British Columbia

Pressure cookers, spiralizers and knife sharpeners: gifts for the home chef

It’s crunch time for Christmas shopping and one of the hottest gifts out there this year is a cooking appliance — electronic pressure cookers.

Christmas gift suggestions from food columnist Gail Johnson

Still looking for gifts? Food columnist Gail Johnson has some suggestions for the kitchen enthusiast. (pixabay.com)

It's crunch time for Christmas shopping and one of the hottest gifts out there this year is a cooking appliance — the electronic pressure cooker.

On The Coast food columnist Gail Johnson has some advice on buying kitchen appliances during the holiday season and a few other gift ideas for the avid home cook.

Pressure cookers are on the top of many people's wish lists this year, Johnson said, and sales have taken off. In the past year, sales of electric multi cookers have gone up by 79 per cent to more than $300 million.

"We are not talking about our grandmas' pressure cookers here, the ones from decades ago that had a tendency to literally blow up," Johnson said.

Sales of electric multi cookers have gone up by 79 per cent this year. (CBC)

These ones, she said, can do much more than grandma's ever could.

They work as a slow cooker, can steam or sauté food, and significantly cut down cooking time.

"You can do a whole chicken, for example, in about half an hour," Johnson said. "Dishes with dried beans take about 20 minutes, because the high pressure accelerates softening."

Pulled pork or a roast can be ready in a mere 40 minutes and soup stock takes just one hour rather than several, she added.

"There are a lot of people out there who would benefit from one of these units: working parents, busy professionals, university students, or even people who simply don't like spending a lot of time in the kitchen," she said.

A digital thermometer makes a great stocking stuffer, says Gail Johnson. (Stepanek Photography/Shutterstock)

Other gift ideas:

Sous-vide machines
"It's a way of cooking in which food is vacuum-sealed in plastic then immersed in a low-temperature water bath for a long period. … The beauty of this method is that meat, fish and veggies all end up deeply flavourful, evenly cooked, and tender – never overcooked."

Spiralizer
"These are the tools that make noodles out of vegetables. You can use produce such as broccoli stalks, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers and sweet potatoes."

Knife sharpener
"There's nothing worse than a kitchen knife that can barely make it through a cucumber."

Digital thermometer
"I treated myself to one recently and love it. Way easier to use and read than my old needle one!"  

With files from On The Coast

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