Naked, Steamy Carrot Flowers – Lesson 2 – Steaming, High & Low Pressures
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
If 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.
Pressure Cooker Recipe: Naked, Steamy Carrot Flowers
Wash and peel the carrots. Then, you can turn them into flowers and with either the thing sticking out of your potato peeler designed to remove “eyes”, or the extra thing on your zester (see photo). 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.
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.
Select the cooking pressure to “low” and put the pressure cooker on high heat. When the pan reaches pressure (with this model, the indicator comes up to the green ring) and then count 2 minutes cooking time under low pressure.
When the cooking time is up, open the pressure cooker using the cold water quick-release method – bring the pan to the sink and run cold water on it making sure not to cover any of the valves. For electric pressure cookers, cook for only one minute and then release pressure using the Automatic Release method – releasing pressure from the top by pushing a button or twisting a lever.
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).
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.
Now that you can steam in your pressure cooker, you can make…
- Red, White and Green Brussels Sprouts
- Spicy Cauliflower and Citrus Salad
- Hip Stuffed Zucchini
- Tipsy Stuffed Peaches
Pssssst! Do you want to learn more about the pressure cookers that I’m using? See them described on my About page!