For years, my wife has used a pressure cooker for many things, including canning. They are efficient and cook your food quickly. In any disaster situation, fuel is in short supply. If you are cooking over an open fire, you have to work to find, carry, cut, and stack the firewood. Other fuels such as propane or petroleum-based fuels will all run out eventually. So anything that speeds up your cooking is energy saving.
Some examples how much time a pressure cooker can save you
- Black beans 3-6 minutes
- Pinto beans 1-3 minutes
- Bulgar wheat 8-10 minutes
- Spelt berries 15 minutes
- Wheat berries 30 minutes
- Beef cubes 1 inch 10-15 minutes
- Beef stew 15-20 minutes
- Potatoes, whole large 10-14 minutes
- Corn on the cob 3 minutes
From these example you can see how much shorter than normal the cooking times are.
I would strongly suggest that you obtain a pressure cooker, particularly if you are planning to bug in. As you can imagine they are a bit too heavy for your bug out bag. You need to learn how to cook with a pressure cooker.
Some rules to follow to cook safely.
- Never overfill the cooker. For most foods, never fill them more than two-thirds full. Foods like beans and grains, which tend to swell as they cook, should only fill about half of the cooker. If you overfill, the foods can swell and block the relief vent. I saw this happen once, when the top blew off a pressure cooker throwing cabbage all over the kitchen. .
- Use enough liquid. A pressure cooker needs liquid to create the steam that cooks the food. Most recipe will take this into account, however if you’re creating your own, you’ll need at least 1 cup of water or other liquids.
- Be careful cooking foods that foam. The foaming can block the pressure release vents. Foods that foam include pasta, split peas, oatmeal, rhubarb, applesauce and cranberries. If you do want to cook these foods, be sure that the quantity in the pot is well below the recommended maximum fill line.
- Release pressure in a safe way.
- There are three ways of releasing pressure. The Natural Release Method: This method is best used for foods that require longer periods of cooking. Allowing the pressure cooker to cool down naturally can allow it to continue cooking for an extra 10-20 minutes.
- The Quick Release Method: Most old pressure cookers, and all new pressure cookers, have a quick release button in the lid. When this button is pressed, the pressure is slowly released from the cooker.
- The Cold Water Release Method: This is the fastest way to reduce pressure. Do not use this method with an electric pressure cooker. Take the pressure cooker and place it under a water faucet. Run cold water on the lid until the pressure drops. Avoid running the water directly on the pressure regulator or vent. This is the fastest way to release pressure.
Always read the instruction that came with your pressure cooker and follow them. If your pressure cooker has a gasket in the lid, be sure and stock an extra one. We use an All American pressure cooker which does not require a gasket. My wife loves ours and we will recommend it. She uses it mostly for canning.
However that being said there are several good brands on the market. Whatever brand you buy, follow the instructions and use it safely.