Solar pressure cooking

Solar pressure cooking looks at two important green issues.

  1. Reducing your energy footprint in the kitchen.
  2. Saving time and money.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 10th December, 2018.

By Bernard Preston

Every single family should have one of these pots; it's more useful than the microwave, though we have one of them too, and is the biggest single saver of time in the kitchen.

Let's look first at the benefits. How does it work?

  1. A special seal traps steam inside the pot.
  2. That raises the pressure, and the steam temperature.
  3. The boiling time is reduced by two thirds.

Healthy choice foods

Healthy choice foods are cooked in one third of the time using solar pressure cooking, reducing any negative effect of heating on the phytochemicals in your veggies that help prevent cancer.

Incidentally, I call it solar only because we cook with electricity from the sun; it works just as well on a regular stove.

Pressure cooker cooking

Only purchase a stainless steel pressure cooker; aluminium may be a bit cheaper, but there are serious questions about using it with food.

Also, aluminium pots are no good on induction cooktop stoves, where you can prepare your food using half the energy and the heat is instantly available unlike a conventional electric hob. In fact it's even faster than gas; we have both, so I know!

Pressure cooker old.

And only purchase one of the modern pressure cookers with a locking lid and a safety valve.

I wouldn't call that old cooker dangerous, but if you open the lid... you'll have superheated steam in your face and your dinner on the ceiling!

Also those old sealing rings were hopeless; the new ones are far better.

Pressure cooker lid from the inside

Notice the locking device on this modern cooker. You can't open it when it's under pressure.

The pressure valve gives you three settings; steaming, low and high. This T-fal is the best pressure cooker I've ever owned; three years old and it's used several times a week with no trouble.

The handle needs to be tightened now and again; the pressure indicator lets some spurts of steam out until the it sets; that gave some concerns initially but I think quite normal now.

All stainless steel pots like this pressure cooker work fine on induction stoves.

Pressure cooker lid from the outside


More so than other cooking devices perhaps, your pressure cooker is potentially dangerous; just as you would be sensible using a pair of scissors, a blender, or the lawnmower, you need to have your wits about you.

Don't forget to set the lock!

I gave a friend one in thanks for a huge gift, not thinking to explain to her how to use it. She forgot to set the lock, and nearly caused serious damage to herself; luckily most of the pressure was already off.

No more so than hot cooking oil, your solar pressure cooker is a potentially dangerous item of cookware.

Solar pressure cooking

Solar pressure cooking by using the sun's energy collected by PV systems costs nothing.

These induction stoves are magnificent and this is where all cooking really comes into its own league.

  • Pressure cooking requires a third of the time and energy of a normal pot.
  • Induction cooking gives you a further fifty percent reduction in energy; and it's twice as fast.
  • And if you are lucky enough to have a solar powered generator then even the electricity is free.

To my mind every family should have a modern pressure cooker if you value your time, and a countertop induction stove like this one if you want to reduce your electricity bill.

Building a solar generator is another story; it's only for those who are true greenies, but is certainly coming into its own with the Elon Musks of this world.

Potatoes and carrots take ten minutes in your solar pressure cooker; most other vegetables less than five minutes; and a roast chicken or beef roll in half an hour.

Frankly I wouldn't cook gem squash or green beans in the pressure cooker. It's quite heavy steel and takes an extra few minutes to get it up to pressure. Just enjoy them al dente in a light weight stainless steel pot.

Copper bottom and aluminium pots are not good for cooking on an induction stove; they are good conductors, and no heat is built up in the base of the pot.

If I was to single out the greatest uses for your pressure cooker, I would choose brown rice, legumes and a finger licking good chicken.

They all take time to cook. We don't like brown rice because it takes double the time of its highly refined junk food white companion.

Legumes like chickpeas take literally hours to cook; and the canned ones are loaded with sugar, salt and preservatives; with all the cancer about I'm very conscious of all the chemicals in our supermarket foods these days.

Just take Parkinson's disease, for example; nitrates, a common preservative in bacon target the cells of the substantia nigra, a nucleus in the brain that controls movement; it's a horrible illness with no cure; it's only about prevention.

Keep preserved meat for high and holy days only.

We do the roasts just because we love them so much, but it takes an hour and a half and the oven uses a lot of energy.

Just get yourself a stainless steel, modern pressure cooker and you can prepare these foods in a third of the time; literally.

The solar pressure cooker, energised by the sun if for the kinkies like me!

It looks like the Martians landed on our roof in the night.

Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston loves healthy food, made fast; that's why he's into solar pressure cooking, and induction stoves.

Bernard Preston, semi-retired chiropractor and also a physics major questions the widely accepted belief that the same wattage panels must always be used.

That is preferable, but a simple stud diode prevents one PV system from dominating another.

It can be done, but my advice is from the start use the biggest panels you can find. 310W is currently available. I hadn't considered the issues when starting with these little 90W panels.

Using them for your solar pressure cooker means the electricity is free.

Residential solar panels

And if you're building a new house, talk to Elon Musk about solar tiles for the roof; so much neater and cheaper too, I believe.

Solar PV systems

Solar PV systems collect the sun's energy, turning it into direct current, perfect for storing in batteries; but it then needs to be inverted to produce useful AC.

3kW of these panels, with a 5kW inverter will even allow you to bake and roast on a solar electric oven; provided the sun is shining.

With a very large bank of batteries, one can cook at night too using sunshine power, but that is prohibitively expensive for the average home.

Anyway, it's a great way to use your solar pressure cooker using the sun's energy for free.

Cooking chickpeas

Cooking chickpeas is best done using solar pressure cooking, or just using conventional electricity; otherwise they take a lot of time and energy to prepare.

It's also very quick for extracting the cartilage from chicken bones for your arthritis. Use the site search function for more information.

Using a solar pressure cooker simply means it's powered by the sun for free.

Useful links

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