There are so many different appliances to help you in the kitchen, with different uses for different things.
Two of the most popular kitchen appliances are slow cookers and pressure cookers. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, but they are very different pieces of technology, although they both help you produce wonderful, tasty, and nutritious meals.
If you are thinking of investing, but can’t afford to buy both, it’s best to know the difference between them.
What Is A Slow Cooker?
A slow cooker cooks food, well, slowly. Slow cookers are very useful for having a meal ready for you when you get home from a long day at work.
A slow cooker is similar in a lot of ways to cook on an oven hob, that is, the heat is applied at the base of the cooker and moves up, and steam is allowed to escape at the top.
The temperature is kept low, for a set period of time. You can choose the time and the temperature that suits you. Slow cookers use very little energy and are very safe to leave on all day or overnight, whichever you need.
This is my favorite slow cooker recipe, Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork!
What Is A Pressure Cooker?
A pressure cooker cooks food much faster than a slower cooker, and in fact much faster than conventional cooking, so it is very useful when you need to make a meal in a hurry.
How does it work? Well, a pressure cooker uses steam that is pressurized to cook the food within. The lid on a pressure cooker is completely sealed so that the steam that is created does not leave the cooker and cooks the food very quickly whilst retaining the flavors and the moisture. Cooking time in a pressure cooker can take only a matter of minutes.
What Can You Cook?
You can cook pretty much anything and everything in either a pressure cooker or a slow cooker, from eggs to stews, to porridge to cakes. Both create wonderfully flavorsome meals.
Pressure cookers cook food very quickly, and can even cook things like rice, or tough vegetables in only a few minutes.
Slow cookers are brilliant for tough cuts of meat and things like stews. The longer cooking times means that the collagen and fibers in tough meat become very soft, with an almost melting texture, and those same cooking times will also allow all the ingredients and flavors to mix together to create wonderful food.
Check out these instant pot recipes for beginners.
What Are The Benefits?
Pressure cookers are very quick, and you can quickly have a meal from within a few minutes to 45 minutes or so, depending on your choice of dinner.
Slow cookers can be left on all day whilst you’re at work, so that you have a hot meal awaiting you when you arrive home, but this does mean you need to be organized in the morning by putting all the ingredients in the cooker itself.
Pressure cookers use much less energy than other means of cooking, as they are only used for a short period of time.
Slow cookers are very energy efficient and are safe to leave on for long periods of time, and their energy usage is very comparable to a pressure cooker.
Can They Do Anything Else?
A slow cooker is only available as a plug-in piece of equipment. This means it is only able to do the purpose it was made for, namely, being a slow cooker.
Pressure cookers come in two forms, the electric plug-in kind, and the stovetop kind. The electric one, as with the slow cooker, can only have one function. However, the stovetop one can also be used as a normal saucepan as well.
This multi-function not only saves room in your cupboards, but it will allow you to cook food before you start pressure cooking. So, if you want to brown some meat, or slow cook some onions first, you could, and then you could add the rest of your ingredients and pressure cook away!
Do You Need To Add Water?
Well, it doesn’t have to be plain water, but both these types of cookers will need some type of liquid added to cook the food.
With a slow cooker, you will need to add enough liquid to almost fully submerge the ingredients, and it will evaporate slowly throughout the day, and the steam is gently let out of the top.
A pressure cooker, on the other hand, needs much less water. Because the water vapor is not allowed out of the cooker, you don’t need nearly as much liquid to cook your food.
Are They Safe?
As with anything in this world, there is always a small element of risk. However, this can be negated if you properly read the instruction manual, and follow what is laid out.
Both types of cooker will need care and maintenance, they will both need proper cleaning and checking for any breaks or splits.
In pressure cookers, the rubber gasket around the lid is extremely important and keeps the cooker functioning, so this needs to be inspected regularly.
Gone are the days of the terrifying, huge hissing and spitting pressure cookers our parents used to use. Things have moved on exponentially, and modern pressure cookers are much safer to use.
Slow cookers use approximately the same energy as three 100 watt light bulbs, and as the heat is kept so low, they are safe to leave on for long periods of time.
Which Do You Need?
The answer to this question lies with you, and how you want it to fit in with your lifestyle. If you are very organized and can get all your ingredients ready ahead of time, then a slow cooker might be what you’re looking for.
However, if you want a more multifunctional piece of kit, that lets you prepare dinner in under an hour, then a pressure cooker might be what your kitchen needs.