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Top 5 Pressure Cookers for Quick and Easy Meals

Posted on by admin | in Housekeeping

Pressure cookers have been around since 1938, but many people are still intimidated by them because in the past there were problems with them exploding.  Pressure cookers speed up the cooking time of food by cooking it under pressure.  Newer models have added safety features to reduce the chances of an explosion actually happening.  By using a pressure cooker you can cook dinner two-thirds faster than in a regular pan on top of the stove, allowing you to get healthy meals to the table faster.

Two types of pressure cookers are on the market, the stovetop models and the stand-alone models.  Each type works in a similar manner, but do offer different features.  The stovetop models cook the food faster, are easy to clean and take up less storage room.  The stand-alone models offer digital readouts on cooking time, do not require babysitting, and some double as a slow cooker.

  1. Fagor Futuro 6-qt. Pressure Cooker- The Fagor received high marks from Good Housekeeping and Consumer Search.  It has a sleek design with two short handles like a Dutch oven instead of a long handle like a saucepan.  According to testing done by Good Housekeeping, the Fagor was able to cook beef stew from raw ingredients to finished product in 51 minutes.  Fagor boasts a quick release function that will reduce the 51 minutes to 40 minutes.  A vegetable steam basket is included.  Hand wash only.  Price- $140
  2. Imusa 5-qt. Electric- Good Housekeeping chose the Imusa as the best electric pressure cooker.  This pressure cooker will also work as a slow cooker or a rice steamer giving you three appliances for the price of one.  There is a delay-start function so that you can program it to have dinner ready when you get home.  This unit made beef stew in 52 minutes with the quick release feature.  Hand wash only.  Price- $100
  3. Presto 6-qt. Stainless Steel- This budget friendly model took top marks for quality from consumers according to Consumer Search.  The lid automatically locks for safety so there is no need to worry about whether you got it locked properly or not.  To release the pressure you must run the cooker under cold water because it does not have a quick release valve.  You can buy a vegetable steamer basket separately.  This unit does not have a low pressure setting.  The Presto does come with a 12 year warranty which is the longest of any brand. Price- $50
  4. Tramontina 6-qt 18/10 Stainless Steel- The Tramontina scored high marks for fastest cooking.  This model was able to attain top pressure and release pressure faster than any other model.  Fork tender beef stew was ready to eat in 31 minutes using this pressure cooker.  Being a stovetop model the Tramontina doesn’t take up a lot of space when storing.  Price- $130
  5. Cuisinart 6-qt. Electric- Consumer Research scored this electric pressure cooker with top marks from consumers.  This model is one of the only pressure cookers that has a removable liner that is dishwasher safe.  Good Housekeeping rated this model easiest to clean.  Its programmable features include browning, warming, simmering, sautéing and start timer.  With two pressure settings it allows you to cook vegetables at a lower level so as to not overcook them.  There is a quick release valve which allows you to save time getting food to the table.  Price- $100

Tips- Larger pressure cookers, that are 6-qt. or larger, work well for canning and preserving food for later use.

Be sure to read the directions on your pressure cooker prior to using it to avoid misuse and accidents.  New pressure cookers have many built in safety features that reduce the chance of an accident occurring.

Pressure cookers are experiencing a resurgence in popularity.  Busy families want to eat together, but who has time to spend making a big dinner every night.  With a pressure cooker you can make meals that used to take 2 to 3 hours in 30 to 60 minutes.  An added bonus? Many complete meals can be made in the single pot, which makes for a super easy dinner clean up.

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