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Pressure Cookers: 2011 and beyond


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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:41 AM

It's been a few years since we had a pressure cooker topic, so I wanted to get one started here. They're all the rage, something old that's new again.

I've never had one and haven't a clew about what I'd want. What recommendations do people have?
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#2 weinoo

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:52 AM

I really like my Fagor Duo. I just wished I used it more.

The advice I have is pretty much like advice given on lots of kitchen equipment - it's better to get one larger than you think you'll use, because undoubtedly it will come in handy.
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#3 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 07:57 AM

This 10-quart one? Jeepers, no discount even at Amazon.

Can you just grab a used one off eBay, or are you putting your home and body at risk?
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#4 weinoo

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 08:09 AM

I think the new ones are so reasonable that it's not worth getting a used one.

That 10 quart one doubles as a canner, I think, which is a great alternate use. I only have a 6 quart, but we're usually only two.
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#5 alanjesq

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 08:23 AM

I have several pressure cookers and find that Fagor works great. My 15 year old Cuisinart 8 qt is still going strong, but I don't believe they are available any more. I would stay away from an electric PC

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#6 OnigiriFB

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 09:22 AM

Perfect I was just looking at one at Costco's yesterday. I want for Indian dishes like dal, etc. I've been told by a lot of Indians that a pressure is a must have here since we usually don't have 5 servant girls watching the pots. I didn't know you can use it as a canner though... it was cheap at costco. It was either that or one of the new fangled rice cookers from Japan that cost an arm and a leg.

#7 weinoo

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 09:27 AM

Perfect I was just looking at one at Costco's yesterday. I want for Indian dishes like dal, etc. I've been told by a lot of Indians that a pressure is a must have here since we usually don't have 5 servant girls watching the pots. I didn't know you can use it as a canner though... it was cheap at costco. It was either that or one of the new fangled rice cookers from Japan that cost an arm and a leg.



You absolutely can use the Fagor 10-Qt. as a canner...

Fagor'>http://www.amazon.com/Fagor-10-Quart-Pressure-Cooker-Canner/dp/B0000CFH7X']Fagor Duo 10-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
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#8 Darienne

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 09:33 AM

Perfect I was just looking at one at Costco's yesterday. I want for Indian dishes like dal, etc. I've been told by a lot of Indians that a pressure is a must have here since we usually don't have 5 servant girls watching the pots. I didn't know you can use it as a canner though... it was cheap at costco. It was either that or one of the new fangled rice cookers from Japan that cost an arm and a leg.

Can't resist. Just how many servant girls do you have? :raz:
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#9 Anna N

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 09:41 AM

WOW - somebody is reading my mind! I just dragged out one of my pressure cookers - the Lagostina 7 quart. It's a bit different from most PCs in that it has a rather thin stainless lid that fits UNDER the lip of the pot and is anchored there. It's a bit fiddly to get the lid on. I got it, never used and still in its original packing, for $10 at a garage sale a couple of years ago.

Today I intend to make a beef stew. I HAVE to get over my reluctance to use PCs.

I also have a Fagor 6 qt or perhaps a bit more, Rapida, which was abandoned in the recycle room of the last apartment building I lived in. I was just starting to use it when I stupidly put the lid upside down on a still-hot electric coil and melted the plastic parts. It works but I am not happy using it in that condition. Calls to Fagor in the US have got me nowhere - they will NOT ship to Canada!

Both Kerry and I have been eyeing an electric PC so I'm curious as to why the advice to avoid them. They have really come down in price.
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#10 alanjesq

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 12:09 PM

"Both Kerry and I have been eyeing an electric PC so I'm curious as to why the advice to avoid them. They have really come down in price."

alanjesq responds: One of the objects of a pressure cooker is speed. The electric units I had (2 in number) took forever to get to cook pressure. Additionally, a common practice of certain pressure cooks is running water over the lid, for rapid cool down. Neither of my electric pressure cookers recommended that practice. I repeat, rapid cool down is a very common practice. Lastly, while the prices have come down, they are still more expensive than non- electric PC's. They do look neat however. I am sure some folks in need of stove burner space would consider them a good deal. I did not.

#11 DanM

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 06:12 PM

We recieved a Fagor Duo Combi as a wedding gift. It has 4 and 8 qt pots and a glass lid so you can use the pot for regular cooking. I use it on a regular basis and am very happy with the quality.

Dan

Edited by DanM, 23 January 2011 - 06:14 PM.

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#12 Emily_R

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 08:14 PM

So funny - I just purchased a pressure cooker about a week ago... I'd been holding off, but then this sale at Amazon pushed me over the edge.

http://www.amazon.co...95838786&sr=8-1

My first night made a delicious (and insanely speedy) wild mushroom risotto in it... Am testing it out with a chicken paprikash recipe tomorrow...

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#13 mkayahara

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 06:38 AM

I'm in the same boat as Chris: I've never owned a pressure cooker, but between Ideas in Food and Modernist Cuisine, I now firmly believe that I need one.

One interesting thing I came across was this post at Cooking Issues. They point out that many pressure cookers (they name Iwatani and Fagor) allow steam to vent in order to indicate that you're at proper pressure, but this can have a deleterious effect on the flavour of (in their case) your stock. They strongly recommend the Kuhn Rikon brand, which works differently. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me, even if it's a little more expensive. (Incidentally, Kuhn Rikon is the same brand recommended in Modernist Cuisine.)

So the only question I'm facing now, besides how to explain this purchase to my significant other, is what size do I need? My preferred online retailer carries 5-litre, 7-litre and 12-litre sizes. I'm leaning toward the 7-litre; does that sound right?
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#14 Emily_R

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:02 AM

Matthew --

I have a 5-litre (not the KR), and my understanding is that its the bare minimum size you'd want... Remember that you can only fill your pressure cooker about half way full, so 5 litres isn't its actual cooking capacity. Especially if you are looking to do make larger quantitites of stock, I'd definitely go with the 7 litre...

Emily

#15 helenjp

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:03 AM

I bought a Fissler New Vitaquick 4.5 liter (that's just under 5 quarts) quite a few years ago now, and have never fallen out of love with it. The lack of fiddly furniture on top was a big factor, but after several years of use, summer and winter, I don't regret the cost. The size has been convenient - it's as big as I feel comfortable handling, and big enough to handle a whole chicken or a big mess of beans.

I wouldn't muck about with the old balancing weight "jiggler" type...just seems to negate all the good things about pressure cooking, for no advantage.

#16 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:59 AM

Matt, is this the one you're looking at?
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#17 mkayahara

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 08:09 AM

Matt, is this the one you're looking at?

Yeah, that looks like the same model.
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#18 Prawncrackers

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 09:28 AM

Matt I have this Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker, I can highly recommend it. I have to admit that I was swayed to get one because of the endorsement of Heston Blumenthal, he uses them on his In Search of Perfection cooking series. If they're good enough for him! They are simply the best quality so if I were you I wouldn't hesitate to get one.

#19 ermintrude

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 11:31 AM

ANother vote here for Kuhn Rikon they don't vent like other preasure cookers so keep all the flavours inside wish I'd bought a larger one to make more stock. I remember reading that stock made in this is quicker and tasier than made the standard way, but the standrd way is better than a normal preasure cooker (can't find the reference). Not having a standard preasure cooker I can't verify this.

The other advantage of Kuhn Rikon is no messing with weights and very quiet and even if it over preasures no mess just a hiss as excess preasure is released.
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#20 mkayahara

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 11:38 AM

ANother vote here for Kuhn Rikon they don't vent like other preasure cookers so keep all the flavours inside wish I'd bought a larger one to make more stock.

How big is the one you have?
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#21 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 11:52 AM

Yes, exactly. Can people comment on the sizes they have and what they use them for? For example, how much stock can you realistically produce with an X liter pressure cooker? 40-50% of X? 80%?
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#22 MelissaH

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:30 PM

We have a Fagor Futura that came with two pots: 4 qt and 6 qt. We're very happy with both sizes (there's just two of us, so we don't need to make mass quantities).

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#23 emannths

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 05:10 PM

ANother vote here for Kuhn Rikon they don't vent like other preasure cookers so keep all the flavours inside...


Can someone explain this? It can't be true, right? Any extra heat that is inputed into the pressure cooker after it's reached the max pressure is going to make steam, which must be vented to prevent overpressure, right?

Does anyone use the low-pressure setting on the dual-pressure models? What for?

#24 Dianabanana

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:04 PM

Yes, I would love to know what the low pressure setting is used for.

I have the Fagor Rapida. An induction cooktop plus a pressure cooker is a killer combination for the hurried cook--the cooktop brings it up to pressure incredibly fast, then the pressure cooker does its work. Then run it under cold water to quick-release the pressure, and you're done. As noted above, you definitely want to be able to quick-release. I can count on one hand the number of times I've let the pressure come down naturally.

#25 helenjp

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:12 PM

Low pressure - useful for white fish, especially thin fish like sole.

Also for steamed or even blanched vegetables, especially if you have a steamer insert. It's so fast that vegetables stay colorful and flavorful. You can poach fruit on low-pressure too, though that's something I haven't tried.

#26 Emily_R

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:45 PM

I have a 5 liter (6 quart) cooker, and the instructions say it should be filled *no more* than 2/3rds full at the max. When you factor in the space taken up with bones and veggies and whatnot, I'd say the max amount of stock you could make in it would be 3 quarts, and that's probably pushing it -- maybe more like 2.5...

#27 mkayahara

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 06:54 AM


ANother vote here for Kuhn Rikon they don't vent like other preasure cookers so keep all the flavours inside...


Can someone explain this? It can't be true, right? Any extra heat that is inputed into the pressure cooker after it's reached the max pressure is going to make steam, which must be vented to prevent overpressure, right?

Having never owned one, I can't answer this definitively, but the way I read the link I posted above, it sounds like most models of pressure cooker vent when they reach the desired pressure. The Kuhn Rikon, by contrast, simply indicates that it's reached the desired pressure, and you prevent it from going over by moderating the heat. Obviously, if you let the pressure get out of hand, it will eventually vent for safety reasons. At least, that's how I understand it.

Edit: As far as the volume of stock goes, I wonder if the smaller size can be offset by the fact that it takes less time to cook this way. So you may not make as much, but you can make it more often. Heck, it sounds like I could make three batches of pressure-cooked stock back-to-back in the time it would take me to make one batch of stock at atmospheric pressure.

Edited by mkayahara, 04 February 2011 - 07:03 AM.

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#28 Paul Bacino

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 07:50 AM

Ermintrude or anyone,

On the Kuon Rucor.. or on any of the pressure cookers!! How do you know the vent is not clogged by liquids perking through ?

Curious.

This has me interested in one!! I do a fair amount of canning and make all my own stocks usually.. What is a good universal size?

Paul

Edited by Paul Bacino, 04 February 2011 - 07:50 AM.

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#29 mkayahara

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:06 AM

Just to throw another factor into my decision-making process, I just noticed that the 8-litre stockpot-style pressure cooker would be cheaper for me than the 7-litre saucepan-style one. Is there really any difference between the two styles? Or am I really paying less money and getting more volume?
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#30 helenjp

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 08:24 AM

The Fissler pressure cooker that I have has the same kind of spring-loaded pressurizing system. It doesn't release steam constantly the way an old jiggler-type pressure cooker does...but if you overheat it A LOT, you will see steam coming out the quick-release valve on the handle. However, to be honest I've started working and forgotten about turning it down, without having any problems (not that I recommend it!).

I have once or twice allowed the valve to get clogged by cooking several things in succession without cleaning the valve area thoroughly enough. When that happened, the cooker simply failed to come up to pressure...in other words, the error was on the side of safety rather than risk.