Fearless Friday 16, the Pressure Cooker Edition

Heather says:
Welcome to Fearless Friday #16, the Heather has a horrible summer cold or allergies, so pictures and the actual recipe I made on Wednesday will  have to wait edition.

I finally broke down and bought a pressure cooker large enough to use as a pressure canner. This summer I totally flopped at canning peaches. I’m not sure what happened, but they didn’t turn out right. One jar broke and the others oozed enough peach goo during processing that I wasn’t sure they were shelf stable. (I only canned a small batch in case something like this happened). I refrigerated the jars and we enjoyed them in our oatmeal, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Since I made the purchase, I’ve been slowly gaining confidence with the pressure cooker. My first non-canning attempt was a pot roast cooked with salsa which was tender enough to shred after 45 minutes. The beef from this experiment was used for baked chimichangas and later as an ingredient in soup.

Someone once described a pressure cooker as the microwave of the 50’s. This does not stop people from telling horror stories of explosions in the kitchen. If you choose to purchase a pressure cooker you MUST familiarize yourself with the safe operation of the device.

Before every use inspect the gasket (rubber seal), peek through the vent to make sure it has not been blocked by food debris of any sort, and check the pressure release valve to make sure it moves. These simple steps help ensure a safe operation. (Remember, there are a lot of safety considerations with microwaves, too; we’ve just become accustomed to the rules.)

I’ve become enamored with my pressure cooker. I’m ecstatic that I can turn 2lbs of dried northern beans into a huge batch of baked beans with minimal effort and I don’t have to run the oven all day. I’ve made these twice, the first time I used far too much water and had to spend a long time reducing the liquid (simmering in a large skillet until the volume was down by half). The recipe had stated “with enough water” apparently my idea and the author’s idea were in different time zones. For my second attempt I had the ingenious idea of reading the recommended amount of water for cooking from the instructions on the bag of beans and the recipe came out perfectly. I suspect the author of the baked bean recipe used several varieties which may or may not have required different amounts of liquid.

I would like to know if anyone else would be interested in a series of recipes for the pressure cooker?

Home Eccers, did you attempt any new recipes or techniques in the kitchen? If so, please tell us about it in the comments or share the link to your blog post in the McKlinky below.


  1. bryantsoto614 on August 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I like these recipes.Going to try it soon.Thanks for sharing.

    my blog: http://www.bestpressurecookersv.com

  2. bryantsoto614 on August 19, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    I love these recipes.Going to try it soon.Thanks for sharing.

    My blog:Best pressure cooekr

  3. Cooker Elements on June 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I like this pressure cooker works. I haven’t tries anything else other than my own. Now i bought a recipe book. Going to try it soon.

  4. Caanan on August 25, 2009 at 9:56 am

    I would LOVE a series of pressure cooker recipes. I got one last summer as a gift and haven’t even taken it out of the box… I have no idea what to do with it.

  5. Josie on August 24, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    I got a pressure cooker that I can use as a pressure canner for Mother’s Day. I had wanted one for a while but honestly, have been intimidated by it. I have a ham thawing in the refrigerator as I type to cook in it tomorrow. I would love to see a series of recipes for the pressure cooker! The pot roast cooked with salsa will probably make it on my menu soon. Yum!
    Thanks for this post – it has given me a little more confidence in cooking that ham tomorrow!

  6. topdog on August 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I love my pressure cooker. it is the answer to our current situation where no one has any time for good food.

  7. Tara on August 23, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Yes! We have a large one, primarily for canning, but I’d love regular recipes as well. Thanks!

  8. Erin on August 22, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Me, please, oh, me please! My confession is that my dad bought me a pressure cooker so I could cook artichokes quickly and that is the ONLY THING I KNOW HOW TO COOK IN IT after 15 YEARS! Admittedly, until five years ago I didn’t know how to cook anything, but now I’m embarrassed by how little I know about my pressure cooker.

  9. katie on August 22, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Hi Heather,
    I have been enjoying your blog! I too, would love some recipes for the pressure cooker/canner. I bought one last fall and made some really great pear jam, and then recently blueberry jam. I love it. But I have not tried actually cooking meals with it. I remember the stories of meals BLOWING UP, as a child. (Yea, I am a product of the 50’s). But I would love to follow your lead. 🙂

  10. Renee on August 21, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Heather, I think I know what happened to your peaches. You don’t can peaches with the lid on tight or in pressure mode. I know that it says you can, but they turn out to be mush and the pressure can suck juice out it the lid was not pre-heated in hot water before your put your lids on. To can peaches you only need a big pot that has a lid and is deep enough to cover the peach bottles with two inches of water. Try it again with this “water bath method” and I am sure they will be better. When I started canning I purchased a Ball Blue Book for canning, it is priceless.
    P.S. I would love a pressure cooker segment.

    • Heather Solos on August 22, 2009 at 9:25 am

      I followed the instructions in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. . . Yeah, not so much. I will order the Ball Blue Book, as you are probably the third person to recommend it to me.
      My biggest goal is to can soups. When my family is sick, they get homemade chicken noodle. When I’m sick, like yesterday, I got Campbells Condensed.
      It’s just not the same. 😉

      • Ceci on August 24, 2009 at 1:47 pm

        When my parents were living in London from 96-03, you could not get Campbells Condensed Chicken & Stars soup, which is the only thing my little sister (ok she’s 22 and married now but she’s still my little sister) will eat when she’s sick. I used to buy it in bulk and lug a suitcase over whenever I visited. (Also A&W rootbeer-back when you could take liquid on a plane, m&m’s and honey nut cheerios, then I would fill the bag with stuff I could onlly get in England like Batchelors Pasta ‘n Sauce, Chicken Tonight, and Smarties.

  11. Cricket on August 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I so want a pressure cooker, but I haven’t made that leap yet…definitely would love to see recipes though! 🙂

  12. cheryll on August 21, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I love my pressure cooker(s) — finally had to buy a new one last year and it works completely differently from the old Prestos that I have used for 40 years. You can’t can in them, as pressure canneers are different breed. (btw, you could open kettle can your peaches just fine without a canner, or use a 20 minute boiling water bath if you didn’t use any sugar in the syrup).

    I make all my soups in the pressure cooker, and beans of all kinds except soy family and dried peas (because they foam up and can clog the steam exit). Chicken rice soup, starting with raw thighs and frozen veggies takes very little time on an electric stove because once the pressure is up (about 10 minutes) turn off the burner and let it cool till pressure is down all the way (another 10-15 mins) and voila! Soup.

  13. Amanda on August 21, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Oh please!!! I bought a small pressure cooker a few months back, but I’ve been too terrified to actually USE the thing. Despite the fact that I grew up with Mom pressure canning, I live in fear that my first attempt at pressure cooking will result in blowing the lid thru the roof.

  14. silver on August 21, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    I’m always on the lookout for good pressure cooker recipes, so I’d love to see a series on it! Or even better, tips on converting a crock pot recipe to a pressure cooker recipe–as the recipes that work well in both devices are similar (pot roasts, chilis, etc).

    • Heather Solos on August 22, 2009 at 9:23 am

      I’m compiling a list of tips. I’ve found from varied sources. I’ll test as many as I can before posting as I do NOT want to be the one responsible for bad advice. (What? Am I saying the Internet can have bad advice? Yes ma’am, I am.)

  15. Meg on August 21, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Oh yeah, I’d love some good pressure cooker recipes. I use my Mom’s old one, but only for the few recipes she taught me. It’d be great to get more use out of it.

  16. Julie on August 21, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Count me in! I’m scared of the things. But I really want to can my own stuff, so I need to get over the fear!

  17. Becky on August 21, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I’d love some pressure cooker recipes!

    I took a wonderful canning class at the Williamson County Extension Center in TN and their guide is available online for free or you can purchase a booklet, lots of great stuff — http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/fee-based/pb724.htm

    • Heather Solos on August 22, 2009 at 9:21 am

      County extensions are a hugely under-utilized resource. I need to work with ours more closely. Not too long ago I participated in a community outreach fair hosted by the extension and got a peek into a lot of what they offer.

  18. Taylor on August 21, 2009 at 11:45 am

    You may be having problems with canning if your pressure cooker is not designed to be used as a canner (pressure canners can be used as cookers, but not vice versa). They use different construction and sealing methods, so it usually isn’t safe to use them as canners if they weren’t specifically designed for it- I bet that is why your jar broke.

    • Heather on August 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm

      I should have been more specific in the post. I did buy a pressure canner.

  19. ToyLady on August 21, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Me three – I love my pressure cooker and would ADORE more recipes using it, since it’s so sadly under-utilized in our house.

  20. Relishing Life on August 21, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I would love a series on pressure cooker recipes!! I have a pressure cooker who is sadly hanging out in the basement as he has only been used once – hmm, did I even use him once? – in the past 6 or so years. I would love to get him out and utilize him!!

  21. Billie on August 21, 2009 at 10:18 am

    I have a pressure cooker and love it – I would love if you did a series on pressure cooker recipes!!!

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