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Pressure Cookers: 2011 and beyond


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#31 sparrowgrass

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 11:53 AM

I work for University of Missouri Extension--my office spends a lot of time answering canning questions. According to USDA, if you want to use a pressure cooker for canning, it must be large enough to hold at least 4 standard quart jars. The reason: timing, not only temperature, is considered for canning recipes. If you use a smaller pressure cooker, it will not take enough time to heat the contents to the proper temperature. Just trying to keep you all safe!!

University of Georgia's canning website--everything you need to know to can safely!!

If you want to can--go for the big canners. They hold 7 quart jars, and if you want to make stock, you have enough room to make a decent batch. Mine holds 16 quarts of water, so you have 8 or 9 quarts of space for stock, when you fill it half full. There are double decker canners that will hold 14 quart jars--don't know the capacity of those.
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#32 technophile50

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 12:48 PM

I've got an old SEB that looks a lot like this one, and one of these.

The SEB has a weight with three holes, that lets you choose low, medium, and high pressures; when it starts venting, I just turn down the heat until it just quits venting. I check it by touching the weight; if its almost at pressure, the lightest touch will cause it to vent.

It would be easy to mount a replacement gage for the All-American to any pressure cooker. Drill & tap a hole for the gage, and seal it with teflon pipe tape. If the lid is too thin to seal well, put a backing nut sealed with silicone rubber aquarium cement(its non toxic - anything leaching out would kill the fish) on the stem. You could then adjust the heat to achieve any ventless pressure you wanted below the venting pressure, and the weight vent would act as a safety relief.

#33 DerekW

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 11:11 PM

Another happy Kuhn Rikon user here. We have something like this set and all the parts get regular use - the glass lid is useful for seeing what's going on while bringing up to temperature, the small pan does a great pressure braise and is an effective saute pan, while the larger pan makes stock from a couple of good sized poultry carcases, or meals for six. I haven't found myself wishing for a larger size, but I'm rarely cooking for large numbers - more a case of cooking for the freezer, and if needed we do have big conventional stockpots.

mkayahara's understanding of the KR vent system is essentially correct.

#34 andiesenji

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 01:00 PM

I don't know if this really fits in this topic but a new appliance, combining a pressure cooker and a smoker will be available in a couple of weeks.

Today's email from Hammacher Schlemmer touted "the best two slice toaster" and when I went to the web page there were other appliances, one of which was this.

"The Only Indoor Pressure Smoker."

Sounds intriguing, doesn't it?

Edited by andiesenji, 06 February 2011 - 01:01 PM.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett
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#35 ermintrude

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 02:03 PM

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 ?


The Kuhn Rikon uses a spring loaded valve, as the pressure inside increases the valve is pushed up against the resistance of the spring. When 1 red bar is showing the pressure is >=5PSI when 2 red bands are showing the pressure is 15PSI by regulating the heat the correct pressure is obtained without venting steam. If heat is not regulated eventually the spring valve will reach the position where it will start to vent. In addition for extra safety there is a secondary valve that will vent if maximum pressure is exceeded. The Kuhn Rikon website may help in understanding how this works

This page How is the DUROMATIC pressure cooker different from my Grandmother's? from thier FAQ also gives a good explanation

And finally, to answer your question "How do you know the vent is not clogged by liquids perking through" unless you go over pressure then there is no venting of liquids so the vent will not clog. If it does vent due to over pressure or overfilling then you need to clean the valve

Also I found the blog where they looked how different pressure cookers changed the results when making stock HERE

Hope that helps
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#36 roygon

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 02:09 PM

I have a Pressure Cooker question I'd love some feedback on. I had never used a pressure cooker or even seen one being used other than through edited video clips but after reading enough great things about them I took the plunge and bought a Kuhn Rikon 12qt Family style stockpot pressure cooker last week.

What I expected based on this being a higher end pressure cooker was that it would be relatively quiet, at least once it hits the right pressure, and that it would hold pressure on a lowish flame. My expectation was based on what I've read, not seen so I'm not exactly sure if I have a real problem or just a problem with expectations.

What I have experienced in my two attempts (chicken stock at 1 red line and baby back ribs at the 2nd red line so high pressure) was that there was a slightly loud steamy noise throughout the entire cooking process that was loud enough to hear upstairs or pretty much anywhere in my home if I listened carefully. Once it hit pressure the sound never went away - in fact nothing really changed. Some steam was visible but not a whole lot and there was a little bit of water spitting out from under that plate that surrounds the pressure valve. I had to keep the heat at medium high to keep high pressure - if I lowered it to low or medium low it would quickly lose pressure. This is a Viking Professional range so low heat seems like it should have been ok. Does this all sound relatively normal or should I be returning it / cleaning the valve / something else? Could it be because the PC is very large? I so clean and reseat the gasket each time making sure it is in right but same issue.

Thanks,
rg

#37 Anna N

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:01 PM

Well after years of owning two or more pressure cookers and rarely making use of them, I am a convert. In the past I have on occasion tried to get over my fear of something that sounds like a boiler about to explode but the fear factor usually won after one or two attempts at cooking something. But now I have found the perfect pairing – pressure cooker + induction hob! The pressure comes up very quickly and then is easily controlled by the precision of induction. No more sounds of an imminent explosion. I can maintain the pressure easily with almost no escaping steam. In addition, the ability to set the induction hob timer means an extra level of safety as the heat source will shut off at the set time.

Presently I am using the Lagostina with the thin stainless lid that locks under the rim of the vessel and have turned out a number of chicken stocks and a very presentable beef stew. I want to expand my repertoire though and am hoping that all the pressure cooker owners who have contributed to this topic will share their favourite recipes and uses for this appliance.

I know one can google for recipes and that there are sites devoted to pressure cooking but they are not all that reliable and I prefer to hear from other eG members about their successes.
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#38 Paul Kierstead

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:19 PM

What I expected based on this being a higher end pressure cooker was that it would be relatively quiet, at least once it hits the right pressure, and that it would hold pressure on a lowish flame. My expectation was based on what I've read, not seen so I'm not exactly sure if I have a real problem or just a problem with expectations.


It is always hard to line up expectations and your experience with what "should" happen. First, go look at this video and pop forward to about 3:30. When people say the KR is very quiet and doesn't put out steam, that is what they are comparing to.

On the low-heat thing, it may well be due to the size of the cooker; 12 qt is pretty good. Compare your experience with the video, and you should get an idea if you are much much quieter and less steamy then that. If not, then your cooker could be defective (but it isn't likely, but of course not at all impossible)

#39 Anna N

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:32 PM


What I expected based on this being a higher end pressure cooker was that it would be relatively quiet, at least once it hits the right pressure, and that it would hold pressure on a lowish flame. My expectation was based on what I've read, not seen so I'm not exactly sure if I have a real problem or just a problem with expectations.


It is always hard to line up expectations and your experience with what "should" happen. First, go look at this video and pop forward to about 3:30. When people say the KR is very quiet and doesn't put out steam, that is what they are comparing to.

On the low-heat thing, it may well be due to the size of the cooker; 12 qt is pretty good. Compare your experience with the video, and you should get an idea if you are much much quieter and less steamy then that. If not, then your cooker could be defective (but it isn't likely, but of course not at all impossible)

WOW - that is the style of pressure cooker I have and mine is nowhere near as noisy or as steamy. It is only necessary to keep the pressure indicator "popped up" to maintain pressure. I think this lady is trying to make her new technology pressure cooker sound and act like the old kind with the jiggling weight.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#40 roygon

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 05:13 PM


What I expected based on this being a higher end pressure cooker was that it would be relatively quiet, at least once it hits the right pressure, and that it would hold pressure on a lowish flame. My expectation was based on what I've read, not seen so I'm not exactly sure if I have a real problem or just a problem with expectations.


It is always hard to line up expectations and your experience with what "should" happen. First, go look at this video and pop forward to about 3:30. When people say the KR is very quiet and doesn't put out steam, that is what they are comparing to.

On the low-heat thing, it may well be due to the size of the cooker; 12 qt is pretty good. Compare your experience with the video, and you should get an idea if you are much much quieter and less steamy then that. If not, then your cooker could be defective (but it isn't likely, but of course not at all impossible)


Thanks for the feedback, mine is very loud. Comparable to that youtube video, maybe louder. I just did a test where I put in 4 cups of water, brought to high pressure then lowered the heat slightly to keep it so that the second red line was just completely visible and let it "cook" for 10 minutes. I did a quick release using the button / valve and when I remeasured there was just under 2 cups remaining... That explains why my ribs burnt after all liquids evaporated a couple of days ago! Maybe I'm doing something horribly wrong but it seems pretty simple. Make sure the gasket is in properly, put in the water, seal the lid, bring to high pressure and set timer. I got a response from Kuhn Rikon support and they said "It's also possible that butanes need to be lowered, I have had this happen to other customers with professional gas ranges."??

Unless someone has some other ideas I'll have to bring this back and get it replaced I suppose.

Thanks,
rg

#41 Anna N

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 06:12 PM

....

Unless someone has some other ideas I'll have to bring this back and get it replaced I suppose.

Thanks,
rg


It sounds to me as if you are keeping the heat too high. Once it has reached pressure it should need very little to keep it there. If you are losing 50% of your water in 10 mins then something is wrong either with the vessel or with the heat level. I would test it again with 4 cups of water and keep lowering the heat until the pressure level drops. Note where that is in relation to your heat level and then try again with just a bit more heat until you discover the perfect heat level to maintain the pressure but nothing more. I hope you get more suggestions from others who have much more experience with pressure cookers than I have.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#42 roygon

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 06:56 PM

It sounds to me as if you are keeping the heat too high. Once it has reached pressure it should need very little to keep it there.


I think that's at the core of the problem. If I drop the heat below medium-high the pressure drops almost immediately so i need to keep the heat cranked up to keep high pressure which then evaporates the cooking liquid making it even harder to keep pressure. Difficulty holding pressure sounds like a leak problem I guess? I wish I knew more about these things but I think I'm getting closer to a solution.

One other thing I noticed is that under the protection cap there is a lot of liquid accumulating. I tried the pressure cook water test again but with the cap off to see if I could spot the leak and the water and steam is escaping through the small holes all around the metal casing (valve socket) well before the pressure cap even gets to the first red line or even starts moving.

Thanks for all of the help and info
rg

Edited by roygon, 07 February 2011 - 07:54 PM.


#43 Luke

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 01:45 AM

I second the Fagor Duo...Love my pressure cooker.

Black Eyed Peas, Beans, Chickpeas are all regular meals. It's hard to believe how quick they cook!

Stock - just awesome to make stock with this....

But the real eye opener is making curry. You can get the meat super tender but still complete and not falling apart.

Luke

#44 helenjp

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:43 AM

A thought about size: I bought a 4.5 liter size (4-5 quarts,is that?) because I thought that was the largest I could deal with in a Japanese-sized kitchen. If I'd been in a western country, I might have bought a larger size, but I'm glad I didn't. I don't really want to make gallons and gallons of stock to get old and tasteless in the freezer - one good thing about the pressure cooker is that making a fresh, tasty stock only takes 40-60 minutes tops.

#45 Anna N

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:08 AM

A thought about size: I bought a 4.5 liter size (4-5 quarts,is that?) because I thought that was the largest I could deal with in a Japanese-sized kitchen. If I'd been in a western country, I might have bought a larger size, but I'm glad I didn't. I don't really want to make gallons and gallons of stock to get old and tasteless in the freezer - one good thing about the pressure cooker is that making a fresh, tasty stock only takes 40-60 minutes tops.

You make an excellent point, Helen. We tend to get into a thought rut about stock since it used to take a long time, we felt the need to make gallons. With a pressure cooker that does not make nearly as much sense.
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#46 kbjesq

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:49 AM

Another fan of PCs here. I started many years ago with my ancestors' Presto (with the jiggly top) and then graduated to the Fagor Combi Set when the price dropped so low that I couldn't resist. However, after moving to a house with a very powerful gas cooktop, I found it necessary to constantly adjust the flame to maintain the desired pressure, which was bothersome. Consequently, the PCs fell into disuse.

Recently, however, due to a sale at Amazon, I found myself the owner of this electric pressure cooker by Cuisinart. I was hesitant at first due to the bad reputation of electric pressure cookers, but was pleasantly surprised at the speed with which this appliance heats up. It has saute, simmer and "keep warm" functions that actually work quite well. And the best part is that you literally put the ingredients in, select the desired pressure setting, and start the timer. Constant attention to the flame is not required.

It is not the largest PC available, and could not be used for canning, but I think that most home cooks would be quite satisfied with its performance. I use it regularly to prepare dried beans, soups, stock, and stews.

#47 Miranda

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 06:14 PM

I’m something of a pressure cooker addict. I have, um, eight or is it nine of them. I don’t use the large ones much any more as I have trouble dealing with their weight when full, but totally agree for stocks etc. And for doing that turkey recipe from Mexico: the beautiful, where it is wrapped in spices, avocado leaves and co, cooked, then served sliced with an orange based dressing. {sorry, doing that from memory}.

So, I downsized to the small 2.5L, 3 L and 4.5L versions that are ideal for dinner. Curries, stews etc in one, and rice in the other. Not being one to follow instructions well, I now combine all of it in one cooker. Make sure you use the trivet in the bottom as pressure cookers go from nearly cooked to horribly burned in a flash.

For a curry or meat dishes, I mix the paste with nearly boiling water or stock [cuts down on cooking time] put in the rice and meat, hard veges like potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, bring to pressure, cook for five minutes, let cool, add fresh veges and herbs and eat. {yes, I know I lose flavour by not frying the paste, but I’m often not well enough to do that.]

For pasta, I ignore the instruction to say I shouldn’t, add pasta, boiling water or stock, olives, anchovies, tomato paste, if using, dried herbs, small amount of sugar [I’m told tomatoes need it!] mushrooms, etc etc. Bring to pressure, pay attention to how it is going and cook for two, no more than three minutes. Let cool down, then do further pasta things to it and eat. One gets that wonderful concentrated pasta water this way

For ‘risottos’, use the trivet and add rice and stock and whatever. I make a Japanese ‘risotto’ by adding different seaweeds, especially kombu, black sesame seeds, soy, ginger, dried shitake mushrooms, mirin etc. bring to pressure, cook for five minutes, let cool then add miso, fish, etc. Not great on the aesthetic side for a Japanese dish, but tastes good.

I even make up meals that Dexter the Airedale and I can share. This is where the Kuhn Rikon ‘frypan’ model is very useful. If I’m making, say, a Middle Eastern Tagine, I leave his side without too many spices and have them on my side of the pan.

So, I have:
Kuhn Rikon 2.5L fryer braiser–Excellent and such a great design
Silit set of 4.5L and 3L, and a 2.5L in yellow [!]. these are excellent and have a non-stick interior so even more points for that.
Scanpan 6L good, not great.
Magefesa a well-known Spanish brand, 6L and 8L very good for the price,
Fissler, two 3L and a 6L excellent as you would expect, but they no longer make the seals for the smaller ones, which partially explains why a few new smaller ones have followed me home.
I had some arcosteel cheapies with the weight on top. They always worked well. I have given them away to friends.

Hope this is of some help. And I hope you are not too horrified at some of the short cuts and compromises I take!

Edited by Miranda, 15 February 2011 - 06:15 PM.


#48 LindaK

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 08:36 AM

Between this topic and the discussion in the "Cooking with 'Modernist Cuisine'" of using pressure cooking for stocks, I think it's time that I overcome my outdated fear of pressure cookers. Thanks for all the good information.

This comment caught my eye:

However, after moving to a house with a very powerful gas cooktop, I found it necessary to constantly adjust the flame to maintain the desired pressure, which was bothersome.

There's also been mention of using heat diffusers when using gas stoves. Is that generally recommended? Do they solve the problem mentioned above? Or do I simply use my simmer burner rather than one of my high-BTU burners?


 


#49 Anna N

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 09:09 AM

Between this topic and the discussion in the "Cooking with 'Modernist Cuisine'" of using pressure cooking for stocks, I think it's time that I overcome my outdated fear of pressure cookers. Thanks for all the good information.

This comment caught my eye:

However, after moving to a house with a very powerful gas cooktop, I found it necessary to constantly adjust the flame to maintain the desired pressure, which was bothersome.

There's also been mention of using heat diffusers when using gas stoves. Is that generally recommended? Do they solve the problem mentioned above? Or do I simply use my simmer burner rather than one of my high-BTU burners?


I totally understand your reluctance to use a pressure cooker. I have finally got over mine! But one of the things that really helped me was using a portable induction hob as it is so easy to control the heat under the pressure cooker. They are available for under $100 and I am certain that if you do decide to go that route you will be using for much more than the pressure cooker. Of course, you need to make sure you have an induction-ready pressure cooker, i.e., NOT an aluminum one. As a bonus, most come with a timer so that once you have reached pressure and are maintaining it, you can set the induction hob to turn itself off - an added safety feature.

For someone whose pressure cooker(s) collected dust for more than 10 years I now find myself using one two or more times a week.

Just a thought for you to consider.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#50 roygon

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 10:34 AM


It sounds to me as if you are keeping the heat too high. Once it has reached pressure it should need very little to keep it there.


I think that's at the core of the problem. If I drop the heat below medium-high the pressure drops almost immediately so i need to keep the heat cranked up to keep high pressure which then evaporates the cooking liquid making it even harder to keep pressure. Difficulty holding pressure sounds like a leak problem I guess? I wish I knew more about these things but I think I'm getting closer to a solution.

One other thing I noticed is that under the protection cap there is a lot of liquid accumulating. I tried the pressure cook water test again but with the cap off to see if I could spot the leak and the water and steam is escaping through the small holes all around the metal casing (valve socket) well before the pressure cap even gets to the first red line or even starts moving.

Thanks for all of the help and info
rg


Turns out the main valve was damaged right out of the box. I recorded a video and sent to Kuhn Rikon so they could see it and they had me send it back and took care of it right away. I'm loving making quick stocks, ribs, soups etc in the pressure cooker and can't wait until Modernist Cuisine arrives so I can broaden my PC repertoire

rg

#51 MarkIsCooking

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 02:44 PM

Looks like a better discount is now available through Amazon:

Click here.
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#52 pazzaglia

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 01:35 AM

I'm a little late to the party, since I recently re-discovered my eGullet account!

On stovetop vs. electric...
Yes, electrics are all over the map on their "standard" pressure (mostly lower, thusly taking longer to cook and regular pressure cooker temperatures and though some are below the "standard" 15 PSI there are three brands that are not (Woflgang Puck, Nesco and Cook's Essentials).

As someone mentioned, the biggest disadvantage of electrics is the inability to do a quick (20 second) open that stops the pressure cooking immediately (for steaming veggies and fish). This opening method also prevents you from having to release vapor through the valve - an important consideration when cooking with foamy foods such as grains, beans, and alcohol (for example a 100% alcohol braise or poace) - which can either shoot out super-heated liquid or block the valve when you are releasing pressure through the valve.

Another drawback to electrics, is that they all have an interior insert with a non-stick coating (except for Instapot which has a stainless steel insert)- which is tricky for using accessories and delicate (if the coating is shot the whole pressure cooker is shot and you have to get a new insert) - I recommend using silicone steamer baskets and forms for these types of pressure cookers.

Of course, their advantage is that they automatically regulate the heat and pressure and start counting the cooking time from the time it reaches pressure. Heat regulation on stovetops pressure cookers turns off some people because there is a learning curve and a little bit of fiddling involved until you discover how low the heat can go without loosing pressure - usually by two recipes in, you've got it! They are starting to take care of this with Langostina's new Articook and Fissler's Vitavit Edition - which feature a little timer you can attach to the pressure cooker which begins counting down the cooking time from the time it reaches pressure -- I haven't seen them myself but their websites claim that they can do much more, including letting you know when the sealing ring needs to be replaced.

On Sizes and their uses
Most published pressure cooker recipes, and my own, are written for a 5L pressure cooker. Actually, they under-shoot it a bit to make sure you don't go over the maximum line (my risotto recipe, for example, can be doubled and still fit in a 5l).

1-2qt -"small frypan" Good for making sauces. Because of their small size, they reach pressure faster (but also cook less food). Great for one person.

3-4qt - "large frypan" Great for cooking meat because of the larger surface area in direct contact with the heat from the stovetop. Great for two people.

5-8qt - "braisers" Most recommended size for beginners, great for stews, soups, chilis, ect. If you can only afford one pressure cooker, this is the one you should start with (the other two can come later). Great for a family of 4-6.

10qt and above -"pressure cooker canners" Because of their size, these pressure cookers can also be used as canners, and are what you see in all the cooking shows (Top Chef, Next Iron chef, ect.) because of their increased capacity. I would caution use in the home unless the cook has actually seen and examined these pots because they are very heavy while empty, and can be tricky to fit in the average sink under the spout for a quick-open.

What I've got...
Posted Image
Plus a couple of extra Fissler models, not pictured, that I just received to try out and tell them what I think.


So glad to see increased interest in pressure cooking and I look forward to participating in the discussions!

Ciao,

L

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!


#53 Genkinaonna

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 08:24 PM

Lookit you! You're the queen of the pressure cooker people! What's your favorite brand for the 5-8 qt range? I'm trying to get over my fear of pressure cookers and value the opinions of my fellow Egulleteers much more than those reviewers at amazon.com...
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#54 pazzaglia

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 10:39 PM

Lookit you! You're the queen of the pressure cooker people! What's your favorite brand for the 5-8 qt range? I'm trying to get over my fear of pressure cookers and value the opinions of my fellow Egulleteers much more than those reviewers at amazon.com...


Someone else already owns the "Pressure Cooking Queen" title, but thank you ; )

I just run a campaign against brown, runny, uninspiring foods coming from the pressure cooker and hope to save the world, taste buds and time one recipe at a time!

If money is no object and you want the best quality, I say go with a Fissler (their Vitaquick is the one on the top left with the blue dot on the top). It's their new model, the Vitaquick, coming out later this year. These are the densest, heaviest, most well-made pans. You get top materials and German craftsmanship - everything is made in their German factory. Cooking in their pans is like driving a Mercedes, they've thought of things you didn't even think you needed - like being able to remove the handle with greasy or wet fingers so that the top can go in the dishwasher. The stainless steel is something to be marveled - I often call it "low-stick" but theirs is so finely ground and heat so well distributed it is as close to non-stick as I've ever seen a stainless steel pan get. It is truly a joy to cook in and, when I don't rotate my pans for photographing I'm always using their Vitavit Premium for my family cooking (that model is only available in Europe right now - don't know if they will be bringing it to the U.S.)

I would be remiss in not mentioning Kuhn Rikon - also very good with stunning design, but their minimalist features are not for everyone. Also a great premium investment. They have a new budget model that is in the $100 range, the Ecomatic, I have not seen it so I cannot comment.

Speaking of buget we go to the Fagors. They have a premium model the "Futuro" which has a very nice pressure-release valve. You just twist it and walk away instead of standing there and pushing a button for two minutes. However, you do get what you pay for. The top cannot go in the dishwasher - and needs to disassemble regularly by removing four screws to get clean. The stainless steel is also a bit more "sticky" and takes a little extra work to get clean.

The three manufacturers mentioned above have each sent me a pressure cooker to use - and each pressure cooker has had to go a two-week round of testing to be used and photographed on my website - I run them through a set of recipes that test the pressure cooker's ability to reach and maintain pressure and be able to do all the other things pressure cookers should do well: brown, braise, steam, ect.

In the end, to quote my pressure cooking colleague, The Veggie Queen, "They all get you there!" All brands will pressure cook - no matter what the brand, name or quality. So... my most general recommendations for any brand are:
  • Spring Valve - This is the latest technology and it won't fill your kitchen with steam and the sounds of steam engine pistons firing once every minute or two. My older "first generation" pressure cooker terroized my husband and children.
  • Stainless Steel - Don't compromise. There are some aluminum pressure cookers out there that are cheap (I see one offered on amazon all the time for under $30 but the base is aluminum)- they discolor, easily get pitted and mis-shapen and react with foods (if you never cook with lemon, tomato and wine - then the last part won't be a problem). Also, avoid non-stick coatings for the reasons I mentioned above for Electrics - they never play well with meat that actually needs browning.
  • Two pressure Settings - "High" for meats, legumes and anything dense that needs a long time to cook, and "Low" for veggies, fish, eggs (I have instructions for those coming in April) and other delicate things - some pressure cookers have a switch to select the pressure settings, some will show you one to two rings to let you know it has reached a pressure setting.
  • Stovetop - It is just more flexible (in terms of what and how you can cook in it) and less delicate, plus you get to use the base for regular cooking, too!

And lastly, if you can get a set with a matching small fry/sauce pan (they are usually two bases that share the same pressure cooking top)- you won't regret it! I always use my little pan for making pasta sauces, prepping veggies for other recipes, ect. If not, 5-8 quarts is a good starting point and very versatile.

Ciao and happy shopping!

L

Edited by pazzaglia, 16 March 2011 - 10:44 PM.

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!


#55 Genkinaonna

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 11:00 PM

I took the plunge and bought the Fissler set with the smaller and larger pots...damn Amazon and their one click ordering. So now I need some "go to" basic recipes to make my husband not want to permanently block my internet access :huh:
If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

#56 pazzaglia

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 11:51 PM

I took the plunge and bought the Fissler set with the smaller and larger pots...damn Amazon and their one click ordering. So now I need some "go to" basic recipes to make my husband not want to permanently block my internet access :huh:


Wow.. that was quick! If you got the Blue Point, just note that they do not yet have the removable handles (the new Vitaquick coming out do), but you will not disappointed!

I have a Pressure Cooking Boot Camp of sorts - much more fun and tasty. It's a set of very detailed recipes to teach you how to use your new pressure cooker(s):

Hip Beginner Basics
http://www.hippressu...ssure-cook.html

At the end of the month I will also have a "whole pressure cooked" chicken recipe made in the 6.4 quart Blue Point. 10 minutes to brown, 20 minutes to pressure cook. Fully cooked chicken in about 30 minutes! Here is a preview that I gave on twitter (just browned waiting to be pressure cooked):
https://picasaweb.go...856906664255842

Have fun!

L

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!


#57 avaserfi

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:11 AM

I've been saving up for a pressure cooker recently and am getting ready to pull the trigger. From most of my research I have seen that the Kuhn Rikon is considered the top of the line cooker while the Fagor duo comes in number two. I have been planning on getting the 10 quart duo which costs about $100 since I started saving, but have recently started reading about the Rikon which comes in at 7 quarts and costs about $220.

Through my searching I have read that Modernist Cuisine recommends the Rikon as does the team over at Cooking Issues because it will not vent at cooking pressure which means it heats up more quickly, preserves volatile compounds from escaping and does not have as much evaporation during long cooking.

From what I can tell a pressure cooker should last me pretty much forever which means I don't want to regret buying something because I was in a rush. Is the Rikon really that much better than the Fagor even though it is significantly smaller? Or are these differences more theoretical and not as important in practice?

Thanks

Edited by avaserfi, 06 April 2011 - 11:16 AM.

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#58 rob1234

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:17 AM

You could also check out Fissler. I just bought a blue point 8.5Qt last week. It shouldn't vent like the Rikon and the two reviews I've read of people that owned both Fissler and Rikon they preferred the Fissler. I haven't used it myself yet though.

Edited by rob1234, 06 April 2011 - 11:18 AM.


#59 Genkinaonna

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:19 AM

I have a Fissler blue point I bought a couple of weeks ago. I LOVE it...I've used it 4x in the past two weeks for soup, chicken, etc. It's made so well, everything comes apart to be washed, and it's so quiet. It's more expensive, but like you said, you should only have to buy it once.
If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

#60 avaserfi

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 02:37 PM

I had read some about the Fissler, but not much. They don't seem very popular or common in the States. What does it offer over the Rikon and Fagor? I'm still not sure I understand what the Rikon offers over the Fagor. It is smaller, and more expensive, but might allow for better flavors?
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