Why a pressure cooker can save both time and money | Food

What are the advantages of pressure cookers?
Charlie, Lincoln
What really sets pressure cookers apart from other bits of kitchen kit, notes food writer Catherine Phipps, is their versatility. “I don’t see them as a gadget, but just as a saucepan with a specially adapted lid,” says the author of Modern Pressure Cooking. “You can use them for everything you would a normal saucepan, and much more besides, plus you’re also cutting down 70-75% of the cooking time.”

Stefano Arturi, of the Italian Home Cooking blog, adds: “I can make dishes that would otherwise take hours [stews, chickpeas] in a fraction of the time, and with no loss of flavour – in fact, pressure cooking intensifies how things taste.” And all for a fraction of the cost, too: “It’s a great ally in reducing water and energy consumption when you’re cooking things like vegetables, because you need very little of either.”

Which pressure cooker you go for, however, depends on how you cook, how many you’re feeding and what room you have available. “If you’ve got very little counter space, get one you can leave on the hob,” Phipps advises. “You can then use it as a saucepan, too.” Electric pressure cookers, meanwhile, might suit those who “have lots of worktop space, are used to slow- or multi-cookers and like that way of cooking”; they also come with a multitude of accessories, such as air-fryer lids and yoghurt makers, if they’re up your alley. That said, “if you want to use it mainly as a pressure cooker, you’d do much better to buy a stovetop model”. In terms of size, bigger is often better, Phipps says, because it gives you more options; she has cooked as much as 500g dried beans in her four-and-a-half-litre pressure cooker and as little as 50g rice.

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