SeaKnots

How about exploring the many aspects of pressure cooking on a sailboat, everything from the practical and safety considerations, to the tremendous variety and flexibilty that a pressure cooker brings to a sea-going galley.

Let's take a look at everything from baking bread on the stovetop in a pressure cooker, to preserving meats and veggies for long-term storage, to quick-and-easy recipes for everything from centuries-old European dishes, to ethnic meals spanning Cajun jambalaya, New Orleans gumbo, New England lobster bisque, Middle Eastern-style curried lamb, and steamed Thai chicken – all done in less than 30 minutes, and with only one pot to clean afterwards!

Let's take a look at the type and size of pressure cooker to buy, and what are the most important features to consider.

Anyone interested?

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Replies to This Discussion

Not knowing what size is your pressure cooker ( 4-quart, 6-quart, 8-quart. 10-quart) makes that a difficult question to answer because food density and volume of cooking area are factors. If you have an 8-quart like mine, 10 pounds of pressure will be adequate.

I'm curious. What brand of pressure cooker do you own and what year did you buy it? I'm wondering if it's first or second generation in design.

Best regards,

Robbie
Robbie,

We have several sizes, 6qt, 8 qt and 16 qt (for canning). They are all Presto products and are of the type where pressure is regulated by a jiggler valve (probably not suitable on a boat since the pot needs to be kept reasonably level).
Well, a part of the mystery is solved!

Peter, if you are going to take a pressure cooker on board with you, you need to buy the new second-generation cooker. The Prestos you have are downright dangerous. Not just that brand, but that generation of cookers with the jiggling weight on top, and a lid closure method that requires only turning and aligning the lid's handles.

Engineers re-designed pressure cookers in the mid-1980's and added new safety features. The new ones cannot explode even if not used properly. They have manual locking mechanisms, plus a bright red rod that rises to indicate that the cooker is under pressure, and a new pressure release on the lid that allows you to release the pressure without lifting the cooker and putting it under cold water. Should you leave the cooker unattended while over high heat, there is also an ultimate failsafe valve with a teflon washer that will melt before allowing the cooker to each a dangerous pressure level.

I'll also bet that one or more of your cookers is made of aluminum. If so, toss 'em in the garbage!

I use a heavy-duty stainless steel 8-quart model made in India, a country where probably more than half the population uses a pressure cooker every day. It has a thick double-clad bottom for even heat distribution, and opposing handles as well as a handle that bridges the cooker across the top for easy, safe handling when the cooker is loaded and heavy with food/liquid. The brand name is Manttra, and can be purchased from Sears for about $69.00. I've seen them on sale for as low as $55.00. It includes a stainless steel steaming basket, a trivet, and a tempered glass lid for using the cooker as a non-pressurized soup or stock pot. A Manttra will last for a lifetime. I use my 3 to 5 times a week and it still looks new.

Best regards,

Robbie
Thanks for the info, Robbie
Hi everyone,
I'm new in this group but like to comment that I've used a pressure cooker for years, at home, but now want to take it with me on the boat. I use the pressure cooker for just about anything, from baking potatoes to making small roasts, with wonderful results.
I don't use recipies for most thing, I'm a 'free cooking spirit'. LOL I've never baked in the pressure cooker. I would love to find directions for making bread.
I use metal steam baskets to elevate veggies from what's cooking in the bottom of the pot, adding them for the last few mintues of cooking time.
Liv
Where have you all been ???? I'm so glad to have found this discussion. I have owned a pressure cooker for 20 years and haven't used it once. It's a knee jerk reaction because my Mom always told the story of the first time she used one in her tiny NYC apartment. She didn't know how to cook and was just married. She decided to cook spaghetti in the pressure cooker. There was too much pressure and all the spaghetti exploded out the top. She said it formed a perfect circle on the ceiling and was a b**** to remove. She developed into a real culinary artist in the kitchen but never used a pressure cooker again.
Then there is my friend Sarah, who has been my first mate a couple times. She's a master at it. Reduces cooking time drastically and is yummy. It seems such a natural for the boat so I look forward to reading all of the posts here and using it on this summer's cruises.
Suky:

Some of the tales about pressure cookers are simply amazing! Invariably, when you do some research into a horror tale involving a pressure cooker, you discover one of two things: (1) the person relating the tale is not the actual person that had the bad experience; they are just repeating a rumor or tale they heard from someone else; and (2) the person who had the bad experience with their pressure cooker didn't read the instructions for proper use and did something dumb — like cooking spaghetti in it. No offense intended to your Mom. Remind me to tell you sometime about my Super Glue adventure.

Your tale is a testament to the power of childhood impressions more than anything else. Owned a pressure cooker for 20 years and never used it! At least you now realize that your Mom's spaghetti-on-the-ceiling incident was not the fault of the pressure cooker. You can drive a $250,000 Ferrari off a cliff if you don't know how to drive!

Fortunately you have a friend in Sarah to reintroduce you to the pressure cooking fraternity. There are probably 20 million people in India who use a pressure cooker every day! It's neither revolutionary nor rocket science.

Basic Rules for the Pressure Cooker: (1) Read the instruction manual, and (2) Never fill the cooker more than 3/4 full. This limit is usually marked inside the cooker for those who might have difficulty determining where the 3/4 limit is. Also, if cooking beans, add a tablespoon of cooking oil to reduce foaming.

I suggest everyone with a pressure cooker, or contemplating buying one, to buy a copy of the Ball Company's book, "Complete Book of Home Preserving." ISBN: 978-0-7788-0139-9. In addition to detailed instructions, it also has 400 dynamite recipes.

Fair winds, and fine dining,

Robbie Johnson, author and sailing chef
www.gourmetunderway.com
Suki,
I just got to read your comment and Robbie's comments [below]
There are many different kind of pressure cookers on the market, some great , other not so great. All of them are good, some are better, and some are [what I call ] foolproof.
I have a Langostina stainless steel one ,got it for half price for about $ 70. Can. Dollars.
The top edge of the cooker has a lip on it, the lid of the pot fits underneath this lip/rim. So, when the pressure builds up inside the pot the lid can not blow !!!
Yes, one has to follow instructions, especially on cooking time of you'll over-cook things quickly.
When I use the pressure cooker, I don't go away, I keep an eye on it. So I do other things in the kitchen while I use this pot.
The pressure cooker is perfect for the boat. One saves so much cooking fuel or electricity. The food is done in such a short time.
I frankly don't know why people bother with slow cookers when one can make a stew in the pressure cooker in about 20 minutes.
LOL Thanks for your comments - Last night made a wonderful soup/stew in the pressure cooker - I'm delighted - love PC is so easy and fast.
Many thanks - I feel so much more confident about many great meals aboard - now just have to find the boat !
Suky:

There are more than 25 gourmet-level pressure cooker recipes in my cookbook, Gourmet Underway - A Sailer's Cookbook. (www.gourmetunderway.com) The one that has received the most frequent praise from fellow sailors, from Sweden and Holland, to Miami and San Francisco, is on Page 228, Genovese-style "Roast" Chicken. My own favorite in the book is on Page 217, "Beer-Braised Pork and Onions," a very old Flemish dish from Belgium. The magic of pressure cooking is endless. I'm delighted to see you beginning the great voyage of discovery.

Fair wind and fine dining to you,

Robbie

Hi Robbe, I have used a pressure cooker for many years of cruising. I can cook about any thing in one, but I love all the different beans I've found cruising. I only use a 4 qt. on the boat. If anyone wants to know the fast way to cook beans, just give a shout. 20 minute cook time for most beans. On the hot days I do use it on the BBQ, works great and doesn't heat the cabin. Michael..

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