A pressure cooker allows you to cook certain foods conveniently and with less water, especially grains. On the down side, pressure cookers are dangerous, they need to be repaired a lot, and, in the opinion of many, don't make food as tasty. Seasonings must be added in the beginning or the end.
Commercial pressure cookers are no longer manufactured in the U.S. If you want to buy a pressure cooker, a cannery supplier may he your best bet, although you may get lucky at a kitchen supply store. Cannery people make their living with pressure cooking, so for parts advice and other stuff ask these folx. Expect to spend at least $600 for a cooker.
To cook tough beans we combine beans with two parts water and heat to 15 psi (pounds per square inch), then turn off the heat and let it cool to normal. With lentils, peas, and very small beans, do the same except go to 10 psi. Also go to IO psi for grains (brown rice, barley) and use less water. Less water is needed for pressure cooking than normal cooking. Salt grains before cooking, beans after cooking.
Note: Pressure cookers are more dangerous than freight trains so follow ALL of these rules:
* Don't forget about the pressure cooker on the stove; the pressure will go too high, the stopper will shoot out and the contents will be on the ceiling. Otherwise it will really explode and metal will shoot everywhere.
* The pressure cooker should be in top-notch condition.
Here are some handy maintenance tips:
-In a bolt and wingnut design, replace bolts and wingnuts
that are stripped or damaged. For a screw top design, toss the cooker
if the threads are stripped.
* Don't fill to the top with food and water, leave extra room at the top (20 of the volume).
* Don't open the cooker until the pressure is zero. Opening at 1 psi may harm you or the cooker, and will almost certainly splatter food everywhere. Any higher may kill you.