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Old 27-05-2016, 06:00   #1
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Lets revisit pressure cookers

I have been reading the old posts on pressure cookers. I am seeking opinions about them as a sailboat is not a professional reviewers test kitchen!

I want to replace my "starter pot" which is a super basic Hawkins aluminum 5 qt. I bought it learn to use a pressure cooker and I discovered I really like using it. But it has a few issues I want to address.

1. It has no pressure indicator. You go by sound and frequency of pressure release. Thats ok but its a lot of guess work

2. When the pressure releases there is a lot of steam. Especially the first blast. Kind of messy and probably too much moisture for a boat.

Those two are my biggest issues. But I do love the simplicity too. Nothing to break!

Im looking at pots by wmf and kuhn rikon at the moment. But I wonder if they arevreally worth the price?

Also the wmf has electronics in the handle to emit various tones, Im thinking this feature, while nice, will just die on a boat. Do you have one of these? Did the tone feature hold up?

Reviwers seem to like both these pots but the extra safety features seem to create more to break and maintain. Still, if I want the features I want, I will have to accept that there will be more complexity.

I guess Im really wondering if these top end pressure cookers are really better than Fagor or other middle of the road cookers?
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Old 27-05-2016, 06:38   #2
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

We've had both the very elaborate and the very simple pressure cookers and, basically, found no meaningful difference in their performance. Frankly, the 5qt. Presto SS model has held up best and works very well and replacement parts (seals, jiggler) are easily obtainable. Note also, the relatively small amount of steam that escapes from the units in use, given the relatively short periods involved, isn't meaningful except, perhaps, in very cold weather vis-a-vis condensation (of course, one can always crack a hatch, no?).

FWIW...
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Old 27-05-2016, 06:45   #3
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

Hawkins is an India made pressure cooker. These work by 'whistling' which is a dramatic release of pressure, periodically.

You count the 'whistles' to know how long to cook food.

I have a Prestige, similar to Hawkins. Best thing since sliced bread IMO. Nothing to go wrong, parts are available (Amazon) Third-world design: simple, effective.

Guess no longer on how many whistles (3min/whistle on average). Here's yer sign:
India's Whistling Pressure Cookers

Tough meats, about 5-7 whistles
Dal/beans: 3-5 whistles

I almost always quick-release (in the cockpit). As far as liking the Indian style...I got rid of a Fagor to replace with a Prestige, and now have 3 Prestige cookers

If you're on facebook, there is a "Pressure Cooking On Boats" group run by Mary Ritenour which is an excellent resource. Also reference the "Hip Pressure Cooking" site, and google "indian pressure cooker" for other infos on Hawkins and Prestige brands
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Old 27-05-2016, 06:46   #4
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kuhn-Rikon-...ressure+cooker

I have the 6 litre version of the Kuhn Rikon in the above link. I've been using it several times a week for the last two weeks and it still functions as new, in fact I had to check when I bought it as it is still 'new' to me!

I previously had a Swan aluminium model (died when I could no longer get the gaskets) and a Prestige Smartplus. The Kuhn Rikon is far superior to both. It has a plunger that lifts as pressure is achieved with two red lines which indicate high and low pressure. Fast release is by pouring cold water over the pan or pressing down on the plunger (whilst being careful not to burn yourself with the steam). In use there is little steam produced. The gaskets are silicone so last well.

If I had to replace it, it would be with the same make.
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Old 27-05-2016, 07:13   #5
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

We have a Fagor I think?
Anyway I believe a pressure cooker is a lot like boiling water, that is once water boils at 100 C, its temp remains at 100 C, you turn the heat way up, water boils much more vigorously, yet temp remains at 100 C, your not cooking any faster, just wasting lots of propane elevating waters energy level and phase changing it to steam, making the boat fill with humidity and heat.
Once a pressure cooker is up to pressure, very little heat is required to keep it there, excess won't raise temp and shorten cooking time unless pressure and therefore temp which of course is a function of pressure goes up, which the release valve should keep from happening, so just enough heat to keep the valve just open is all that is needed.


Once cooked, you can release steam / pressure like you say or put the thing in the sink and run just a little stream of water over it, that will cool if faster than you would think and reduce pressure without that blast of steam. Or just let it sit and wait, pressure will come off as it cools naturally, I don't have that much patience, I trickle water over it.
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Old 27-05-2016, 07:55   #6
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

The higher the pressure, the higher the temperature at which water boils (Water Saturation Pressure), and the quicker the food will cook. Most P/C recipes are made to cook at 15psi.
5 PSI - water boils @ 220 degrees F./100 degrees C.
8-10 PSI - water boils @ about 235 degrees F./115 degrees C.
15 PSI - water boils @ 250 degrees F./120 degrees C.
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Old 27-05-2016, 08:28   #7
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

Used a pressure cooker for years - why suddenly release the pressure? When I get near the estimated cooking time, I just shut off the heat source - when the pressure drops and the safety lock releases, I open the lid.

Seems easy to me.

I don't worry about a pressure gauge - just turn it to full heat for a few minutes, turn it to the "remembered" setting on the heat source and adjust it if needed to get the jiggling rate about right.
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Old 27-05-2016, 09:22   #8
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

We have a Fagor and I love it. It makes my life so much easier.

Maje
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Old 27-05-2016, 09:22   #9
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

We have a small Hawkins and a fairy large Kuhn Rikon .Both do an excellent job.
Don't be too quick to throw the Hawkins out because you can desalinate Sea water with it In an emergency as you can with any pressure cooker of this type with the weight on top.
Method: remove weight and fit plastic tubing.
Route tubing to collection container via multiple coils in the galley sink or bucket filled with sea water. Fill pressure cooker to 1/3 with salt water and light cooker.
As water boils lower Gas setting that condensation runs through tube at.a.steady rate. Collect fresh water at rate or 1/3 ltr/hr.
Copper tubing tobe better.
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Old 27-05-2016, 09:27   #10
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

i have a nice cheap presto aluminum pressure cooker i hardly ever use, but when i do i USE it. is kinda hot in tropics to mess with the damn thing--i use only in winter.
is great for making the guisados enjoyed in mexico. cuts cooking time into mere fragments. unfortunately the heat is an issue, as it takes forever to dissipate in humid hot climates.
i can see using as a still for making fresh water, but the heat would be a definite issue.
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Old 27-05-2016, 09:33   #11
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

Hello Sea Dreaming, a pressure cooker is a very useful thing not only to sailors. Is saves lots of time and energy.
It should have a proper pressure indicator, so that You can adjust the power so that it will not blow off steam, because this means wasting energy.
The cooling down time will ad to the cooking time, so You switch off the power some minutes earlier. After cooling down (below 100įC)You can open the cooker without spilling steam.
Greetings
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Old 27-05-2016, 09:45   #12
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

I have used pressure cookers for about 50 years including the great big retorts used in the food industry. 10 lbs of pressure is the norm. Ten pounds of pressure for one hour will kill even the botuallism bacteria. I keep it simple. Be sure you have some water in the cooker before you close it (the water turns into steam under pressure thus cooking with steam). By placing the 10 lb. weight you know the system is cooking at 10 lbs. (no need for a gauge) because the extra pressure will be released by the weight. When steams begins coming out turn the fire down until it stops. I cook meats, beans, etc. for about two and a half hours. Depending on the toughness of the meats or age of the beans, they might come out two tough or mussy. Increase or decrease the length of time. They last forever. The only problem I have had is the sealing gasket hardens with time and some are no longer available. I get the least expensive, simplest on ebay! I do a lot of cooking at the ranch and on the boat. I have several sizes. It is basic for most of my cooking. I even pressure cook the meat before putting on the BBQ. Cooking time is reduced and it tenderizes. No kitchen should be without one. We even used 5 gallon ones in the restaurant I once had. Customers always wandered why our meats were so tender! Have a nice day.
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Old 27-05-2016, 09:59   #13
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

Quote:
Originally Posted by captstu View Post
Used a pressure cooker for years - why suddenly release the pressure? When I get near the estimated cooking time, I just shut off the heat source - when the pressure drops and the safety lock releases, I open the lid.

Seems easy to me.

I don't worry about a pressure gauge - just turn it to full heat for a few minutes, turn it to the "remembered" setting on the heat source and adjust it if needed to get the jiggling rate about right.
Ditto....

I bought a 6qt Fagor last year... now wishing I had bought a 4qt which would have been plenty big enough and would have allowed some space on the cooktop to do a bit of other stuff at the same time.
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Old 27-05-2016, 10:13   #14
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

Quote:
Originally Posted by PirateBarnabus View Post
We have a small Hawkins and a fairy large Kuhn Rikon .Both do an excellent job.
Don't be too quick to throw the Hawkins out because you can desalinate Sea water with it In an emergency as you can with any pressure cooker of this type with the weight on top.
Method: remove weight and fit plastic tubing.
Route tubing to collection container via multiple coils in the galley sink or bucket filled with sea water. Fill pressure cooker to 1/3 with salt water and light cooker.
As water boils lower Gas setting that condensation runs through tube at.a.steady rate. Collect fresh water at rate or 1/3 ltr/hr.
Copper tubing tobe better.

Of course it's distilled water, and an excellent way to get battery water if distilled isn't available
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Old 27-05-2016, 10:14   #15
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Re: Lets revisit pressure cookers

use a basic stainless steel manual model, with spinning top weight. When the cooking time has finished, just switch off the heat, and carefully take the pressure cooker outside, and release manually by touching the weight with a wooden spoon, which will allow blasts of steam to escape until the pressure has dropped and the lid can be removed. No steam in the salon!
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