A number of years ago we decided in summer to try to do some fruit jam canning. I’d honestly never really heard of “freezer jam”. And if I was going to buy a piece of equipment a pressure cooker seemed like a more versatile device compared to a comparably sized water bath canner. And…in all honesty again…I expected either would mostly just end up collecting dust on a shelf. So we picked up a pretty large pressure cooker (again maybe more versatile) and got it at a good price at the end of summer when the stores themselves were trying to rid their shelves of the large dust collecting devices.
My mom sent me a copy of the Ball book on preserving in the hopes we wouldn’t kill ourselves. I bumped into a used/free copy of a 40′s book on cooking with a pressure cooker. I even noticed the pressure cooker we bought came with a book of recipes and suggestions. And we slowly started using the pressure cooker more.
We can, or “jar” really, a lot of things.
In a good summer, we’ll put away all the stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce we’ll use over the coming year.
When I make stews or soups for a meal I put away a portion of it for an easy meal later.
Before I started loosing my grad-school pounds two years ago, I was starting to get flagged as pre-hypertensive so we started removing sodium from some glaring places in our diet. One Thanksgiving we made broth from the turkey carcass. Now we make all our own no-salt-added broth. We can our own no-salt-added beans from dry beans. Those two no-salt-added canned goods are pretty pricey to by at the market and almost free to do from scratch. Dry beans and things like roasts cook up so much faster in a pressure cooker.
On the money and nerdy sides, the other hot thing about the pressure cooker is that it uses physics to cook your food both faster and with less energy input. Everybody seems to be on the save energy / save money bandwagon these days outside the house in their cars. Why not inside? Producing/shipping/storing/reheating frozen foods is energy intensive. Pressure cooking and canning can save energy and money.
And apparently now it’s the latest trend according to Slate.
People continue to be interested in fast, but not having to sacrifice quality for speed is a great perk. That Slate article taught me I shouldn’t just be boiling my chicken/turkey carcasses in my stock pot but rather pressure cooking them. Duh! Later this month our most recent batch of broth will probably be gone and it’ll be time to have chicken roast for dinner and then put away some broth. I’m excited to test the difference!