by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© March 2017, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
More Yang Food
Types Of Pressure Cookers
Using A Stove-Top Pressure Cooker
Using A Plug-In Electric Pressure Cooker
Grains And Cereals
Pressure-cooking is officially the best way to cook food for a nutritional balancing program. The main reason is that the food will be more yang. The food also tastes better, cooking is extremely fast, and cleanup is easy.
WHAT IS A PRESSURE COOKER?
It is a special pot that is designed to raise the pressure inside so that food cooks at a somewhat higher temperature. As a result, food cooks much faster, and the higher pressure makes the food more yang.
Design. Pressure cookers all have a tight-fitting lid and a rubber seal between the lid and the pot. One puts a little water in the cooker, and brings it to a boil. If one continues to apply heat, the pressure inside the pot rises, and this forms super-heated steam - or steam at a higher temperature.
Very fast cooking. The combination of higher pressure and higher temperature cooks the food 3 to 5 times faster than steaming or boiling the food. Yet pressure cooking does much less damage to food than other fast or high-temperature methods of cooking.
Easy cleaning. The super-heated steam in a pressure cooker cuts the grease and makes cleanup much easier.
More yang food. The added pressure causes the food to become more yang, which is a great advantage. For more on this topic, read Yin And Yang Healing on this site.
Drawbacks. Be sure to release the pressure in the pressure cooker as soon as the timer indicates that cooking time is over. Otherwise, you can overcook food.
Some people find the high pressure more scary, at first. However, the units work well and are quite safe. It takes a little time to become comfortable with a pressure cooker.
BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT PRESSURE COOKERS
Types. The two types of pressure cookers are 1) simple ones that sit on the stove top, and 2) plug-in electric units that have automatic timers.
Sizes. Pressure cookers come in 4, 6, 8 and even larger sizes. For one or two people, a 4 or 6-quart size is excellent. If you are feeding more people, you may prefer a larger unit.
Materials. Pressure cookers are made of either stainless steel or aluminum. We prefer stainless steel. It is stronger, longer lasting, and does not contaminate the food, as can occur with aluminum. The only drawback is that steel is heavier than aluminum. A stainless steel unit with a layer of aluminum on the bottom to spread the heat is fine.
Brands. Common stove-top brands include Presto, T-Fal and Fagor.
Among the plug-in electric cookers, one company makes most, if not all of them. They are sold under different names at different prices. A higher end brand is Instant Pot. The least expensive is Castle Creek. I am told that the basic pot is identical. Instant Pot features more time settings and a stainless steel inner bin. Castle Creek uses a ceramic non-stick coated inner bin and costs at least $50.00 less.
Cost. Stove-top pressure cookers cost between $50-90.00 USD. Plug-in electric pressure cookers usually cost a little more.
SHOULD I BUY A STOVE-TOP OR A PLUG-IN ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER?
Factors to consider are:
1. Food quality. Some research indicates that the food quality is slightly better when cooked in the stove-top unit, perhaps because the food is further away from the electrical heating coils.
2. Weight. Stove-top pressure cookers, especially those made of stainless steel, are heavier to wash and move around.
The plug-in ones have a light-weight interior cooking bin, which is all you need to clean. The main unit just sits on the counter and doesn’t need cleaning.
3. Pressure-release lever. Some brands of stove-top pressure cookers have a pressure-release lever. This is handy. If your cooker does not have one, you must tilt the weight on the top of the cooker to release the pressure. Never remove the weight while there is pressure in the cooker. This would spew steam and food all over your ceiling!
The plug-in pressure cookers all have a pressure release button for the same purpose.
4. Timers. The stove-top units do not have a timer, so you will need to supply one. You also must turn the unit off when the timer rings.
The plug-in units come with an electronic timer and automatically shut off when they reach the desired time.
5. Pressure control. With a stove-top unit, when the top starts to vibrate, you must turn down the heat on the stove about half way – just enough to maintain the pressure.
With a plug-in electric unit, when the unit reaches the correct pressure, it automatically turns down the heat to just maintain the right pressure.
6. Handles. The stove-top units come with a handle. This makes moving the unit about much easier.
The plug-in units do not have a handle on the inner bin that holds the food. Therefore, you cannot tilt or move the inner bin when the food is ready. This might be slightly inconvenient.
7. Counter space. The stove-top unit does not require any counter space. The plug-in type requires a space on the counter or other area, but does not require a stove.
1. It is a good idea to read the instructions that come with your pressure cooker.
2. Always drink the water in which you cook your vegetables. It is very rich in minerals and tastes delicious.
BASIC PROCEDURE WITH A STOVE-TOP PRESSURE COOKER
For vegetables and meat, put about ½ inch of water or a little less in the bottom of the unit before adding vegetables or meat.
If you are cooking grains or legumes, you will need to add the proper amount of water, depending on the food and how much you are cooking (see below).
Turn on the stove to “High”. Close the cover of the pressure cooker. Within several minutes, the top of the pressure cooker will begin to make a hissing sound and vibrate.
Now turn down the stove to about one-third to one-half heat. You will have to experiment to see how much heat you need with your stove to keep the top of the cooker vibrating just a little.
Set the timer. When the timer rings, take the cooker off the hot burner and release the pressure.
RELEASING THE PRESSURE: It may be helpful to release the pressure by tilting the top or pushing the release button on the cooker. This maneuver is a bit scary, but is safe if you are careful with it. To keep the steam from going everywhere, I place a coffee mug over the weight after I have tilted the weight to release the pressure.
It will take about 20-30 seconds for the pressure to release. Then open the pressure cooker and the food is ready.
WARNING: Never remove the weight on the top of the cooker while the pot has pressure! If you do, it will spew steam all over your ceiling.
COOKING PROCEDURE WITH A PLUG-IN ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER
Follow the instructions that come with the machine. You do not need to turn down the cooking heat when the cooker reaches its operating pressure.
Also, the electric units have an automatic shutoff switch, so you usually will not need to turn off the unit when the time is up. Plug-in units also usually have a lever that releases the steam quickly.
The cooking time with a pressure cooker is more important than if one is steaming or baking, for example, because the food cooks very fast. Cooking time might depends, in part, upon your altitude.
Our favorite vegetables are red cabbage, all onions – red, yellow, white, green, large, small and shallots, carrots, cauliflowers (white, orange and purple), green beans, rutabaga, Brussels sprouts and broccolini or brocollete or baby broccoli. A little garlic and ginger are also good.
General. For the most yang vegetables, pick the smallest ones.
Preparation. Rinse your vegetables and cut them into bite-sized chunks. Cooking them until they are soft will then take about 5 minutes.
Pressure release. It is best to release the pressure in the pressure cooker as soon as the timer rings. Otherwise, the vegetables or other food will continue to cook until the pressure goes out of the cooker.
Cauliflower. The leaves of the cauliflower are extremely healthful. Just rinse and cut up a leaf into small pieces and add to your vegetables.
Rutabaga. Slice it very thin to have it cook in about 5 minutes. However, it is delicious cooked this way, and loses its somewhat disagreeable taste.
Ginger. Use very little and slice it extremely thin. In the pressure cooker, its taste is quite strong.
Pressure-cooking is excellent for meats. The procedure is similar to cooking vegetables. First put about ¼” of water in the bottom of the cooker, and then add the meat.
You can cook meats with vegetables at the same time. Cutting the meat into 1.5 inch chunks or into slices that are less than about 1.5 inches in thickness will speed up cooking to between 5 and 7 minutes.
Otherwise, some meat such as chicken legs, lamb and certainly larger pieces of meat or a whole chicken, for example, will take longer.
Chicken thigh (skinless and boneless) – 5-8 minutes.
Whole chicken leg – 8 minutes, or about 5 minutes if you place a few deep cuts in the chicken leg. I cook chicken in the same pot with the vegetables.
Turkey – cooking takes a little more time than chicken because legs and thighs are larger. The exact time will depend also on whether you cut it up before cooking.
Lamb chop – About 5 minutes for a medium sized chop. If it is large, put a few cuts in it to make it cook faster.
Other lamb – depends on the thickness of the cut of meat, and if you cut it up before placing it in the pressure cooker.
Bone Broth. This is excellent cooked in a pressure cooker, although it comes out more watery and not quite a sweet and milky.
For one person, place about 3-4 chicken, beef or lamb bones in the pressure cooker. Add between 1.5 and 2 cups of water. Pressure cook for 25 minutes. This is much faster than cooking for 3-4 hours in a regular pot. Do not cook bone broth more than this. For more details, read Bone Broth.
COOKING GRAINS AND CEREALS
The main grain food I suggest is blue corn chips or blue corn tortillas if you can find them. Eat other grain foods sparingly, perhaps twice a week.
Cooking grains and cereals is a little more work than cooking vegetables and meats because you need to add the right amount of water. In most cases, it is about twice as much water as grain, or a little more.
For example, a portion of grain may require about 1 cup of water and ½ cup of rice or millet.
Rice. Takes about 20-25 minutes to cook and may be a little more chewy than when cooked the usual way. One idea is to start the rice first and set the timer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut up your vegetables. When the timer rings, open the pressure cooker and add the vegetables and cook the two for another 5 minutes.
Millet. 7-10 minutes. Millet comes out a little more chewy, but very good.
Oats. BEWARE. Oats can clog up the pressure release valve in a pressure cooker and make a mess. We do not suggest making oatmeal or steel cut oats in a pressure cooker for this reason.
Pressure cookers are excellent for cooking all types of dried beans, lentils, split peas and other dried legumes. However, we do not recommend eating these foods more than twice per week because they are quite yin and low in etheric energy.
The cooking time varies with the size and shape of the bean. A larger bean such as pinto beans or kidney beans will usually take about 20-30 minutes.
Smaller beans and lentils will cook in 10-20 minutes. You may need to experiment to find the exact time for each legume.