Pressure cooking isn't the dangerous culinary adventure of previous generations. New pressure cookers are almost fool-proof and make it possible to create healthy and flavorful meals at microwave speeds. Unlike the microwave, pressure cookers don't rubberize your meats or produce limp, tasteless vegetables. Busy professionals and families can use pressure cookers to add foods to their diets they they typically wouldn't have time to prepare.
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Pressure cooking preserves the nutritional value of the foods you prepare. The high heat, intense pressure and shorter cooking times reduces vitamin and mineral loss associated with other cooking methods, according to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension. Water-soluble nutrients don't escape into cooking liquids or evaporate out of the pot because a pressure cooker creates a sealed environment.
Speedy Health Foods
High-fiber vegetables, whole grains, dried beans and lean cuts of meat feature prominently in the heart-healthy diet recommended by the American Heart Association. They're also foods that you sometimes have to block out an entire afternoon to prepare. Pressure cooking speeds up cooking times dramatically. You can make a fresh corn on the cob, sweet potatoes and other dense vegetables in minutes. Dried beans and large cuts of meat cook in 10 to 15 minutes or less, depending on quantity and type. That means you can prepare a meal in minutes that would have traditionally taken you hours. Quick cooking means fewer calls to your favorite take-out restaurant.
Pressure cooking is basically super-charged steaming. It relies on the heat and force created by steam to deliver heat deep into your food. You only need a small amount of liquid to cook the food, not added fats or oils. Omitting oil from your recipes saves you nine calories per gram of fat, according to MayoClinic.com. It also helps you stay below a heart-healthy 20 to 30 percent of calories from fat.
Safe Food Temperatures
Pressure cooking can reduce your risk of consuming food-borne pathogens, especially at high altitudes. If you live or vacation in a high-altitude environment, it may be more difficult to heat food to temperatures that kill dangerous bacteria. Under-cooking food, no matter where you live, can cause food poising and serious food-related medical conditions. Pressure cooking gets foods above the 140-degree mark, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. At that temperature, most dangerous pathogens die off.