Best Pressure-cooker? size?

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by TerriLaChicks, May 8, 2011.

  1. TerriLaChicks

    TerriLaChicks Overrun With Chickens

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    Please talk about pressure cookers. What kind do you have? What size? We are a two person household so I'm thinking of getting one but not sure what size to get. Any info would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Are you talking about pressure cookers or pressure canners? There is a big difference. I'll stay out of any pressure cooker conversations but will weigh in if you are talking pressure canners.
     
  3. TerriLaChicks

    TerriLaChicks Overrun With Chickens

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    Isn't a pressure canner just a bigger pressure cooker?

    Is there some sort of middle size that can be used for both cooking and small batches of canning?

    I'm confused as to the difference, for starters....[​IMG]

    All I know is my MIL had one blow up on her years ago & has been leery of them ever since. My own Mom never owned one and neither have I; it is my understanding that the newer models are safer than the older ones. But there are so many sizes and brands out there, I was just wondering what you all use.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    In principle the two are the same, but the pressure canner is really too big for me to use as an everyday pressure cooker. Hopefully others will weigh in on that. Somebody may have found a compromise that works for them.

    With either of them, the gasket can get old and cracked, or maybe cut, so you need to keep an eye on that and replace the gasket when it needs to be replaced. Another risk, which I think is greater with a pressure cooker, is that the vent can get plugged, especially if what you are cooking foams. The third risk, especially with pressure cookers, is that I often bang the stirring spoon on top of the pot when cooking. You don't want to do that with a pressure cooker/canner. You can dent the top of the thing and ruin the seal. If you take care of them and are aware of the potential foaming problem with certain foods, they are pretty safe. But they are vessels under pressure and they can blow up. Many of them have a pressure relief valve (often just a piece of rubber covering a hole) so it blows off and stuff spews out, making a mess, instead of the thing blowing up and spreading shrapnel around. That superheated liquid is still dangerous and makes a real mess, but it is not as bad as shrapnel.

    If you plan on using it as a canner, you need to have a pretty good idea of what you will can, in what size jars, and how much you want to do at a time. I raise a garden and do a lot of canning, plus I can a lot of chicken broth. There are only two of us so most of what I can is in pints, not quarts, but I occasionally do quarts. If I go through the canning process, I want to do enough to be worth the time and effort. I wound up with a pressure canner that can do 8 quarts or 18 pints pressure canning. There are smaller versions.

    There is also a difference in pressure canning and water bath canning. With water bath canning you need to cover the tops of the jars with about 2" of water. You don't need to do that with a pressure canner, so a water bath canner needs to be taller. Mine can do 18 pints pressure canning but only 9 pints if I use the water bath method.
     
  5. peeplessinNC

    peeplessinNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ridgerunner offered a lot of good points! Re: the clogged vent from foaming contents - if you want to cook beans or dried peas, add a tablespoon or two of cooking oil to help keep down the foaming.

    I have a 4 qt. Presto stainless steel pressure cooker and I am mainly cooking for 1-3 people and I make food for my little poodle too. My mom cooked for many, many years with her Presto and never had an accident. Pressure cookers are very safe to use and the "new generation" cookers have many extra features that make them safer and easier to use.

    Get a stainless steel model! Easy to clean and no staining. If I were buying again, I would get a 6 qt. cooker - much better for small household cooking I think.

    Presto is a good brand, good price - Mirro.....not so much. Fagor is also a good brand, more $$$. Kuhn Rikon is good and even more $$$$.

    Presto has the "jiggle" top weighted gauge; Fagor and Kuhn have pop-up indicators for the pressure. Don't be impressed about two pressure cooking (1 and 2 or high and low) - you only really need to cook on high pressure.

    A pressure canner needs to be much larger in size to correctly can. I would get both a 6 qt. cooker and a large canner. Don't try to both can and cook in the same pot. My 4 qt. stainless Presto was about $50 five years ago or so. Worth every penny.

    edit: I would caution against an automatic electric (plug-in) pressure cooker. On the Yahoo Group for pressure cooking, lots of folks were convinced these were a no brainer, but this kind of cooker had way more problems than the stove top brands.

    I'll be happy to share recipes and further help if you want.
    Teresa

    A good web site for the Presto: http://www.pressurecooker-outlet.com/
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2011

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