This post was written by Caitlyn Bauer, MS, RDN, LD, clinical dietitian, Parkview Health.
Serve up quick and healthy meals even on busy weeknights with the help of a pressure cooker. The technology behind pressure cookers has greatly improved since the noisy, steam-spitting, rattling pots of old. Here are six great benefits of cooking with a pressure cooker and a recipe you can use to get you started.
Benefits of a pressure cooker
Helps food retain nutrients and taste better
Pressure cooking reduces the cooking time for most foods. This shorter cooking time can result in fewer nutrients being leeched out of food during the cooking process. Put another way, your food keeps more of the nutrients inside. As pressure cookers eliminate evaporation, they trap seasonings and fragrances inside, which keeps more flavor in the food. Pressure cookers also preserve the color of foods when compared to other cooking methods like boiling. The end result is foods that look more appetizing, taste flavorful and contain more healthy nutrients.
Pressure cooker meals tend to be one-pot meals, which makes them both easy and energy-saving. Concentrating the cooking on one pot saves energy over having multiple pots on multiple burners on your stove. Additionally, if you use a closed system pressure cooker like an Instant Pot®, it won’t heat up your kitchen in the summer.
Pressure cookers are big time savers, which is crucial for busy families. Cooking under pressure shortens the cooking time of most foods. That means you can add healthy ingredients to your pressure cooker and it will be done cooking by the time you’ve tidied up the kitchen and set the table.
Cooking with a regular stovetop pot can create cooking residue on the stovetop and surrounding surfaces. From time to time, you might even have to cleanup a boil over. But with a pressure cooker, all the cooking is contained to one vessel with a secured lid, so there’s only one pot to wash at the end of the night.
One appliance, many functions
Pressure cookers are also used in canning foods to eat later. This makes them a great, dual-use appliance for gardeners, hunters and others who enjoy preserving food by canning. Large model pressure cookers are designed for this dual functionality and can hold many jars at once.
Safe to use
Modern pressure cookers, including the electronic push-button ones and the stovetop variety, are very safe to use. They have locking systems that prevent the lid from coming off during pressurizing. When using the quick release, make sure to keep your face away from the path of the steam. It can be helpful to use a towel over the steam as well, to prevent it from getting to your ceiling.
Ready to try a pressure cooker out for yourself? Try out this recipe for Healthy Pressure Cooker White Chicken Chili from The Creative Bite. Find more recipes and inspiration for healthy eating on Parkview’s Pinterest.