I bought my pressure cooker a few years ago after reading an article in Mother Earth News magazine. After a bit of research I chose a stovetop model by Presto and fell in love with pressure cooking. My favorite thing to cook in the pressure cooker is risotto, it takes seven minutes, half the stock and no stirring. Add some vegetables and leftover meat and I can have a meal on the table in less than 10 minutes. Frozen meat, no problem, and broth takes about 20 minutes, no simmering on the stove for the entire day. I usually have a plan for dinner but there have been plenty of nights where the day didn’t go as planned and I find myself at 6 o’clock starving, tired and wondering what to do. The pressure cooker has saved us from eating out many a nights.
Last summer when I was working long Saturday hours helping out at two of the local farms we started eating pizza a lot for dinner. I wanted to go back to home cooked meals so I thought I’d try a slow cooker. I know many people who swear by their slow cooker for getting meals together and I thought if I could get it all in the pot in the morning before I left for market than I wouldn’t have to worry about making dinner when I got home at 7, too tired to even think about making risotto. It did help being able to get everything in the pot the night before and then my husband would plug it in and start the cooking so by the time I got home we could eat dinner. So far though I have mixed feeling on the slow cooker.
Here are some of the things I consider pros and cons on each.
Pros: Seriously reduces cooking time on foods; foods are infused with flavor and meats are fall off the bone tender; makes last-minute meals easy to put together; cooking times don’t vary much from the recipe.
Cons: I’ve blown the safety plug on mine twice until I replaced all the seals and gauge. It didn’t expel pea soup on the ceiling but it is startling when it occurs and the parts cost almost as much as a new pot. There is a limited choice for cookbooks.
Pros: You can put the meal together the night before and have it ready ahead of time; good for soups; plenty of cookbooks; no exploding safety plug.
Cons: The pot I have cooks at much higher temperatures and food is ready hours before it should be. Many of the recipes in cookbooks use condensed soups and processed food items, which I don’t use. Need to adjust the recipe cook times too much.
Each of the pots has their uses but I prefer my pressure cooker over the slow cooker. My biggest complaint is the cooking temperatures on my slow cooker, and this may just be the model I have. I’ve overcooked many dinners by using the recipe cook times.
When I was having problems with my pressure cooker sealing properly, I went on Amazon and looked into a replacement pot, possibly an electric pressure cooker model. I came across a combination pot that did both slow and pressure cooking. It was called an Instant Pot and in addition it was a rice steamer and a yogurt maker, stainless steel and programmable as well. Since storage space is very limited in my kitchen I’m considering replacing my four pots/appliances with the one. It isn’t an inexpensive investment though, so for now I’ll work with what I have and keep doing some research. I have to admit it is an appealing thought to have one pot that would do it all.