Whipping up scrumptious dinners for your family can be a huge headache, especially if you’re too busy or too lazy to get started. However, with the right tools and appliances, preparing nutritious and delicious meals can become much easier. Microwaves and ovens are two of the most common kitchen appliances we know, but there are two other kitchen appliances that can help make cooking easier – pressure cookers and slow cookers.
Pressure cookers and slow cookers are two very different appliances that can be used to cook food easily, but they operate in very different ways. If you’re contemplating between buying pressure cookers or slow cookers, this article will explain the differences and help you make a decision.
What are Pressure Cookers?
Pressure cookers are designed to resemble regular pots, with lids that can be tightly clamped down to prevent heat and steam from escaping. The majority of pressure cookers available today can be placed on any surface and plugged into a power source to cook meals.
How do they Work?
After adding your ingredients and desired amount of liquid to the pot, the liquid is heated and converted into steam. Because of the tight lid, steam is trapped inside the pot, raising the pressure and temperature and cooking food 70% faster than if it were cooked on a stovetop. Due to the lack of evaporation, this steam also helps to keep food moist, tenderise it, retain nutrients, and extract flavour more efficiently.
You can cook a variety of foods in a pressure cooker, including pot roast, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, barbecue ribs, beef brisket, rice, pasta dishes, and many more, thanks to the range of different cooking presets. You’ll also have fewer dishes to clean because you’re only using one pot to cook.
What to look for in a Pressure Cooker?
The size of the pressure cooker you choose will depend on how many people you need to cook for on a daily basis. A small pressure cooker will suffice for smaller families. However, for larger families, larger pressure cookers, such as a 6-litre cooker, can be used to cook more food at once. Remember to take into consideration extra space for steam and foam, as pressure cookers should only be filled about two-thirds of the way for most dishes and only halfway for foods that produce foam while cooking.2. Liner Material
Pressure cooker liners come in a variety of materials, including nonstick coated inserts for easier cleaning after cooking, stainless steel liners to withstand repeated cooking, and others. Consider getting pressure cookers with nonstick pots if you prefer a pot that is easy to clean. However, keep in mind that these nonstick options cannot be scrubbed with steel wool or abrasive materials, nor can they be washed in a dishwasher.
3. Safety Features
Pressure cookers cook with a lot of pressure and hot steam, which can be dangerous if not handled properly. Hence, it is critical that these cookers include safety features such as lid locks to prevent the lid from opening while the food is cooking under pressure, regulators to ensure that the pressure does not become too high, and external heat-resistant materials for safe handling and burn prevention. Some pressure cookers have a limited number of safety features, while others have up to 18 protection systems for maximum safety.
4. Cooking Functions
What good is a pressure cooker if it can only cook one type of food? Choose a pressure cooker with a variety of cooking functions so that you can use its technology to prepare different dishes for your family every day.
What is a Slow Cooker?
Slow cookers are used to cook food slowly and gently for long periods of time, typically between 4 and 10 hours. They are also electrical appliances that are filled with food and plugged into a power source to assist you in cooking your food while you sleep or get on with your day’s tasks.
How do they Work?
Slow cookers use moist heat to cook food slowly, whereas pressure cookers use high pressure to cook food quickly. Food is placed in a ceramic or porcelain pot, heated with an attached heating element, and then cooked for hours, resulting in flavourful dishes or soft falling-off-the-bone meats.
These cookers typically have three settings: high, medium, and low, with no temperature or timer. Some dishes you can cook in a slow cooker include soups and stews, cheese dips, beef stroganoff, shredded meat, lasagna, meatballs and even brownies.
What to look for in a Slow Cooker?
The size of your slow cooker is important, just like it is with pressure cookers. If you regularly cook for large groups of people, you will need a large cooker. Most slow cookers are designed for small groups and small amounts of food, but there are a few 5-litre or 6-litre slow cookers that can accommodate more food.2. Method of Heating
Some slow cookers have a heating element that only sits on the bottom of the cooker, preventing heat from being distributed evenly. Look for slow cookers with heating elements that extend up the side of the base for even cooking.
3. Lid Material
Allowing slow cookers to cook without repeatedly opening the lid will prevent heat from escaping, which may lead to extended cooking times. Slow cookers with glass lids are great because you can see what’s going on without having to remove the lid.
4. Settings and Accessories
A slow cooker can be extremely useful if it has a variety of useful functions and accessories, such as a timer to turn the machine on or off, automatic keep warm settings, and digital controls. For more variety during your meals, consider getting one with 11 cooking programmes.
The automatic keep warm setting is a great feature because it allows you to come home to warm, but not overcooked, food.
The cooker you choose will be determined by your lifestyle habits, schedule, and needs. For example, if you don’t have time to cook and prepare food, a pressure cooker will suit you best. If you have time to prepare food in the mornings but not after work, a slow cooker is perfect. Your preference for food will also influence your decision.
Alternatively, there are all-in-one cookers that combine pressure cooking and slow cooking functions in a single appliance, allowing you to get the best of both worlds.
Shop a variety of pressure cookers and slow cookers at Harvey Norman Singapore.