Type: Whole Grains

Description: Pressure cookers are heavy pots with lids that lock in place, trapping heat and steam. Since pressure builds, moisture quickly infiltrates the food, cooking it rapidly by heating it to a high boiling-point temperature. Under high pressure, the fiber in the food is softened and flavors mingle quickly. Pressure cookers are both time and nutrition preservers.

What to look for: Look for heavy stainless steel with a stationary pressure regulator.

Uses: Pressure cooking is the fastest way to cook many foods, but beans and legumes are especially conducive to being cooked under pressure. Often difficult to digest and slow to cook, beans can be easily incorporated into a healthy whole foods diet through pressure cooking.

Many other foods can be made in pressure cookers, shortening and simplifying cooking, and increasing nutrient retention. However, a timer is highly recommended because some ingredients can easily become overcooked. We recommend a wonderful book, Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen, by Lorna J. Sass, for more in-depth information on the art of pressure cooking.

Where to find: Stores that sell cookware, such as hardware and department stores, gourmet cooking shops, natural food stores, and online sources.

Avoid: Aluminum pots, old-fashioned lids with removable regulators that jiggle.