Cooking at home is the best way to save money on food; however, if you are like many Americans, cooking a healthy homemade meal is not something that many people do these days – mostly due to lack of time.
Some of you may remember pressure cookers from the 1970’s – but the pressure cooker of today is a hot selling item that is necessary. A pressure cooker has even been featured on “Iron Chef” (a popular cooking show).
There is a saying “you need the right tool for the right job” and a pressure cooker is the right kitchen tool that will save you time as well as money.
One way a pressure cooker will save you money is that your energy bill will be reduced. Since cooking time is reduce by more than 65% – so is energy expenses. For instance, a pot roast will take a few hours in the oven, but only an hour with a pressure cooker. According to energy experts, running a traditional oven for a few hours used 6 kWh (kilowatts) of energy, but that is reduced to only 2 kWh when a pressure cooker is used. If you use a pressure cooker just once a week, you would shave more than $25 off your electrical bill.
When the oven is on during summer months, it means that your air conditioner is working harder to keep rooms cool, which ultimately increases your monthly bills. The ultimate goal is to get a healthy meal on the table in as little time as possible – a pressure cooker can help you achieve this goal.
Additionally, you can save money when using a pressure cooker because you can purchase less expensive cuts of meat. A pressure cooker will break down tough muscle fibers and you will have a tender, delicious dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes- without paying an arm and a leg for a cut of meat.
Also, you will save money by simply cooking at home. Grabbing one large pizza on the way home can cost between $10 and $24 (depending on where you live); however a week of home cooked meals for two adults can be less than $4 a meal. This can quickly add up to more than $1,000 of savings a year.
Not only is cooking at home a money saver, but it also a healthier option. It has been documented that people who eat at home more often than eating out, tend to be within the federal guidelines for a healthy diet. This is important information because eating right is a major component to staying healthy; and staying healthy means lower medical expenses and a more productive lifestyle.
More advantages to using a pressure cooking for your family meals, is that you will feel confident putting a healthy meals out for family and friends. For instance, with a pressure cooker, fresh vegetables retain more nutrients and their original fresh flavor. Also, dry beans cook up quicker and that is good news because beans are a necessary element to a healthy diet. The canned versions are full of preservatives and unhealthy amounts of salt.
There are two (2) basic types of pressure cookers: electric and stovetop versions
Electric versions have their own heating element that is powered by electricity. This is perfect for the person who prefers to “set it and forget it”. Simply load ingredients into the pot, seal, turn on, and forget it until it is time to eat. Many electric pressure cookers are multi-taskers which means they can function as a steamer, rice cooker, and a slow cooker. The electric version cost can range from $60 to $200. A 6-quart power pressure cooker is available for under $100.
Stovetop versions get heated from the stove burner just like any other cooking pot. This version allows for more precise control over the cooking process. This version heats up quicker and hotter which means they work faster and are a better choice for caramelizing vegetables and/or searing meats. Prices for this type of model vary greatly but you can get a good quality 8-quart stovetop version with two pressure settings for under $100.
Regardless of the version you choose, the cooking uses are endless. For instance, stock is made with 1/8 less material as a regular pot and takes ¼ the amount of time. Risotto is a dish that usually reserved for professional chefs, but you can easily make this delicious recipe in your pressure cooker. Whole grains will take 50% less time in a pressure cooker than a stove top.