Pressure cooking has been with us for quite a while now and it seems to be the solution most people have found around their busy schedules. It is now easier for working mothers to go to work and excel at what they do and still come back home and prepare the best meals for their families. However, there have been several pressure cooking myths that have been going around which we seek to demystify here today. Below are three myths about pressure cookers and the facts behind them.
Myth: Pressure cooking destroys all the minerals and vitamins from food.
Using a pressure cooker guarantees the preservation of more vitamins and nutrients than regular cooking. With pressure cooking, the fluid is spared and re-utilized during the cooking process which guarantees the preservation of all the nutrients found in vegetables. Several studies have shown that pressure cooking is one of the few cooking practices that jam the most minerals and vitamins.
While studies have not been conclusive on the exact quantity of vitamins and minerals that are preserved using pressure cookers, the science behind pressure cooking has been instrumental in supporting the fact that more vitamins and minerals are preserved while using a pressure cooker than while using regular cooking methods.
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To date, there has been no conclusive experiment that seems to justify whether pressure cooking destroys vitamins and minerals or not. However, the pressure cooking itself works with the principle of reciprocation that ensures the evaporated fluid is retained within the cooker and re-utilized to ensure all the nutrients and flavours are retained within the pot.
Myth: High temperatures in pressure cookers make carcinogens such as those found when barbecuing.
Pressure cooking, unlike the other cooking methods, is free of acrylamide and other toxic mixes.
Carcinogenic compounds are common in starchy foods such as potatoes. They are formed when these foods are cooked at extremely high temperatures of about 120C. Now, with pressure cooking, it is very easy for temperatures to rise above 120C. The temperatures may cross over the mark by up to 3 degrees. However, even under these circumstances, the carcinogens do not develop thanks to the moist environment in pressure cookers.
Research conducted by a Swiss team revealed that potatoes could be pressure cooked for up to 20 minutes and still there would be no trace of acrylamide. However, if the same potatoes are exposed to regular cooking at the same temperature, for the same amount of time, carcinogens would easily develop.
Myth: Pressure cooked food is sterilized to eliminate the need for refrigeration.
It is no doubt that pressure cooking can sterilize food. But this requires a great amount of energy to achieve. It requires a pressure cooker with an energy of up to 15 PSI to run at high pressure for 30 minutes to get to the clinical sterilization level. For those pressure cookers with no capability to achieve 15 PSI, more time is required for clinical sterilization. However, it is highly unlikely that you will come across a recipe that required more than 30 minutes of cooking time with a pressure cooker.
With a pressure cooker, food that has been cooked for less than 30 minutes will still contain almost the same quantity of bacteria as food that has been cooked without pressure. However, the fact remains that food that has been pressure cooked will contain much fewer bacteria responsible for food poisoning such as Listeria.
However, you should follow the guidelines for storing regularly cooked food while storing pressure cooked food. This will help you avoid turning the contents of your pressure cooker into a pool of bacteria.
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In conclusion, the myths propagated about pressure cookers are not only false but misleading. Pressure cooking remains one of the most convenient and effective ways of cooking food, especially for working parents with little time on their hands when they get back home. It is not only fast but also preserves more nutrients than regular cooking. Pressure cookers are also known to consume less energy due to the little amount of time required to prepare a meal.