Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pressure Cooker

For all you young mothers and wives...don't be afraid of the pressure cooker!  I honestly don't know what I would do without mine.  I've had a few problems with the older ones and dry beans or peas getting stuck in the valve - you are NOT supposed to cook them in a pressure cooker anyway, however I still do. Once you made bean or pea soup this way...you won't waste your time the old way.

Cooking in a pressure cooker is a real time saver.  You can take frozen meat put in your pressure cooker with either water or stock and in no time have the most tender meat to finish any way you want.  It not only cooks fast but also tenderizes and keeps flavorful juices in the kettle. 

Today I am making beef veggie soup.  I am using our own home raised beef - not the good cuts either - bones etc.  I put them in frozen with onions, celery, carrots, garlic and parsly - add water just about half the kettle - cook for about 30 minutes at 10# of pressure.  When it is cooled, I open it up take out the meat, strain off the veggies - I only added to make a flavorful stock.   If I have time, I will put this in the freezer so that the fat comes to the top - if you don't have time - my Mom use to do a trick where you put icecubes in the stock and the fat sticks to the cubes. The fat will make a hard layer on top that you can throw away - if you want a fattier stock, don't do this step.   While it is in the freezer, I then de-bone and de-fat the meat, dice it or pull it off the bones and add back to the original stock.  I then add the veggies.  This is also a healthy way to cook as you can keep the flavor in the meat without all the fat. 

I also can ALL of my garden vegetables this way.  Last year I made jars of veggie soup base - beans, tomatoes, corn ...whatever I had that day from the garden, added barley and filled the jars with water, 1 tsp. of salt and pressure cooked the jars.  Now, I add this to the previously cooked stock and meat....all natural and home raised.

This year I want to can some meat.  My friend Kathy makes homemade meatballs, packs the jars loosely, fills with water and 1 tsp. salt and pressure cans the jars.  She said it is like sweedish meatballs and she only has to warm them up while her noodles are boiling and in no time has a great meal.  I have heard that canned fish is great too.