Not long ago, I feared pressure cookers. As a child, I’d seen an old-fashioned pressure cooker explode. This bred an inherent distrust of the kitchen appliance into my bones, so when I’d read as an adult that pressure cookers weren’t healthy because they were “hard on nutrients,” I believed the claim without question.
It’s only now, many years later, that I did my own research on the question of whether or not pressure cooking is healthy and decided that it really can be. More than that, I’d even argue that it’s the best way to preserve nutrients in some cooked foods.
With that question settled, I knew I had to find a pressure cooker I could trust, a pressure cooker that would NOT explode on me, a pressure cooker that was easy to use but ultra safe. I chose advanced BRK pressure cookers.
Advantages of Pressure Cookers
So, I decided pressure cooking is healthy. So what? Why would I choose to use a pressure cooker instead of some other option like a crock pot or my oven?
Pressure Cookers Save Time
Perhaps the single biggest reason to use pressure cookers is that they save time. You can reduce cooking times on many dishes by 60-80%!
I am the worst when it comes to meal planning. I’ve got friends who plan out menus for the entire month, others who plan them out a week at a time. I am not those ladies, although I’ve sometimes made short-lived attempts at doing what they do. I don’t even plan what we’re going to have for dinner until about an hour before I start cooking (sometimes not even that much). My favorite meal plan is to take out what I used the vacuum sealer on and re-heat.
So what happens on a day when I’ve been thoroughly busy and distracted and suddenly it’s 6pm and I’ve done absolutely nothing to get dinner on the table? No meat is defrosted. No veggies sorted. Nothing is planned, set aside, or ready. No leftovers are available to quickly dress up.
Well, until I embraced pressure cookers, dinner on those nights was either scrambled eggs, quesadillas, or dining out.
Now, I can quickly prepare a hearty beef stew, sausage and kraut, or rice-based casseroles instead. In the pressure cooker these meals take about a half hour from start to finish — even if my meat starts frozen!
The other night I made risotto in 15 minutes, including prep time! (Risotto, as you know, normally requires slow-cooking rice while you stand over the stove constantly stirring for 45 minutes.)
Pressure Cookers Save Energy
Because of their reduced cooking times, pressure cookers are also far more energy efficient than other cooking methods.
Yes, I’ve opted for using entirely renewable energy in my home, but it sure is nice to know I’m further reducing our energy usage. Lower electric bills are always welcome!
And, for those who don’t have the choice to use renewable energy, you can use pressure cookers to have a greener, cleaner conscience.
Advanced BRK Pressure Cookers Are Ultra-Safe
When talking to others, I’ve always said the BRKs are bomb-proof. They certainly feel that way with their durable and heavy 3-ply stainless steel!
Unlike the first generation pressure cookers I grew up with, advanced BRK pressure cookers come with a lot of built in redundant safety systems.
Let’s take a look at the advanced BRK pressure cooker’s features.
(This graphic is taken directly from my user manual.)
Feature #1 — One-handed Lid
Advanced BRK pressure cookers are the only pressure cookers in the world with a patented lid that can be operated with just one hand.
Guys, this is so easy to use! You just squeeze the knob, press the lid down, release your squeeze, and the lid clamps in place.
Having a free hand when sealing and unsealing the lid is a definite plus as far as safety features go. This is the way we’re used to cooking — using one hand to remove a lid while the other hand stands poised with a wooden spoon to stir the pot, or poised on the pot’s handle ready to move it off the heat, or poised with a hot pad (you get the idea). By staying true to the way we’re used to cooking, accidents are far less likely to happen.
Feature #2 — Pressure Regulator Valve with Outer Knob
This is perhaps my favorite feature of the advanced BRK pressure cookers. It’s a continuously adjustable pressure-regulating valve.
If you haven’t cooked with a pressure cooker before, you may not realize why this is so unique. This pressure-regulating valve quietly and automatically maintains the pressure you choose. Like most such valves, it will release steam to lower the pressure inside the cooker. But what’s unique is that the knob to adjust it is right there alongside it in a position that not only allows you to adjust the pressure at anytime in the cooking process, but ALSO keeps your hands to the side of the releasing steam so you won’t accidentally get a blast of steam on your hands.
Feature #3 — Safety Valve and Pressure Indicator
Yay for redundancy! In advanced BKR pressure cookers, this safety valve acts as a backup to the primary pressure regulator valve. Like that valve, it can also allow steam to escape if the pressure builds too high inside the cooker.
It also pops up when the cooker reaches your desired pre-set pressure, and drops when the pressure inside is back to normal. So long as you make no attempt to open the lid of your pressure cooker while this valve is in the popped up position, you can entirely avoid the exploding lid mishaps so common to older models!
Feature #4 — Safety Window
TRIPLE redundancy! Now this … this is what makes the advanced BRK pressure cookers seem bombproof to me. If by any unlikely chance you’ve accidentally over-pressurized your pressure cooker so much that it can’t release enough steam through the primary pressure regulator valve in combination with the secondary safety valve, this baby will gently and safely push out a certain section of the seal while the lid stays firmly in place on the pot and quickly de-pressurize the entire system!
Feature #5 — Fill Markings
On most appliances, I don’t find fill lines all that useful. That’s because I pre-measure my ingredients before I put them in so that I already know exactly how much liquid I’m using, etc.
But in this case, the fill lines act as yet another safety measure, giving you a distinct visual aide for the minimum and maximum fill levels. Stay within these lines, and you’re far less likely to have weird, starchy foam escape through your pressure valves when cooking grains, potatoes, or legumes. You’re also far less likely to overfill your pressure cooker!
Feature #6 — Lid with Sealing Ring
Unlike other pressure cookers, the advanced BRK pressure cookers come with a lid that seals all the way around the pot.
I don’t know if this actually makes the lid more secure or not, but it sure does feel like it does!
Feature #7 — Flame-protected Handles
In yet another safety feature every one will enjoy, particularly those who cook on gas burners, the advanced BRK pressure cookers come with flame-resistant handles so that you won’t accidentally burn your hands when handling them. YAY.
Feature #8 — Cooker Pot & Inserts
In my advanced BRK pressure cooker system, the cooker pot, vegetable steamer, and roasting trivet inserts are all made of high-quality, ultra-durable 18/10 stainless steel. Translation? I don’t have to worry about leaching toxic heavy metals into my food!
The only molecules likely to be wiggling out and leaching into your food from 18/10 stainless steel are all things our body needs anyway — iron, chromium, manganese, and small amounts of nickel. While that chromium and nickel may be of some concern because they are considered heavy metals, they’re also metals that most of us are slightly deficient in anyway.
Feature #9 — Forged “Thermal Sandwich” Base
What’s a “thermal sandwich”? Basically, it’s a way of saying that this pressure cooker has a base that can heat uniformly, allowing you to do things like brown meats in it before you finish cooking them with pressure.
It also means that advanced BRK pressure cookers will work with all types of cook tops, too: electric, gas, ceramic or induction. It’s made by sealing an alloy heat-conducting disk into the stainless steel base of the pot.
Where to Buy Advanced BRK Pressure Cookers
I got my own advanced BRK pressure cooker system from one of my sponsors, Pleasant Hill Grain.
It came with:
- a 4 qt. pressure cooker base,
- a 7qt. pressure cooker base,
- two glass lids,
- a pressure lid,
- a roasting trivet,
- and a vegetable steamer basket.
So, I can mix and match pots and lids to suit my needs.
For example, on my husband’s 39th birthday last week, I cooked a pot roast in the bottom of the 7qt. pot, then topped it with the steamer basket full of potatoes to keep those out of the liquid and ready for mashing. The pot roast and potatoes cooked on high pressure for about 40 minutes, and then I released the pressure naturally. At the same time that the roast was going, I put a small layer of water at the bottom of the 4qt pot, then topped that with the roasting trivet and a pile of other veggies to steam them (without the pressure lid).
Even including all prep time, I had the complete meal of pot roast, mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies cooked within a little less than an hour!
Now, that’s versatility.
If you’re thinking about buying one, I highly suggest you check out Pleasant Hill Grain’s complete line of advanced BRK pressure cookers today.