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Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The truth about Pressure Cookers...

The truth about Pressure Cookers, because fear surrounding pressure cookers and pressure canners can be eliminated! Come and take a tour of my journey about cooking meals in a Pressure Cooker and now canning in a Pressure Canner. From fear to filling our pantry! 

Yesterday I decided to jump into the pressure cooker pool, at the deep end! 

I taught myself how to pressure can chicken meat. While I have been a water bath canner for decades, pressure canning frightened me, quite a lot. There, with that confession out of the way, we can now get to the heart of this post. After almost a decade of cooking in my electric pressure cooker I finally felt confident enough to move on to pressure canning. But for goodness sake, what took me so long? One word. Fear. And I know I am not alone in this fear based thinking about pressure cookers as well as pressure canners. And why I invite you to come and hear a tale about a journey to pressure cook and pressure can without fear. 

My Mom had a Presto brand stainless steel, 4-quart stovetop pressure cooker. 

She used it almost daily. It was the perfect size for cooking potatoes for mashed potatoes, or spaghetti for her favorite sauce. When I was about six and helping in the kitchen, I asked why the lid on that pan didn't fit very good, like the other pans we used. And she explained to me, that it was a pressure cooker, and that sometimes they will blow up if they get too hot. She went on to tell me that she had taken out the seal (gasket) so it would never blow up in her kitchen. That my friends was my introduction to pressure cookers, and the danger that they brought to everyday life. 

  • They don't of course, but once that idea is planted in a six year old mind, it tends to be rooted in quite deep! It took a little over 50 years for me to give pressure cookers another try.

It was the absolute best decision I have ever made. 

Now before I get too carried away patting myself on the back for my heroic efforts, I need to mention that the first electric pressure cooker purchased was not originally used by me when it came home. After I had proudly placed it on the kitchen counter for about a month, my husband took a whirl with it for dinner one day. How lovely! Dinner was waiting for me when I got home from work. And I was not only impressed at how delicious dinner was, but his absolute lack of fear in using that appliance! We had several more dinners from the pressure cooker, all made by my husband before I even picked up the manual. 

  • Electric pressure cookers are practically foolproof, they are the perfect starting point for good food and slaying the fear dragon that you have been packing around for, how many years now?

I did not start out with an Instant Pot. 

I had a reliable electric pressure cooker (EPC)  from a well known manufacturer. I used it often and learned to be proficient with it. In that proficiency I began dropping the layers of fear surrounding the use of pressure cookers. Then one day it simply stopped working. Honestly I did not know at that point if I even wanted a pressure cooker free kitchen! You see I had become that comfortable with using one. From a budget standpoint electric pressure cookers can be expensive. Ironically so are stovetop models, primarily due to the manufacturing specs for strength. This was at the height of the Instant Pot craze. So I waited for a really good sale, and bought one! 

  • The Instant Pot is just a standard electric pressure cooker with pre-programed buttons for things like beans, stew, rice etc. You can choose to use the buttons or choose not to. It's as simple as that. 

Honestly, I rarely use the pre-programed buttons on my Instant Pot, 

Why? The reasons are simple. Often the food I am cooking needs a longer cooking time than the button is programed for. Depending upon where you live, and the elevation at which you live, pressure cooking can take longer for your area. One example is brown rice, I find it needs a longer cooking time than the programed button. Same with many of the buttons. 

I prefer to set the timer and have more control over the cooking process, but honestly use those buttons if you like! Making yogurt is the one button I do use. As you continue to cook in your electric pressure cooker, you will quite simply, become experienced enough to know how long to cook the food, and how long of a standing time is needed before releasing the pressure, to open the lid. And really isn't all successful cooking simply how long to cook and when to serve? And to think I was frightened of this...

And then yesterday happened!

But yesterday I set up a rough cut canning kitchen in the shop we are remodeling so I will have a utility kitchen/laundry room as part of our homestead shared property. And while the photos are not House Beautiful, it was a very good day! I taught myself to pressure can chicken meat. So if you think you cannot get over a fear of pressure cooking, I am here to tell you, that you can! And as it turn out the photos from yesterday have actually been your tour guide for this story, my story about being successful with pressure cooking and now pressure canning.

Thanks so much for joining me today, I appreciate it!

For your convenience, you can now find all of our best Pressure Cooker recipes right here in this linked post. Recipes that are not only delicious, but easy to make. Because life is too short not to pressure cook a delicious meal! 

You may also enjoy: 



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  1. We have a combined slow cooker which can be used as a pressure cooker as well. I've never used a pressure cooker probably because of the 'fear' factor. Thanks for your informative blog and I might try some recipes. Pressure cookers are definitely a fast way of cooking.

    1. You are welcome! Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

  2. I read that you can't safely pressure can meat and low acid in the electric pressure cooker. I'm a water bath canner but looking to do beans, meats tomatoes etc. I'm on the search for a stove top pressure canner. I was also looking at the instapot to do yogurt and canning.

    1. Michelle, thanks to your comment, I did go back and make a small clarifying edit on the introduction paragraph, thank you! I love the pressure cooker for cooking and yes, yogurt making! And no, it is not used for canning. I have a very large stovetop Pressure Canner for processing all food in jars. It is the only method I will use. Thank you so much for stopping my, I appreciate it.

  3. I have an old pressure cooker that I use only to can but it always makes me nervous. No one told me it would explode, I think I just saw one explode in a black and white comedy series once and it stuck with me. Visiting from Crazy Little Lovebirds.

    1. Amy I think I saw the same comedy, and probably thought, "mom was right" thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

  4. I was you a few years ago! I was afraid of the pressure canner, but once I started I realized how incredibly easy it is to do and I haven't looked back! Thanks for sharing your experience! I have started precooking my chicken slightly before canning, just to give it a more browned, less boiled flavor with some seasoning. I've found we really enjoy the flavor more when we open up a jar and use it. Here is a post a wrote about it.

    1. Helen, thank you so much! I went ahead with the cold pack this first time around, but your suggestion is wonderful, thanks!

  5. That's me! I'm scared to death of the pressure cooker. Though my parents used the pressure cooker for many a meal when I was growing up and they were fantastic. But me? I'll talk to you from the next room and be your cheerleader. Lol.
    I appreciate you sharing this great information with Sweet Tea & Friends this month sweet friend.

    1. Paula, I am glad I conquered this issue, canning will be much easier as the seasons go by!

  6. Melynda, thank you for sharing this great information about pressure cookers. You put a lot of people at ease after reading this post. Thank you for sharing it with us at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #23! We hope you will join us again this week. :)

  7. My husband is the one to can in our household! I had mentioned getting an instapot. He instead got the pressure cooker and has done chicken in it safely. So many different food items as well.
    Take care and best wishes.

    1. Debra, how nice! I think a lot of men can, especially if they hunt. I have to admit, I had a bit of a fear hurdle to get over, but I can't wait to fill our pantry shelves. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.


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