Naked, Steamy Carrot Flowers – Lesson 2 – Steaming, High & Low Pressures

Steamed carrot flowers - pressure cooker steaming lessonCarrots  retain so much flavor when pressure cooked, you won’t mind serving them without dressing, in other words…  naked! This dish is so fast and easy, I thought we could fancy it up a bit by spending the time you don’t need for cooking on making the carrots special — even the garnishing means just a few extra swipes of the vegetable peeler.

Steaming in your pressure cooker

You can steam vegetables, fruits, and meats in your pressure cooker. It is the best cooking method for retaining water-soluble minerals and vitamins. When nutritionists ding pressure cooking for vitamin retention they are referring to boiling and not steaming.

Steaming means that the food does not come into contact with the liquid but, instead, its vapor. Steaming in your pressure cooker requires you to use a steamer basket insert to keep the food lifted out of the liquid  (see more about steamer inserts and suitable substitutes).  The liquid used for steaming, need not be plain water!  You can inject extra flavor in your steamed food by adding spices,  herbs, squirts of lemon, a dash of vinegar or even replace water with a stock, wine and even a tomato sauce! (see my Hip Stuffed Zucchini recipe for that in action)- only do this if you have plans to re-use the steaming liquid as the taste difference is negligible.  Usually, you just need one cup of liquid to steam in your pressure cooker but models differ so check your manual to find the minimum amount of liquid your pressure cooker needs to reach pressure.

Oh, and don’t throw away the liquid once you’re finished steaming.  Re-use it in place of water, or a light broth, when you next boil anything, make polenta or risotto!

Consult your manual or my pressure cooker timing chart for the item you would like to steam. For vegetables, I list the cooking time at both High and Low pressure settings.  When in doubt, or receiving conflicting advice, always use the least amount of time first and check for doneness- you can always add more time, never less!

High and Low Pressure Setting

pressure cooker pressure levelsIf your pressure cooker has the ability to cook in Low pressure, I recommend using this setting for vegetables  because they can go from al dente to mushy in seconds! Fish and seafood are another category  that benefits from the gentler cooking on Low Pressure.

Each manufacturer has their own specific High and Low pressures, consult your manual to be sure. I have noted the most common pressure ranges for these settings in the above table.

The “Low” setting on your pressure cooker might also be noted as a “1” or “I”  – some pressure cookers identify the low setting as the first of two rings to appear on the pressure indicator rod.  The “High” setting on your pressure cooker might also be noted as a “2” or “II”  – some pressure cookers identify the high setting as the second of two rings, or lines,  to appear on the pressure indicator rod.

Electric pressure cookers vary widely  in their pressures.  As a general rule – when following recipes not specifically written for your model –  use the longer time if the pressure  cooking time is given in a range of minutes – for example “5 to 7 minutes” cook for 7; or, as I note in many of my recipes, use the timing for the “Low” pressure setting.

Some electric pressure cookers won’t let you choose between high or low pressure – they either don’t have that capability or let you select pressure via a cooking program. For these cookers, you can experiment using the recommended cooking time for stovetops (the shorter time) at the cooker’s default “high” pressure.

see also: Pressure Cooker Pressure FAQ

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger steamer basket 5 min. Low(1) Normal

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Steamed Carrot Flowers - pressure cooker recipe
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 176th
  • Calories: 32
  • TOTAL Fat: 0g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 8g
  • Sugar Carbs: 4g
  • Sodium: 54mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 2g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 lb (500g) thick carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup water (or your pressure cooker's minimum)
  1. :Make Carrot Flowers
  2. Turn carrots into flowers and by either using either the thing sticking out of your potato peeler designed to remove "eyes", or the extra thing on your zester .
  3. Make four to five long grooves along the body of the carrot. Reserve what comes off to use in a stock or sauce! Then, cut the carrots into "coins" which are now flowers.
  4. Place the carrot coins, or flowers, in the steaming basket. Add about one cup of water into the pressure cooker (or the minimum amount stated in your manual), then the steamer basket. Some steamer baskets may already have feet to stay out of the water, others come with a separate trivet to keep them lifted. Close and lock the pressure cooker lid.
  5. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  6. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 4 minutes at low pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached low pressure (with this model, the indicator comes up to the green ring) , lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 4 minutes pressure cooking time.
  7. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure through the valve.
  8. Remove the steamer basket from the pressure cooker quickly to stop the carrots from cooking further and transfer to a serving dish. Keep all of the scrapings from making the flowers for a future recipe (or the chicken stock, coming up).
  9. Serve carrots "naked" with no dressing or seasoning, or at least taste them this way before adding a little swirl of good olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Steamed Carrot flowersNext!
Try the next Beginner Basics Lesson: Quick Pasta Sauce Brown, Boil and Reduce or view the entire Beginner Basics Course outline!

Now that you can steam in your pressure cooker, you can make…