Living full-time in a tight space makes you think long and hard about what’s “essential” to take on the road with you. When it comes to choosing kitchen cookware and gadgets, we try to keep things simple by only packing items that serve at least two different functions. Single-purpose kitchen utensils like a lime juicer or waffle maker are out of the question in our 27′ rig. So when last Christmas we unwrapped a shiny new pressure cooker gifted by my parents, I wasn’t totally sure if we had the room for it, or if would really fit into our “multi-use” criteria. I’d always considered getting one but just never made it a priority. But of course I was happy to get one as a gift and find a place for it in the kitchen.
Back at the rig, when I found a place for the pressure cooker in an empty cabinet above the microwave, my skeptical husband joked and said “What’s next? Finding a space for that inflatable hot tub we’ve always wanted?” Our new 27′ RV has lots more storage space than the 24′ one we just traded in, but we’re trying our best not to live up to that old cliche about instantly filing up empty cabinets once you get into a bigger rig.
You may have heard that pressure cookers can cook beans in a jiffy, which is true. Since we eat a lot of them, I thought I’d make pinto beans my first pressure cooking meal in the RV. After soaking the dried pintos overnight and following the instructions to cook at high pressure for just 8-10 minutes, we had a batch of the best homemade beans we’ve had since living in our sticks-and-bricks home.
Still, I wasn’t entirely convinced about the other promises the pressure cooker could live up to, so I continued giving new recipes a go. Here’s what I discovered:
- Save water. This cookware is a boondocker’s best friend. Using a minimal amount of water, you can cook everything from pasta to brown rice with far less water than conventional stove top cooking requires.
- Don’t turn your RV into a sauna. Since the steam builds up inside the pressure cooker and only a minimal amount gets released during and after cooking, pressure cooked meals won’t steam up the inside of your RV or raising the interior temperature – making them a great choice for cooking when the outside temperature climbs.
- Saves you money on munchies. These deep pots are great for making snacks like popcorn and apple sauce.
- Conserves time and fuel. From potatoes to pulled pork, pressure cookers make anything in a fraction of the time, thus saving your propane for better uses.
- Save weight. Since you can cook dry beans quickly, you won’t need to lug around heavy cans of beans anymore, making your rig lighter because of it.
- Don’t explode. Today’s pressure cookers have built-in safety features that make them almost totally incapable of exploding like the ones from 100 years ago.
- Are a great investment. Pressure cookers aren’t cheap. I think the one we were gifted retails for close to $100. But with proper care, I know this handy device will last a lifetime.
It’s been two months since we became good friends with our pressure cooker and now I can’t live without it. We use it at least three times a week, making it one of the most well-used (and loved) must-have devices in our kitchen. I wish we’d learned about the value of a pressure cooker years ago!Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.