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On a plane ride from Las Vegas, heading home from my second SuperZoo appearance, I connected with a fellow raw feeder and spent the first hour of our flight sharing tips. The one that blew me away was the value of a pressure cooker.
My fellow raw feeder shared that he switched from using a slow cooker (or crockpot) to using a pressure cooker when making bone broth because it took the process from 24 hours to 1 hour. I can make a batch of bone broth IN ONE HOUR!!! And that’s not the best part. The pressure cooker will also pulverize the bone, turning it into mush that can be mixed into the bone broth – taking away the step of fishing out bones.
Me being me, I need to do my homework before I make an investment. The pressure cooker I'm looking at is around $90.
What is a Slow Cooker?
A slow cooker is a countertop appliance used to cook food over a long period of time. Besides bone broth, I've made pot roast, pulled pork, and soup in my slow cooker.
What is a Pressure Cooker?
A pressure cooker is a sealed countertop appliance that cooks food using steam; food is cooked faster thereby saving energy.
Which is Best for Bone Broth?
As I stated, I'm considering a pressure cooker because I like the idea of being able to cook bone broth in an hour and keep the bone, which is so beneficial to for my dogs. The only problem is that I don't know if I'll get one that's big enough – some of my bones are pretty mammoth.
I have a freezer full of lamb necks that will make great bone broth. However, a couple times a year I order emu bones, which are larger. A lot larger. The emu bones work great in my slow cooker, which is 6 quarts and oval shaped. All of the pressure cookers I've seen are round and I worry that they may not be big enough.
So which is best for making bone broth? A slow cooker or a pressure cooker?
Buying a Slow Cooker
I have a Crock-Pot slow cooker that J purchased for me from Costco a few years ago. I love it. LOVE IT! It has a timer that allows me to set it for 20 hours – I dump in all of my ingredients (bones, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and water), set it and forget it. The benefits of a slow cooker include:
- It doesn't take up much space in the kitchen.
- It fills the house with yummy smells (although it's all for the dogs).
- It gives me time to prepare my other ingredients for my veggie mix.
- I don't have to babysit the process; it doesn't take a lot of time or effort to make bone broth.
- My slow cooker cost around $50.
Buying a Pressure Cooker
The pressure cookers I'm looking at are getting great reviews on Amazon. The benefits of getting a pressure cooker include:
- It doesn't take up much space in the kitchen.
- It will allow me to make bone broth quickly.
- I don't have to toss the bone when it's finished.
- Making bone broth will be even easier.
- The pressure cookers I'm considering range between $70-$90.
I've heard great things about Insta Pot and I'm considering the Instant Pot IP-LUX60 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart.
5 Reasons to Use a Pressure Cooker
Although I love new things, I'm not one to spend money unnecessarily. If I'm going to make the investment, I better plan to use it often. When I was doing my research on pressure cookers, I found this “benefits” list on the Earth Easy Blog that, combined with my own, convinced me to purchase a pressure cooker:
Food Retains Most of Its Nutrients
One reason I feed raw is because I believe the process of cooking food destroys the nutrients. I avoid commercial pet food because manufacturers are adding in synthetic nutrients instead of whole, fresh nutrients. Although a meal balancer is an option, I've chosen to stick with raw feeding, which I believe is species appropriate. But we're talking bone broth, not raw feeding; I still want my dogs to get the most nutrients available.
“Foods cooked in a pressure cooker are ready faster, using less liquid. The liquid is boiled away leaving the food with most of its nutrients. The fact that foods are done in a shorter cooking time means they are less likely to lose their color and flavor, as well as minerals and vitamins that are evaporated or diluted when cooking in large quantities of water for longer periods of time.” ~ EarthEasy.com
Pressure Cookers Save Energy
When I make bone broth, I don't have multiple burners on our gas stove going; instead, I'm using a slow cooker. However, 20+ hours of cooking is using significantly more energy than a pressure cooker, which cooks food 70% faster.
“[S]ince foods require less cooking time with pressure cookers, less energy is needed to prepare meals.” ~ EarthEasy.com
Pressure Cookers Save Time
Although I have a great system that starts Friday night and ends Sunday afternoon – I'm making bone broth, veggie mix, and raw meals – using a pressure cooker will save me a lot of time and allow me to make large batches of bone broth.
“Cooking time is greatly reduced as foods cook up to 70% faster when a pressure cooker is used, making it a handy tool to quickly get the meal on the table.” ~ EarthEasy.com
Pressure Cookers Preserve Food Too
I'm thinking about canning food next year. My attempt at gardening was a sudo-success. I grew a bunch of stuff, we ate it, now we're done. My 2017 garden will be 4x bigger and I hope to ferment and can fruits and vegetables. A pressure cooker will come in handy.
“Pressure cooker/canners come with detailed cooking and canning instructions which include charts of the foods which can be canned, time schedules and pressure settings for each food type. It is essential that these instructions be followed carefully to ensure safe food preservation.” ~ EarthEasy.com
Keeping the Bone in the Bone Broth
And finally, the main reason I want a pressure cooker (besides how fast it works) is that I don't have to fish out the bone from my bone broth. The bone is a great source of nutrients and minerals and because the pressure cooker works so quickly, the nutrients are retained – making my bone broth and veggie mix even healthier for my dogs. There are weeks when my dogs don't get the bone they need in their raw meals (venison and emu are meat only orders) so I feed more green tripe. Having a bone broth mixture that contains the calcium and phosphorus of the crushed bones would be another option during the “no bone” weeks, right?
Top 5 Pressure Cookers on Amazon
I've been doing a lot of research and the following pressure cookers are in the running due to price, reviews, and brand reputation:
- Instant Pot IP-LUX60 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6-Quart
- Cuisinart CPC-600 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker (Stainless Steel)
- Elite Platinum EPC-808 Maxi-Matic 8 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker, Black (Stainless Steel)
- Cosori 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker with Glass Lid and Sealing Ring, 6Qt
- Instant Cooker IC60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Programmable Pressure Cooker , 6Qt