At the moment partly because of the plastic packaging issue and the whole issue of sustainability, I aim to sell my house and buy a more sustainable one and try and move back to the more sustainable life that my parents led. I am a great believer in pressure cookers (see my christmas pudding recipe ). I remember my mother doing a lot of cooking in the pressure cooker as a child. She would cook everything from soups and stews to steam vegetables. We were always taught it was cheaper to use the pressure cooker and also it kept it all the goodness particularly Vitamin C in vegetables that was normally lost in boiling.
In those days it was an aluminium prestige pressure cooker which hissed and spit, the one below is todays equivalent but in stainless steel. The modern pressure cooker, is smooth, easy to use and wash and once you get into it really is a joy. The one below is a good starter.
Cooking with a pressure cooker is an art and its worth learning about. In India they tend to use them a lot partly because of the energy savings but also because you can heat them up and leave them and they are great for cooking pulses. The cooker works by trapping the steam produced from boiling the cooking liquid inside the vessel. This causes internal pressure and temperature to rise quickly. After use, the steam is slowly released so that the vessel can be opened safely. Essentially a pressure cooker stimulates slow cooking in a much much shorter time
The pressure cooker I bought, whilst good value seemed a lot more expensive than in my childhood, they weren’t always so, and perhaps there new found popularity has pushed the price up, here is my ideal cooker, also mentioned on the christmas pudding page:
If you really want to get to grips and understand the pressure cooker, from history to the science then I suggest the wiki page here