Gift Ideas for a Busy Mom for Christmas 2012

I can’t believe Christmas 2012 is upon us as another whole year has flown by. As much as we all enjoy the holiday season, it can be a very stressful time. Buying a thoughtful gift for a busy mom this Christmas is definitely one of the most challenging tasks.

Women are better at multi-tasking. It’s true that we women have to juggle between work, children, husband, house chores, dog, friends, relatives and on and on. What we don’t have enough is time. We constantly have to prioritize to make sure we take care of the most important and sometimes the most urgent things in our lives.

all-american-921-pressure-cooker-canner

all-american-921-pressure-cooker-canner

What’s the Most Thoughtful Gift to Buy for a Busy Mom?

What if I say you can buy a gift for your mom or a busy mom you know to gain back an hour or two every day? The answer is a pressure cooker!

Many of us have recollections from our own grandmas or moms that a pressure cooker was dangerous and a timed-bomb if mishandled. But we may not realize is that pressure cookers have evolved over the last few hundred years. So much has been improved to ensure that it’s safe and it’s easy to handle.

A well-designed and well-constructed pressure cooker can do so many wonders:

  1. It cuts down the cooking time as much as 70%. Cooking a 4-lb pot roast takes several hours on a stove top or a day in a slow cooker. But you can cook it fork-tender in an hour in a pressure cooker.
  2. Pressure cookers don’t require much liquid to cook. The moisture and juice from the meats and vegetables are retained from the cooking. Thus the flavors are intensified.
  3. The vital nutrients, trace minerals and vitamins are preserved in the cooking instead of being boiled away in the vapor.
  4. If low-fat diet is what you are after, pressure cooking requires very minimal amount of fat to make foods taste delicious.
  5. Pressure cooking is the safest method to destroy bacteria in foods due to the higher temperature and high pressure environment.

The 10 Best-Rated Pressure Cookers on Amazon

A question you might have is which one to buy as there are literally thousands of pressure cookers on the market. I’ve done some research and am sharing with you the 10 best-rated pressure cookers on Amazon by hundreds of real customers (1 being the best):

As you can tell, only a handful brands have made it on this list. I am proud to say two of them are American brands (All-American and Presto). Each of the brands was reviewed in great deal on this and my other sites. Feel free to click on the hyperlinks above to learn more. While the detailed review may be for a different size, the design, the safety features and the quality are the same. Let’s take a quick look the pros and cons of each brand:

All American Pressure Cookers/Canners

Pros:

  • Made in Wisconsin by Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry with industrial-grade of material, design and construction. This pressure canner will easily last for a few generations with proper care.
  • It is the Gold Standard of pressure canners in the world due to its construction, size and build material.
  • Six different sizes from 10 1/2, 15-1/2, 21 1/2, 25, 30 and 41-1/2 quarts for all your pressure cooking and canning needs. Each size will hold different numbers of jars in both pint and quart sizes. The 41 1/2 quart one can hold as many as 32 pints or 19 quarts, which means you can cook or can a large batch of food to save time and electricity/or gas bill.
  • The metal-to-metal seal is an exclusive design feature in All American pressure cookers. The benefit is that the lid and the cooking pot are sealed by the metal-on-metal. No gasket is needed and no replacement parts to worry about.
  • The 3 pressure level settings (5, 10, 15 psi – pounds per square inch) make it so easy to cook all sorts of foods (delicate or tough) with a simple change of the facing of the pressure regulator. It’s also important for those folks who live in higher elevation to adjust the pressure level to compensate for the lower temperature in the cooker.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive. Because they are made of heavy-duty aluminum and with metal-to-metal seal, it costs more to manufacture. Hence the higher price tags of these pressure cookers/canners.
  • It’s made of aluminum instead of stainless steel. I know many people would prefer stainless steel.
  • Only one-year warranty is provided by the manufacturer. The rationale I can come up with this shorter warranty period is that there is hardly anything to replace or that would go wrong.

Presto Pressure Cookers/Canners

Pros:

  • Another terrific American company based in Wisconsin that has been in business since 1905.
  • Presto manufactures both pressure cookers and canners. Only two sizes of pressure canners are available as 16 and 23 quarts which are the most popular sizes for canning.
  • The pressure cookers are made of both aluminum and 100% stainless steel. It’s cheaper to buy one in aluminum, but it’s healthier in stainless steel.
  • Versatile sizes to choose from 4 to 8 quarts in pressure cookers.
  • Are the most affordable brands on the market. You can get a good quality pressure cooker or canner for way under $100, which is only half of the price in many other brands.
  • Presto offers a 12-year warranty that’s two-year longer than most brands.

Cons:

  • It’s not the most appealing in the design element.
  • Not the most cutting-edge in the safety feature design. The pressure regulation is a combination of the old jiggle top and the modern design. Nonetheless it’s still very safe to operate and easy to clean.
  • It requires a little bit more liquid comparing to a few European brands. Thus, it’s less energy-efficient and the flavors of foods may not be as intense. Granted these are relatively speaking.
  • Only 1 pressure level of 15 psi is available. This is the standard of pressure cooking for food safety and it’s most used in many pressure cooking recipes.

Instant Pot Multi-Cooker

Pros:

  • Made by Instant Pot, a Canadian-based housewares manufacturer.
  • It’s a multi-tasking cooker that allows you to use as a rice cooker, a slow cooker as well as a pressure cooker to make all kinds of meals.
  • The control panel makes it as easy as “push” of a button to make a pot of stew, a hearty soup and a pot of rice.

Cons:

  • Even though it can be used as a pressure cooker, the pressure level may not be as accurate as a stove-top pressure cooker.
  • The Manual is somewhat confusing that you might have to do a few test runs to figure things out.

Kuhn Rikons Pressure Cookers

Pros:

  • Based in Rikon, Switzerland, Kuhn Rikon has been in the business for over 80 years to serve the needs of both consumers and culinary professionals.
  • All Kuhn Rikon’s pressure cookers are made of stainless steel with an aluminum disk infused in the center of the base for best heat conductivity.
  • Many sizes and styles to choose from. The sizes range from 2.5 to 12 quarts with styles of saucepan, braiser/frying pan and stockpot. So you can choose the saucepan style for general pressure cooking, a braiser for browning and cooking tough cuts of meat and a stockpot for cooking stocks, soups and stews.
  • The signature design is the five-level safety features to release excess pressure to prevent potential explosions. These five-components work synergistically with each other.
  • Two pressure levels are designed in all Kuhn Rikon’s pressure cookers as 8 and 15 psi (pounds per square inch). Having two settings enables you to try most pressure cooking recipes for delicate and tougher foods.
  • It’s quiet, safe and easy to use. Kuhn Rikon’s pressure cookers are designed as a fully-enclosed system. Very minimum steam can be seen or hissing heard from the pressure cooker. Automatic pressure release is built in the primary valve dial. Simply turn the dial to release pressure easily, quickly and safely.
  • It requires the least liquid for pressure building. Therefore it takes less time to heat up the pot and very low heat to maintain the pressure level once it’s reached. You’d be saving both time and money from the gas/or electric bill.

Cons:

  • It’s expensive. Kuhn’s pressure cookers are one of the most expensive brands in the world. You will be paying for safety and for durability. Another alternative is to buy a pressure cooker set to leverage the cheaper price while having multiple cookers and lids to cover most of your cooking needs.
  • Most of the models are not made for canning due to the limited capacity sizes.

Final Thought

No matter what style, what size, what purpose and what budget, I bet you will be able to find a pressure cooker that’s going to be a time-saver for the busy moms on your Christmas shopping list. Why not make this gift the most-appreciated one?

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