Pressure Cooking and Batch Cooking

I just LOVE both my pressure cookers, and since I bought them I wouldn’t do without either one!

This is something I had really never thought about before having to eat Paleo/AIP, but when you need to eat the way we do, it seems having a pressure cooker is the only way to manage cooking both quickly and in good size batches.

FagorMy first pressure cooker is a Fagor (which I bought while in Florida). This pressure cooker does just about everything except put the food in it (hehe)! Not only does it pressure cook, but it slow cooks, steams, browns, sautes, simmers, makes yogurt, white rice, brown rice and risotto, plus it keeps food warm, once cooked, for up to 12 hours. (I don’t personally eat any grains, but that doesn’t mean you can’t!) It also has a delay timer on it so that if you need to prepare food ahead of time and have it cook while you are at work or out shopping, you can set the delay to start when you need it to. The particular model I bought has an 8 quart capacity, which is great for large batch cooking recipes.

Instant PotMy second pressure cooker is an Instant Pot (which I bought in Canada). This one also does just about everything, but it only has a 6 quart capacity, so a bit smaller, but still very effective. It helps with slow cooking bone broth (recipe later), stews/soups, beans/chili, cooks poultry, makes rice, porridge, it steams, sautes, browns, makes yogurt, and of course pressure cooks. It also keeps food warm and has a 24-hour delay timer on it too.

These two items have kept me sane over the past year. Especially since everything I eat pretty much has to be cooked or eaten raw. They both make awesome “boiled” eggs, which are so very easy to peel and eat.

The beauty of these appliances is that it only takes about 1/4 to 1/3 (or more) the amount of time it would take if you made your meal without one, and your meats will come out done to perfection. One of my favorite meals is a stew. Just saute the meat, onions, and garlic in a bit of oil in the pressure cooker pot, then add your vegetables, some spices and liquid. Lock the lid and set to high pressure for about 12 minutes. It will actually take about 20 minutes as it has to build the pressure and heat the liquid first before it starts to time your meal. Once finished, it will beep to let you know it’s done. You then decide if you want to “quick” release the pressure, or allow it to “natural” release the pressure. Quick release (be very careful here) will release the steam all at once very quickly. Please stand back and allow for a lot of space above the cooker as the force of the steam is very great and you could burn yourself if you’re not careful. If you want to use the Natural release method, just leave the pressure cooker to cool down on its own for about 20-30 minutes. When you turn the pressure release valve, there should be no pressure left in the pot.

NOTE – I don’t want to scare anyone, but when you are going to remove the lid, make sure all the pressure has been released, otherwise you could cause damage to yourself and anything around you. Remember you are using seriously high pressure in a very small vessel, so it’s extremely important to release the pressure before removing the lid. SAFETY FIRST!

If you have a family, or are planning to be away, batch cooking is a great way to get ahead of your meals. Batch cooking is simply a method of cooking that allows you to make larger portions of food that can be stored or frozen for later use. Stews, soups, eggs, and bone broth all fall into this type of preparation, but of course there are many other meals/foods that can be made this way as well. If I haven’t posted these recipes, they will be at some point very soon as well as many more.

Batch cooking also falls under the idea of meal planning. I’m pretty bad at this subject as I don’t usually plan anything, unless it’s for a special occasion. Of course, the fact that I’m retired helps in that respect as I do have more time on my hands most of the time than the younger crowd. Because I’m mostly an impulse buyer, I buy what’s on sale or in season rather than making a plan a week in advance and then shop just for those meals. So any batch preparation happens when I buy large quantities of vegetables that need to be attended to very quickly. For instance, large heads of cauliflower – I usually rice and freeze right away so it’s ready to use when I need it. Or, when beets are on sale, I’ll cook up the beets and the greens and dice and freeze what I won’t be using right away.

If you are working, batch cooking is a great way to save you time. Meal preparation can be done on the weekend, or the beginning of the month, which will save you a ton of time during the week/month.

Before you begin your cooking, make sure you have all the ingredients you need ready for your recipes – spices, liquids (broth, water or milk), meats, vegetables. And ensure your meats and vegetables are cut into the portions you need for your recipes. This just makes it much easier for you to manage everything better.

One of the bloggers I follow (Sophie from Squirrel in the Kitchen) mentioned that when she buys her vegetables she immediately cuts them up into the sizes she needs for the week, then stores them in plastic zip lock type bags, or containers in the fridge. When she needs them, she just reaches into the bags and pulls out what she needs for any recipe – no extra preparation required at cooking time. Great idea, and may also help to organize your fridge a bit better.

If you have a large pressure cooker – it will make it easier to cook up large batches of food together. Pressure cooking doesn’t heat up your kitchen like the stove, or oven. However, saying this, if you don’t own a pressure cooker, using a dutch oven, or large roasting pan to make your meals also works well. Just make sure you are able to manage your entire recipe in one container for cooking.

Have lots of containers to store your foods away. You will need:

  • Glass containers in various sizes with lids that seal properly for the fridge or freezer.
  • Large and medium size zip-lock style freezer bags.
  • Food Saver bags and containers that can be used for long term storage of meals.
  • BPA free containers with lids that seal well for the fridge or freezer.

Portion pack your meals for the number you will need at one time. Store in your fridge for short term storage (less than a week), or freezer for longer term storage.

When you have everything together for your meal preparation, it will make life so much easier for you to batch cook successfully.

 


Maxi-Matic EPC-808
Amazon.ca

Instant Pot IP-DUO60
Amazon.ca