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Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm In Love

This will be a quickie, what I am in love with is the smaller version of a pressure cooker. A couple of days ago, I was at a friend's house, she had a brand new pressure cooker, it appears to be either a 4 or 6 quart, this is not a big, canner sized unit. We had been talking about learning how to use one, I looked at the booklet that came with it and saw that it cooks most things in minutes, yes in minutes! I was blown away, I knew that pressure cookers cooked much quicker, but I had no idea just how fast these work.

I found the page for pinto beans, it says to cook pinto beans for 3 to 6 minutes. I had to try it, so I found a bag of pintos, I picked the whole bag, but only used half the bag. I placed the beans in a bowl of water with a pinch of baking soda and covered it. The next day when I went over to my friend's house, I brought the fixens for making tortillas. I poured out the bean water, rinsed the beans, placed them in the pressure cooker, added a chopped onion and some chili powder. I poured water up to the half way mark, put on the lid, locked it down and put it on the fire. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to come up to pressure. Once up to pressure I turned down the flame, just enough to keep the rocker rocking. I timed it for 6 minutes, then remembered that at high altitude you have to add more cooking time so I added 2 more minutes.

I had serious doubts that it would be cooked completely through in that little time, but I followed the directions. I made a double batch of flour tortillas while the beans were cooking. Once the timer went off, I turned off the fire and allowed the pressure cooker to come down by itself. That took about 15 minutes, of course the beans are still cooking during that time. Once the tortillas were done, the beans were ready to come out, I was not sure that the cooker was fully de-pressurized so I put it in the sink and ran cold water over it. I didn't have to do that, but I felt better about opening it afterward.

Once opened, the beans were perfectly cooked, all were soft but not falling apart. I then seasoned it with salt and I minced a pickled serrano chili pepper, that went into the pot. Then we tasted it. It was delish! We ate a bowl of beans each, with a couple of rolled up tortillas to go with it. Man was it good! My friend has been eating these beans for the last two days, she tells me every day how good they are. Now I need to find our small pressure cooker, I have a canner, but I also have a smaller pressure cooker that will be perfect. We can't afford the propane or electricity to cook a pot of pintos in the traditional manner, cooking for hours and hours. With the pressure cooker, I can afford to run the propane for the amount of time it would take to cook a pot of beans. I'll post more about this soon, stay tuned!

OK, so this isn't as much as a quickie as I thought... I tried. LOL!

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  1. Pressure canners are wonderful things aren't they?

  2. What??? This is very exciting news! Ditto your propane issues for me, too. I love putting a pot of beans on and cooking them all day, but it uses too much propane. I thought about an electric skillet, but that's not right either. I need one of these smaller pressure cookers. I had beans with veggies and tortillas yesterday for lunch but the beans were canned (the organic canned pinto beans were on sale here last week). It's just not the same.

    You must have your tortilla making skills down to a science. That's some fast tortilla production!

  3. Yeah, SciFiChick, they are quite useful!

    G, yeah, I have my tortilla making skills down pretty well, honestly it doesn't take that much time to do, especially once you have made a few. You are right, canned beans, even the organic ones just aren't the same. I was in the hardware store in your part of town today, I looked at the pressure cookers and I couldn't believe how expensive they were! It's cheaper, even with shipping to order on line... go figure. We are still looking for our pressure cooker, I know where my big canner is, but I want the smaller one for cooking.

  4. Sounds like a great piece of equipment. I will have to keep an eye out for one myself. Right now I am looking for a real pressure canner.

  5. Cool, I need one I love Beans and your right it takes up to 4 hour`s to cook the regular way, so now I am going to have to find me one. I am going to a resale shop this afternoon I will be on the look out for one now. thank`s for the great idea. oh and I am loving the pattern`s you emailed me I have a binder going for all of my patterns. Thank`s again.

  6. I love it I am going to a resale shop this afternoon to look for yarn now I need to look for Pressure Cooker,it does take for ever to cook the regular way. oh thank you for the the pattern`s I have printed them and got them in a binder, thank you.

  7. Thanks Providence Acres - Sheryl Gallant

    Thanks craftycountrymomma, good luck finding yarn and a pressure cooker. If you find a pressure cooker used, chances are you will need to replace the rubber parts, but those parts aren't expensive at all and should be easily found at your local hardware store.

  8. I gotta get me one of those! That's awesome!

  9. Hi I just came across you site last night and love what you've done by living off the grid. I'd love to know more... like did you buy the piece of land your on? How long did it take you and hubby to make your home? And lots of others like so. I live in an apartment in Maine and so want to be free like this but I'm a widow and don't have all these skills...however I'm sure I could learn quick as I've always toughed it out any where I've been. But to truck up the mountain by myself hmm I just don't know. Can any one help me?

  10. Marcy, yeah, I can't believe I've taken this long to start using one.

    Anonymous-widow, glad you found and like my blog, we do own our property, we did everything ourselves (Bob did all the heavy work), we have been living here for 2+ years (this is our 3rd winter). You can live off grid just about anywhere, it doesn't have to be on a mountain side, just look for some cheap land, make sure there are few to no building codes, you can live in a mobile home, a trailer, those shed kits work nicely, you can also get plans to build a small cabin from my site, look at the top of the blog and click on "book reviews", find LaMar and you will have a good idea about how to build your own small cabin (it's not impossible to do).

    Read the rest of my blog to learn more about how we have done things, feel free to comment and ask questions, I enjoy interacting with all of you. Oh and please, use your name or make up a handle so I will know who you are when you comment.


  11. I have got to tell my wife to start looking for one of these in yard/garage/resale shops. Not off-grid yet, but love to lower our electric bill. And it is easy to replace all rubber gaskets! Used to do that for my mother.

  12. Thanks TexasMan, good luck, I hope you can find one cheap like that, I hate to think of how many pressure cookers are sitting unused in attics, basements, in that cabinet that no one opens... it's nice that the rubber parts are easy to replace.

  13. You might cook some things outside on
    a Dakota fire pit.

    Preheat pressure cooker with boiling water.
    Add boiling water to beans to shorten cooking time.

  14. I goit a little pressure canner this summer at a garage sale for $5. I am going to have to try cooking with it! thanks :) I'll check in here more. Your site is really coming along.

    your friend bus dweller lindy

  15. Thanks Vlad, sounds good, except for the burn bans we often have out here, might be safer in a pit though.

    LINDY!!!! :) What a good find, be sure the rubber parts are in good shape, did it come with the rocker too? If the rubber looks good, grease it with some veg oil. Have you used one before? It's kinda scary the first few times, I imagined all sorts of things going wrong as it comes up to pressure, but it's actually pretty safe, and the foods cool sooooo much faster, it's worth it.

  16. Aren't those little cookers wonderful.
    I love meat loaf and stuffed bell peppers made in them. My old cooker was such a joy in the hot humid south of Texas. Somehow it got lost on the way up here. Going to watch freecycle and find another one. They are great for cooking during hot summerdays. If you are careful, you can cook with them on the bbq pit. Just keep the fire hot enough to keep the steam flowing and all is well.
    What else have you cooked ? Recipes??



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