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Pressure cooking stories Options
davisonh
#1 Posted : Saturday, July 05, 2008 1:36:36 AM
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My mom used to make her own corned beef by pressure cooking a roast shoulder(I belleive it was)and she used to have it done in an afternoon.Anyone heard of this method?I remember her pressure cooking beans and carrots in the canning process prqactically all summer,though I would recommend using the pressure cooker on the outdoor grill,I do remember oiur kitchen *roasting* from the pressure cooker during the summer!
Mike in McMurdo
#2 Posted : Monday, July 14, 2008 5:13:30 PM
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A few years back we sailed the pacific. We used our pressure cooker almost daily in order to save propane during the long voyages. Everything cooks faster under pressure because it raises the boiling point  and temperature of water. My favorite was using it to cook bread. We would make a small dough and place it in the pressure cooker with a small amount of water for steam and cook it until it smelled like bread. I guess a pressure cooker is just a tiny little oven when used like that.

M

practicalman45
#3 Posted : Sunday, August 24, 2008 3:44:10 AM
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I love pressure cookers. I have 5 of them, counting my big old pressure canner that I haven't tried using yet. Three of  mine are stainless steel. An 8qt. and (2)-6qt. models.  Aluminum is great for canning, but I'd advise choosing stainless steel cookers, as aluminum cookware isn't good: it leaches into acidic foods.  Stainless cookers can be used to store your foods in after they are cooked. Make a soup or stew and just put the whole cooker into the fridge later.  Another trick is great for camping:  Put all your ingredients (like for a soup or stew) into the cooker including water and freeze the whole thing solid. Take that as your cold pack in the ice chest. After several days, when it is thawed, cook it up. It is a no fuss camping meal for the last day of the weekend car camping trip.  

Two of my cookers are matching presto 6qt. stainless models.  I ordered spare parts and they fit both pans.  Check this out:  the last presto 6qt. I bought only cost me $1 at the thrift store!!  It was only lacking a blow out fuse and the jiggler wheight. The gasket was like new. The fuse plug costs a couple bucks, and I already have multiple jiggler wheights.  New, those prestos are around $70. 

Always pick the ones with the thick "heat spreading bottoms" when choosing a stainless cooker. Those have a thick copper or aluminum layer on the outside bottom. Cheap ones may not have that and you'll be sorry when things burn on the bottom. Remember, you cannot stir things when the pan is under pressure...

 I'd recommend common brands if you are choosing one to purchase as parts are more readily available. Pick up spare parts such as gaskets and fuses to have on hand so you won't be without your cooker if a fuse blows or gasket cracks. These things are great survival tools, and you'll want spare parts in a survival situation.

enchantedsb
#4 Posted : Thursday, September 04, 2008 12:36:03 AM
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I like to cook goat meat in a pressure cooker.  The meat is always tough unless you use pressure, or hours and hours of slow cooking.  I just throw a couple of onions in with what ever cut I am cooking that day, add a little water, and cook it at 5-6psi for an hour.  It saves a lot of time and headaches.~Enchanted
practicalman45
#5 Posted : Friday, September 05, 2008 6:32:27 PM
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Here's a recipe for beans that I use a lot, everyone compliments these:   Soak white beans (great northern, navy, or small white beans) a day or 2 with a little baking soda in the water, rinse well, put the soaked beans in your cooker with water to cover, dice up a can of spam (or a ham hock, or ham bone, or even a little beef bullion powder in a pinch..) and add a diced up onion,  add some garlic (fresh or granulated),  add some ketchup, some prepared mustard, and some barbecue sauce,  maybe a little brown sugar,  I like to add Vit.C crystals for tartness, but a splash of vinegar or red wine works too. Cook it all up under pressure. I give it 35 to 50 minutes at 15lbs. pressure (depending on what size beans are used). Turn it off and let it cool, or run it under the faucet if you are hungry. 

 If you don't open the pan, pressure cooked things are so well sterilized that they won't spoil for a day or two, if you need to keep things without refrigeration. Once you open the pan (and allow microbes to be introduced)  then it needs the fridge for sure.  Things stored in your pan (stainless, not aluminum) in the fridge keep better than if transferred to another container because the pan has been sterilized in the cooking process. This why I like having multiple pressure pans...

Joe's girl
#6 Posted : Thursday, October 09, 2008 2:23:02 AM
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I use my pressure cooker to prepare tomatoes for canning. I wash then core the tomatoes and cut them in half then cut them into smaller slices and put them into the cooker with 1/2 cup water. Follow the cooking directions for tomatoes for your cooker (mine uses 10 minutes). Then I pour the tomatoes into a bowl to cool a little while the next batch is being prepared. While the second batch is cooking I spoon the "cooled" batch into my blender and puree it a little at a time, this is then poured into a pitcher in order to make filling the canning jars easier.  Fill your jars and can them in your usual way. The sauce will separate over time but this is remedied by stirring when opened. NOTE: I do not peel the tomatoes therefore you don't lose nutrients in the skin and fiber is gained.

When I use the sauce I can season it for any dish because it is canned plain. My husband loves spaghetti so this is what I make most; again using the pressure cooker, cook the meat in the pan, add the correct seasonings and cook under pressure for about 20 minutes. In about  an hour you have a meal tastes like it simmered all day.

I have an electric stove so to avoid burning I use high to reach the rocking point, then move the pot to a preheated burner at a lower temperature -- on my stove 6-7 will keep the heat up without burning.

Durgan
#7 Posted : Tuesday, November 18, 2008 3:30:47 AM
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Soy Beans

http://www.durgan.org/ShortURL/?VJAIO 26 August 2008 Soy Bean preparation

They are prepared in the following manner. About five cups of dried beans are washed, boiled in water for 10 minutes to remove dirt, washed again, placed in the pressure cooker for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Boiled for about 5 minute to mix with a sweetener, (I use stefia), and some molasses for colour. The mixture is the blended and stored in liter jars. Five cups of beans make 3 to 4 liters depending upon the size of the soy beans and the amount of water added for blending. The jars are then stored in the refrigerator, and one liter is about four days supply for one person.

Like all human food, soy beans are an addition, not a complete replacement for other foods. Another attraction is some independence from the offerings of the centralized, mega-food processing industry.

A bowl of soy beans thus prepared are eaten every day for breakfast, along with a bowl of rolled oats.Very simple, low cost and nourishing. As prepared, I find the beans easy to digest, and they supply a major portion of my food requirements each day. I have been eating soy beans for many years.

You wont see this on a TV cooking show. Eat to live-not live to eat.
VALENT
#8 Posted : Tuesday, July 28, 2009 10:40:53 PM
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This is an excellent idea for a thread.  I love cooking pinto beans in my pressure cooker.  I rinse the beans well, put them into the pressure cooker along with plenty of water to cover thoroughly.  I add a little salt, some tomatoes, onions, and whatever I have a taste for and put the lid on.  I probably cook under pressure for maybe fifteen minutes and let pressure drop on its own.  They turn out well everytime and have a beautiful red color.  I never have to presoak or wait overnight with this method.   I do know that many of the pressure cooker recipes say not too cook beans because of foaming stopping up the relief valve.

practicalman45
#9 Posted : Wednesday, July 29, 2009 8:50:43 PM
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Here's a story about what they say: "not to cook peas or beans because they may clog the vent tube".

I had an older Mirro aluminum cooker, it was my first pressure pan, I inherited it from my grandma, who used it a lot for pot roasts. Now, I don't use any aluminum pans anymore, except in canning, because they say the aluminum is not good for you. (Grandma did have serious alzheimers when she died, not sure if her aluminum pans had any connection..?)

The Mirros have a blow-out fuse in the lid,  like many cookers. This is a safety in case the regular vent tube (that holds the jiggler wheight) gets clogged up.  Legumes, such as beans and peas, may froth up when you cook them, when they first begin boiling. This is something to do with a protein present making foam, and it passes after the cooking gets further along (boiling beer wort does the same thing if you use malt grains). A big head of foam, at first, then it settles down. Legumes also have skins which come off sometimes and they ride up in that foam. If that foam reaches your vent tube, the skins may blockage it!!

So, I was cooking a pot of split peas in Granny's old Mirro. We lived in an old house with 11 foot ceilings. Next thing I knew, it was like Mount Vesuvius erupting! The safety fuse on Mirro had blown out!!  We got the stove turned off and stood back while Vesuvius subsided. Luckily, nobody was leaning their face over Mirro when she blew!  The pan of peas was nearly empty when it was over, and about half of them were stuck to the 11 foot ceiling. Amazing that all of that went through the about 1/4 inch hole sized blowout fuse!

So, to be safe, don't cook split peas. If you do cook any beans or peas, you can do it a lot safer by waiting till the pan is boiling rapidly, and then making sure there is no foam (or that the initial  temporary foam has subsided, and/or been skimmed off with a spoon) BEFORE closing the lid and bringing the pan up to pressure. Also, its a good idea to check that your vent tube is clear when building up to pressure by lifting the little jiggler to make sure the vent is not clogged: steam will come out.  And also, don't be looking down at Mount Vesuvius when she's a rumbling!!

Oh yes, I wanted to add that you can really reduce the chances of your food foaming in the cooker by adding some cooking oil or fatty meat (such as ham hocks) in the recipe. The fat seems to settle down the foaming.

krusin2
#10 Posted : Thursday, July 30, 2009 1:14:12 PM
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Practicalman45

It seems you have the same or similar canner to what I've just gotten-

am a bit confused, as i don't understand the "jiggle at 4 times a minute" in the direction book-

My mom and gramma never cooked with a pressure cooker- (for reasons of having scrapped potatoes off the cieling >;~D )

so I am not familiar with the older 'weight' type-

I do have a newer one, with a release valve, and understand the working of that one, not the jiggling tho

any words of wisdom for a newbie to pressure canning?

ps- my cielings are NOT 11 foot, and with my luck it would shoot potatoes everywhere!!!

practicalman45
#11 Posted : Thursday, July 30, 2009 7:56:33 PM
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krusin2,  to be honest, I do not have much canning experience to speak of. I have done lots of cooking with the pressure pans. From what I've read, it is more crucial that your canner stays up to the recommended pressure (and temps) without interruption or cooling to ensure proper sterilization. It is why they tell you to keep it gently jiggling, or 4 times a minute. Recommended Pressures (for canning) also increase with altitude. I am planning to get into canning and I think I'd want the type of pan that has a pressure guage. Some have both that and the jiggler wheight. 

The Mirro pan  had a  pretty cool wheight. Round, and with 3 different holes to set on the vent, you could choose 5-10- or 15 lbs pressure. I wish the Presto pans had that feature. they just have a "one setting fits all" wheight. I think that is 15 lbs., but am not sure...I don't have that Mirro anymore since I've gotten into stainless steel cookers. I let the old aluminum Mirro go in a yard sale.

Basicly, with the jiggler wheight type of regulators, you are up to pressure when the wheight is jiggling. If you can adjust the heat down untill the thing gently jiggles periodically you are bumping up against that stated pressure. If it stops jiggling completely you most likely are not up to the stated pressure.

With the Presto pans, the blow-out fuse is like a rubber or plastic plug that presses in from the bottom up. It pushes up a bit when there is pressure. When the pressure releases the plug sets back down (its an indicator that there is no pressure when it sets back down). I have learned to bump-press that plug down with my finger and "feel" the approximate pressure (for cooking, not canning) by how firm the plug feels. After a while you get a feel for these things...

Gas stoves are easiest to use pressure pans on because the heat setting changes instantly when you adjust it. If you cook on an electric stove some books recommend turning a second burner on to "simmer" and switching your pan over to that so you can have instant adjustment. As foods cook, the required heat gets less and less until you are at a lowest simmer setting towards the end. The jiggler give you a way to guage the pressure and temps. This is where the economy of pressure pans comes in: towards the end, you are fast cooking at over 240F degrees at your stoves lowest setting!

MC
#12 Posted : Friday, July 31, 2009 3:41:12 PM
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I keep wanting to learn to use the pressure cooker/canner so I can take up low-acid canning.  My old grandma has me scared to death to try.  To the point that I wasn't all that mad when the deer ate most of my polebeans this summer. 

Thanks for the stories I guess.  Granny's a paranoiac and I get un-scared reading about what y'all have done.  Pman thanks for the idea about instant heat adjustment on an elec. range-- gods I hate that thing; where-ever we end up sticking our "forever house" I am going to have a propane tank. 

Speaking of which.  I'm sure it's possible, but does anyone know if it's reasonable to can outdoors on a propane camp stove???  I have a little 2-burner one and it seems to be very efficient.  I'm thinking if I picked a still day, canning on it might save me staying up 'til two o'clock in the morning so I can wait until everyone's gone to bed before I make the main room sweltering hot and swimming humid. 

practicalman45
#13 Posted : Saturday, August 01, 2009 2:03:13 AM
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Yes, pressure canning is the only way to can low acid foods. If you really want to get into canning, you had better master using pressure pans. They aren't all that dangerous or scary to use when you get familiar with them and observe the safety precautions. Modern pressure pans have safety features (like the blow out fuses, lids that are locked under pressure, etc.) You do need to be attentive to the process and not forget what you are doing.

MC, thanks for joining the thread here. As far as your question about the camp stove for canning: I use a propane two burner camp stove for my main stove in my house. It is a nice one with self-igniting burners that connects to a bulk tank with a pressure regulator. Even the "side burner" on an outdoor gas barbecue grill could probably do the job if it has good heat output. Gas stoves are vulnerable to blowing out in a breeze, especially when turned down low. Shielding these from the wind is necessary. Same issue you have to deal with when using it for camping. I would not suggest using a camp stove that has those little throw-away gas bottles. It may work, but it could run out of gas 1/2 way through a canning session. Those little tanks are spendy, too.  I've done lots of beer brewing on my 2 burner camp stove, boiling brimful 5 gallon kettles.  Canning on one should be no problem.

I've been wanting to set up a canning kitchen/ home brewery in the shed behind my barn. There is a good roof, running water plumbed there, electricity for lights, and shelter from the wind for the gas stove. The old kitchen range would work great there.  Just need to setup a sink and a work counter, maybe some shelves or cabinets for storage.

krusin2
#14 Posted : Sunday, August 02, 2009 11:15:12 AM
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Thanks Practicalman-

Guess I will just have to 'play' with cooking in it before I start canning-

Pressure cooking is new to me, and my stainless pot has a different kind of steam valve- I have done okay with that one so far-

Cheers

kruise

hhunt
#15 Posted : Sunday, August 02, 2009 11:15:12 AM
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Using a pressure cooking to preserve the bounty of the summer harvest is necessary for canning low-acid foods and convenient for all kinds of canning. Read this article for some tips on food peservation methods, including the use of pressure cookers.

But did you know you also can cook stews and soups faster with a pressure cooker, saving precious time and using less energy than conventional cooking methods? Share your recipes, successes and failures for pressure cooked meals here.

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