Pressure: Pushing Down on Me, Pressure!

My little 2 liter pressure cooker after a weekend of testing.

My little 2 liter pressure cooker after a weekend of testing.

Yea I’m a nerd, I can’t help it. I geek out over some the most arcane gizmos. My latest “Holy Crap this is Awesome!” moment was last weekend when I finally got a pressure cooker for the boat. I know what you’re thinking “Todd, your a dork!, it’s just an old-timey pot that no one uses anymore.” That’s what I thought. However one lesson I’ve learned in my tenure here on this planet is to never underestimate the ingenuity and practicality of my grandparents, crafty old codgers.

I remember reading ‘Maiden Voyage’ by Tonya Aebi and she kept praising her little pressure cooker for cooking rice. For some reason it stuck with me. Now that I’m provisioning my own boat, I put a pressure cooker on the list for the galley. Why not, if it’s not worth the space and time I’ll just donate it and be done with it. Luckily I never had to make that decision.

When it came time for me to select a pressure cooker I did the usual thing everyone does, headed over to Amazon to check out the prices and selection.

The first search results were shockingly huge and expensive! There’s no way I can put one of these monstrosities on my boat. I didn’t need a huge multi-gallon Mormon family sized cooker.

For the most part I’m just cooking for myself and a few guests. Locating one that was only few quarts or liters was problematic. Finally I found one that was the right size, and affordable, Phew!!

I also didn’t want a cooker with fancy or finicky features that could fail on me while sailing. I wanted World War II dependability: A pot, a lid, and a weighted pressure valve, no moving parts, caveman simple! The one I settled on was the Hawkins 2 liter cooker. Perfect for the amount of food I’d be cooking.

This is one of the dishes Amanda produced out of thin air, grilled pork with a barley cucumber and feta salad. Mmmmm!!!!

This is one of the dishes Amanda produced out of thin air, grilled pork with a barley cucumber and feta salad. Mmmmm!!!!

Last week my chosen pressure cooker finally arrived and I decided to give it a few test runs to see how it worked. Except there was one small detail I forget to address. I’ve never used a pressure cooker in my life! How does this thing work? How long do things need to cook?

Lucky for me my buddy’s girlfriend is a trained chef and when she heard I got a pressure cooker she offered to show me the ropes. Thank you Amanda!!! We cooked some rice, barley, bulgar, farro, black beans, and lentils. It was at this point my Nerdgasm started.


I do have to admit, the first pressure release was a “WHAT THE HELL” moment! Felt like I was cooking with a 19th century locomotive.

Almost everything we cooked took no more than 15-20 minutes on the stove usually in the 5 minute range. Yea you read that right, things that normally took hours of simmering over the stove, took mere minutes to cook!

The amount of propane and battery juice 1 I would be saving on the boat was mind blowing, this pot will pay for itself in propane savings alone!

You’re going to have to pry my pressure cooker from my cold dead hands, this thing is awesome!

If you’re cruising and cooking on your boat, I cannot over recommend having a small/medium pressure cooker aboard. The propane, electricity, and time savings are just too much not to be ignored. I would make sure to get one that is as simple as possible. All the those added features are totally unnecessary and only reduces your cooker’s reliability.

Run, don’t walk, to the store and grab one for your galley adventures, you won’t be disappointed!

Cheers,
Island Rambler

Notes:

  1. On my boat the propane solenoid draws a whopping AMP. If you’re cooking for an hour, that’s a full amp-hour drain on the house battery
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COMMENTS

  1. Phil Chernin on November 13, 2016

    An added advangage of a pressure cooker is the’no spill’ closure ofthe pot. It’s very secure and you dont have to worry if the pot goes fkying when you fall off a wave. When we have to cook and the sea state is nasty, a one pot meal in the pressure cooker is the pnlybway to go.

    Phil and Chris
    Lioness
    DeFever 49 RPH

    • Todd Martin on November 15, 2016

      Ah Good Call!!!! I usually resort to chips, granola bars, cookies, goldfish crackers, and Sandwiches when the weather get unfriendly.

      I’d rather clean the head than try to cook in choppy seas. 🙂

      Todd

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