We often get asked what kitchen item we couldn't live without in our van. And we always say - our pressure cooker. This simple pan has saved us so much time, money and hunger! Whether you've got a tiny kitchen like us, or have plenty of space, we think you should also make room for a pressure cooker. And here's the reasons why...
1. Pressure cooking is so much quicker!
Risotto in 15 minutes, what kind of magic is that?! Pressure cooker magic that's what. Because a pressure cooker is sealed and under pressure, you can heat up water hotter than in a normal pan.
In a normal pan water can only be heated to 100°C before it evaporates, but in a pressure cooker you can heat water up to around 120°C. The effect on cooking time isn’t linear, so even only cooking food 20 degrees hotter can cook food in a quarter of the time. That is why pressure cooking can be four times quicker!
When you are cooking something like lentils or beans the time saved is enormous. We often make our Vegan Red Lentil Dal in the pressure cooker and it takes just 10 mins from start to finish. It's a lifesaver in hungry times! And gives you more time to enjoy yourselves too...
2. Pressure cooking is more economical
You Need Less Water
When you cook with a pressure cooker, you'll use less water, so it takes less energy to heat up. When cooking rice, for example, you'll need 1.5 times the amount of water to volume of rice, rather than the standard 2 times. The seal means less steam escapes, and so less energy is wasted to heat up the lost water.
You Need Less Energy
Because pressure cookers cook so much quicker, you also need so much less energy. When you are cooking on a gas hob like us, this makes such a huge difference. Using our pressure cooker means we use a lot less gas. Environmentally this means less consumption of a non renewable energy source, YAY! And practically less time fiddling around changing gas bottles, or looking for somewhere that stocks the right one. Double YAY!
You'll Save Money Too
We also save money by not needing to buy so much gas. After just a couple of months we saved as much money on gas as our pressure cooker cost. These beauties pay for themselves! Better for your pocket, and the planet - Are you starting to see why we fell in love with pressure cooking?!
3. Pressure cooking is more nutritious
So we know pressure cooking can save time and money, but is cooking with a pressure cooker healthy?
Don’t the higher temperatures of pressure cooking destroy all the nutrients in the food you are cooking?
Actually scientific studies have shown that it's the opposite. Pressure cooking is one of the best ways to retain nutrients in food. The shorter cooking time helps preserve more vitamins and nutrients. And as the cooking liquid is retained, less of the nutrients are lost.
4. A pressure cooker is much more than just a pan
Most pressure cookers come with a trivet and steamer basket with them. Which means that in addition to making all sorts of delicious pressure cooker meals, you can also make two separate things at once.
You can cook a curry in the base of the pressure cooker, whilst you steam rice on top of it in the steamer basket. By using the steamer insert you can free up valuable hob space, and be super energy efficient cooking two things in one. We love the versatility of our pressure cooker so much - it's the only pan we need in the van.
5. You can make cake in a pressure cooker!
If I haven't yet convinced you why you NEED a pressure cooker in your life, then may I present you with possibly the most compelling reason of all for us - CAKE with no oven required! In a van, tiny house or on a camping trip this is especially handy.
In summary: Pressure Cookers are awesome! Our stovetop pressure cooker was the best thing we bought for our van. Now we can’t imagine everyday cooking without one.
Check out our growing collection of vegan pressure cooker recipes.
Happy (pressure) cooking!
Sophie and Paul