There are so many methods of cooking out there that are relevant depending on what you are preparing.
Generally, there are three types of cooking methods: dry-heat cooking, moist heat cooking, and a combination of both.
All of them use heat to affect the foods differently, and all the cooking techniques you know can be grouped under one of the three methods.
In this article, we will see the difference between pressure cooking, steaming, slow cooking and steaming.
The importance of understanding them individually allows one to work well with their available ingredients and kitchen equipment for better, consistent and flavorful results.
Pressure Cooking Vs Steam Cooking
Pressure cooking is one of the oldest cooking methods.
However, it has recently had a resurgence in our times after a new generation of cookers were made.
These promise a quick dinner that you wont have to check on as it cooks, constantly.
They are safer than back then, which used to explode.
The baseline rule is always to add water because pressure cooking is inseparable.
If you buy a pressure cooker, the manual is your best friend because it will state the amount of water you need.
How Pressure Cooking Works
Cooking generally involves raising the temperature of food which helps chemical reactions occur in the food. This breaks down the tough tissues in meat or softens starch in vegetables.
This happens quickly and faster if the temperatures are higher.
Pressure cooking has the same fundamental property as steaming in boiling liquid to produce steam.
However, in this case, the food is placed pressure cooker that is tightly sealed to create a high-pressure environment increasing the boiling point of the water in the cooker forcing moisture into the food in the form of steam, cooking the food quickly.
How Steam Cooking Works
The most important variable is hot vapour from boiling liquid that comes in contact with the food.
This is to ensure the food does not lose its moisture or nutrients when it comes to steaming.
This method is ideal for vegetables and meat that is not tough like pork.
Is It Better To Steam Cook Or Pressure Cook?
Pressure cooking outweighs steaming in benefits in that it is faster, maintains nutrients and uses less of the liquid required to produce vapour.
Pressure Cooker Vs Steamer
Two kitchen utensils are commonly mentioned; pressure cooker and steamer.
It is possible to steam food in a pressure cooker, but that is not the case when you try to pressure cook in a steamer.
The only worry about pressure cooking vegetables is that they would not produce perfect results like a steamer.
However, if you are going for versatility in the kitchen, the pressure cooker is most suitable since it kills two birds with one stone.
In addition, they cook faster compared to steamers.
Boiling is a moist-heat cooking method that involves food being dipped in water at 100 degrees Celsius temperature.
This method ensures that the food becomes tender, and this works well well with starchy foods like potatoes, tough meat like pork and legumes.
Is Pressure Cooking Better Than Boiling?
In the case of cooking vegetables, pressure booking is better.
When you submerge the veggies in water as it is boiling, the heat removes their nutrients and is dissolved in the water.
Furthermore, the high heat associated with boiling the water has been found to destroy vitamins and minerals in the food.
What Is Open Cooking?
Open cooking is a cooking method that depends on the cooking pot you will use.
A deep or shallow skillet also works. Using shallow pots allow moisture to evaporate quickly from the food since they are open and have a large surface area for evaporation.
However, in the case of deep cooking pots, the food tends to retain moisture and flavour more than the food cooked in shallow pots.
If you add a lid on the cooking pot in the equation, the food maintains steam in the cooking pot. Hence it can function as a pressure cooker.
What Is Slow Cooking?
This cooking method involves cooking food over a long period, mainly using a slow cooker.
This an electrically powered device with a glass lid.
You can also use a rounded pot with a lid over a stovetop.
Slow cooking ensures the food flavour and moisture are maintained by cooking evenly and gradually using lower heat, thereby ensuring the meal is tender.
This method is ideal for cooking stews, sauces, soup or tough meat like pork.
Pressure Cooking Vs Slow Cooking
Although pressure cooking is faster than slow cooking, the high heat from the pressure contained is not good on tough meat since it may leave some of its parts uncooked.
Slow cooking is a suitable method since it retains food nutrients and the flavour of food. The gradual heating breaks down the proteins of tough meat evenly.
Can A Pressure Cooker Replace A Slow Cooker?
Pressure cookers can still be used to slow cook since they have that setting in their system.
However, slow cooking a meal in a pressure cooker will not be as good as using a slow cooker.
This is because the slow cooker evenly distributes heat to the food while the pressure cooker has an uneven distribution that affects the texture and flavour of the food.
Therefore to get your desired product from slow cooking, dont substitute the slow cooker for a pressure cooker.
Unless you want the meal cooked without any expectations of good results.
In conclusion, you have probably found out that each cooking method has its edge over the other in some cases slightly and in others a lot.
To address the gaps, the major factor of the type of food you are cooking and what are your desired results should guide you on the most suitable choice to use at that instance.