a pressure cooker. Once you have discovered the ease and convenience of pressure cooking and tasted the results, you will find that your pressure cooker is irreplaceable.
The beauty of a pressure cooker is that it combines the best aspects of all other cooking utensils into one easy to use and inexpensive appliance.