Pressure Cooker Workout

I just pulled out an old Presto pressure cooker. This is probably over 20 years old. I don’t even know if they make them like this anymore. The little knob in the lower left sits on top of the vent in the middle of the lid and acts as a pressure regulator. It says it maintains 15 psi while cooking. My goodness it’s loud. You get the feeling that at any moment the hot contents of your cooker will burst free and go flying across the kitchen. It’s probably why I abandoned it years ago.


So far I’ve made black beans, navy beans, chick peas, apples, and brown rice … with varying degrees of success. The chick peas made a great hummus and the apple chunks made great applesauce but the black and navy beans I had to cook more after about 30 minutes in the cooker. I’m still experimenting… Does anyone out there regularly use a pressure cooker?

[yop_poll id=”5″]

21 thoughts on “Pressure Cooker Workout

  1. shaun

    I use one a fair amount. Once it comes to pressure, I just drop the temp to low. It will periodically let out quiet hisses, but not all the rattling/loud hissing you’re getting. I can’t say for sure it’s running at full pressure 100% of the time that way – but it’s worked well for me.

    For the black/navy/pinto/etc beans, I usually get everything in the pot and bring it to full pressure. Then I just turn off the eye (electric). Check them a couple hours later and they’re usually almost done. Bring them back to pressure for ~15min, and you’re golden.

    Do you add any baking soda to the water when you make chick peas (with humus intentions)?


    1. Bix Post author

      I appreciate this feedback, Shaun. I think I’m going to try moving it to a lower burner on a much lower setting, and shoot for barely pressurized. I don’t mind adding time.

      I don’t add any baking soda. Do you? I’ve only made chick peas once in this; they were pretty good, soft yet intact. I do soak my beans overnight, all of them except for lentils and split peas.

      I’m enjoying the experimentation. One thing I’m having difficulty with is foaming, which I’m afraid will clog the vent. I’ve read that adding oil will cut down on foam but, you know, I’m not inclined.

      1. shaun

        I’ve used baking soda before when making chick peas for humus. I’ve read where it’s supposed to help make a smoother end product. I’m not sure where I stand on it, especially when using the pressure cooker.

        I think conventional wisdom says to always soak your beans. I’ve never do it, though, when I’m going to use the pressure cooker. My mother and grandmother never did, so I guess I’m just following modeled behavior. 🙂

        I don’t remember ever having to deal with the foaming (maybe I’m just ignoring it?). Sorry. I’m no help on that front. Do you have soft water? Surely, there has to be a way to break the surface tension in a cooking application that doesn’t involve oil.


    2. Bix Post author

      This is working a whole lot better at really low heat. No hissing but it cooks just as well. Thank god because I was going to retire it again.

      I’m envious that you have hand-me-down cooking knowledge. Go with it, there’s nothing like it. I should be thanking your mother too!

  2. anrosh

    I had a presto , but it stopped working like it should . Now I use Prestige, Hawkins – these are Indian brands. My eye is on the swiss duromatic.if somebody gives me a hand me down, i will take it.
    I cook rice , ( Khichadi – ( call it the indian risotto , without the cream ) which is a mix of rice, lentils and spices .
    Pressure cooking meat helps seals in the flavors as well.

    Pressure cooking helps to have fresh food all the time without RE-heating.

    1. Bix Post author

      You mix rice and lentils. I’m going to have to try that. I used to blend quinoa and lentils but on the stovetop. I haven’t had much quinoa lately. I hear Bill Clinton loves the stuff.

    1. anrosh

      🙂 It is an absolutely time saving device . And one can have fresh food everyday , without slogging in the kitchen.

      Try cooking onion soup. i did . it works great 🙂

  3. Marj

    There is a Mediterranean dish using basmati rice and lentils, spices, and a quantity of cooked onions which, in my opinion, is divine. The problem is I can’t recall the name. But it’s a great combination. My pressure cooker is retired as well, used to have a Presto which after long use was useless, then got one named Innova highly recommended by a consumer magazine, but have not used it much it all. Might invest in an electric one for beans, etc.

    1. Bix Post author

      I am an onion fiend. Anything that uses “a quantity of cooked onions” is something I’d probably eat. Sadly, I’m a salt fiend too.

      I should have pulled this out years ago. It’s really cutting back on cooking times, especially beans. (Although I recently had a bad experience with split peas. They clogged the vent. A mess. I think I’m cooking them too long.)

      McDougall just sent out this recipe for Moroccan Red Lentil Soup which I’m going to try (although not in a pressure cooker):

  4. Marj

    The recipe for Moroccan Red Lentil Soup is one I must try–looks delicious and quick to prepare too! The lentil rice onion dish is Mujadra (there are various spellings). I used the one from the Jerusalem cookbook and here is a link from NPR that includes that recipe. I caramelized the onions after the first try at cooking in oil which resulted in spatters everywhere. But LOTS of onion is fantastic. Here’s the link:

  5. Darryl

    Don’t forget pressure cookers are also great (and energy efficient) for making vegetable stocks. Around once a month, I drop coarsely chopped onions, celery, carrots, a potato, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, sometimes parsley, and Marmite in at pressure for an hour, allow to cool overnight, then strain into icecube trays.

    I’ve a big stockpot sized Fagor, large enough for non-pressure things like pasta with a borrowed lid. I’m tempted to get a smaller pressure cooker for more regular 10-minute lentil dals.

  6. Jessica

    I recently purchased the same pressure cooker from a garage sale, would you happen to have the make/model or manual for it?

  7. Marj

    I don’t usually look at the back comments but did today, Eddy, and saw your comment. Yes, that is the name of the wonderfully delicious rice and lentil (and the marvelous onions!). Thank you for that. I have also invested in a new pressure cooker/rice cooker/yogurt maker called Instant Pot. It was on sale at Amazon awhile back so took advantage of that. It’s very popular, is electric, and very easy to use. Am looking forward to more soups this coming winter.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s