A new perspective on this modern tool.
Part of the Real Food for Busy People online video cooking class are lessons on how to use a pressure cooker. In the video preview above, Heather Dessinger of The Mommypotamus demonstrates how to use a pressure cooker to make a roast that’s frozen to succulent in 1.5 hours!
Sally Fallon Morrel’s revised position
As some of you know, Sally Fallon Morell doesn’t recommend that we use pressure cookers in her book Nourishing Traditions on page 68 of the Introduction and on page 453 of the Grain and Legume section:
Pressure Cooker: This is another relative newcomer to the culinary scene. The danger is that pressure cookers cook foods too quickly and at temperatures above the boiling point. A flameproof casserole is ideal for grains as well as for stews. Traditional cuisines always call for a long, slow cooking of grains and legumes.
We do not recommend the pressure cooker for grains because it cooks them too quickly.
Sally explained to me in an email conversation that her objection has been that pressure cookers are “a modern technology and we just have no idea what they do to our food. Best to err on the side of caution.”
However, since the publication of an article by Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade about pressure cookers, Sally has written to me, “Yes, I have read that article, very interesting. Fine with me if folks use them, although I would not use them for beans, I think it cooks them too fast.” She elaborated about what changed her mind: “Ann Marie [Michaels of Cheeseslave] came up with information to indicate that the heat in a pressure cooker is not that much higher than boiling, so this is new information indicating that it might not be so bad at all.”
In Kristen Michael’s article, she asserts: “Turns out, pressure cooking may be the best possible way to cook your soaked beans and grains!” However, Sally Fallon Morell appears to continue to disagree on this point as she recently explained to me: “For beans, you want to soak and then a long, long cooking. All the antinutrients might not be broken down with the short time of a pressure cooker.”
This article was first published in August of 2013. Sally has more recently written to me in February of 2016: “I don’t have one [a pressure cooker] because I am very happy with my slow cooker. Some people love them and they get a very gelatinous broth. However, the temp does go above 212 degrees and we don’t know the consequences of that.”
I personally have decided to go for low and slow – low temperature and slow cooking, and don’t use a pressure cooker.
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12 Responses to Shall we use pressure cookers?!
Thank you for this article! I have her book, and was really sad to learn about her recommendation. This clears things up a bit!
Laine – this is a recent shift. I don’t know if Sally will revise Nourishing Traditions and change the recommendation as a result of her increased openness to pressure cookers – except for beans!?
I have never done much small scale pressure cooking…but pressure canning is a godsend. Especially this summer, as we are camping while we make a homestead, and refrigeration resources are scanty.
Whatever sally says, I do. Even if she changes her mind. I like cults. I think that they are really helpful for the leadership! If she told me to wear a pressure Coker on my head as a fashion statement, hello!? Who wouldn’t?
OOOOO, you might be a bomber (jk) Actually, I used to use pressure cookers, but no more. It takes less time to plug in a Nesco (yah, hey I’m from WI, doncha know), and leave it all day. I had to baby sit the p. cooker too much, and food was often mushy. Plus lower temps of the Nesco are kinder to veggies when making stew. I was not sad to say bye-bye.
[…] cooker Pressure cooker – read our updated perspective on this modern tool! Food processor Dehydrator Rice cooker Chest freezer Vitamix blender – see a sneak peak […]
Interesting to see how all of a sudden pressure cookers “might not be so bad at all”… Hmm… I wonder …
Yes – I think that some may try it now and others may still decide to err on the side of caution!
Do you have any experience with making broth from a whole frozen pastured bird? Is it a good idea? How much time should it cook and at what setting?
I personally don’t have a pressure cooker so, I am not in a position to advise you! I only recently had this conversation with Sally. Up until now, I understood that they weren’t recommended so I didn’t use one!
I have no room for another bulky kitchen item in my small kitchen and basement pantry so I don’t think I’ll be getting a pressure cooker anytime soon. I think hubby would blow a gasket if I brought one home! (Just kidding, sort of, and pun intended.) Plus they’re not particularly easy to clean, at least the ones I knew from yesteryear.
We have used pressure cookers in the past when living off-grid and found them immensely valuable in saving our precious resources (gas and/or wood fire) being able to cook food in 30-45 minutes (including meat) that otherwise would take 4-8 hours! Also, we would pressure cook amd can wild pig bones and all, and the bones cooled so thoroughly they could be eaten and preserved for months. I think there is a place for pressure cookers to be considered in our communities. As for right now, I was feeling hesitant about pressure cooking beans, and this has helped justify my hesitancy, so I’m heading into the kitchen to slow-cook my 17 hour whey-soaked beans! Thanks all! 😉