A pressure cooker is incredibly useful to have around the house as they cook food faster than a conventional cooking system. You can make a stew, casserole or braise meat in under an hour in a pressure cooker. They also retain the vitamins and minerals that can be lost when food is cooked. Not to mention the fact that they use a lot less water than other cooking methods, pressure cookers have come a long way since your granny used them. When trying to find a good pressure cooker for sale, make sure you know what you are buying.
A pressure cooker is a bit different to use than a normal pot or pan. As with most cooking methods, there is a bit of a learning curve involved. You need to know how to operate the system to reap the maximum benefits from it. Also being able to identify an unsafe cooker will also assist you as pressure cookers can become dangerous to use if precautions aren’t taken.
To make things a bit easier, here are step by step instructions on how to use a pressure cooker to get the most out of it. There are two types of pressure cookers. The first is the old style pressure cooker, also known as the “jiggle top”. It’s a weighted pressure regulator that sits on top of the vent pipe on the lid (it “jiggles” from the steam being vented). The second type is the newer style that uses spring valves and a closed cooking system. Both are effective and it really comes down to preference.
Steps in using a pressure cooker:
1. Understanding Your Cooker
- Know what a pressure cooker does
A pressure cooker uses steam to cook. Pressure is created by boiling liquid such as water or broth inside the closed device. The trapped steam then increases the internal pressure and temperature, cutting down cooking time and giving the device its name.
- Inspect the cooker
You need to make sure that there are no cracks or dents in the device. These cracks can cause incredibly hot steam to seep out and also reduce the efficiency of the cooker as the pressure is being released. Left-over food should also be removed as these can erode the surface of the cooker and cause further cracks.
- Know how to fill the pressure cooker
Firstly, you must always have liquid in the cooker if you turn it on. A pressure cooker works by using steam to create pressure…If there’s no liquid, there’s no steam and therefore no pressure. The cooker should never be more than two thirds full of liquid as there needs to be room for the steam to build. If there’s too much water, there’s not enough steam and therefore no pressure.
There must always be at least one cup of water in a jiggle top pressure cooker. For a valve cooker the minimum amount of liquid used is half a cup.
- Understand the steamer basket and trivet
Standard pressure cookers will come with a steamer basket. This is used for vegetables, seafood, and fruit. The trivet is the basket’s stand. The trivet is placed at the bottom of the pressure cooker and the basket sits on top of this.
2. Preparing the Food for Pressure Cooking
Determine how much water you should use and what kind of prep is needed. There is normally a guide that comes with your pressure cooker, this can also be found online. Different kinds of food will require different preparation and amounts of liquid in the cooker.
3. Using the Pressure Cooker
- Place the food to be cooked inside the container with liquid
Put the food in with the appropriate amount of water (as explained above)
- Take the safety valve or weighted pressure regulator off and close the lid properly
Make sure to lock the lid (or the device won’t work). Place the cooker on a larger burner on your stove (if it’s a traditional pressure cooker) or turn the cooker on (if it’s an electric pressure cooker). Set the cooker heat to high. The cooker will start converting the water to steam.
- Wait for the cooker to gain pressure
Once you have placed the food in the cooker, it will take time to build pressure. When the pressure reaches the desired pressure safety limit, the cooker will begin to simmer the food.
The pressure safety limit indication differs depending on what pressure cooker you have. In old jiggle top valves, this will be when steam comes out of the safety vent and the weighted pressure regulator will begin to jiggle. Place the safety valve on the nozzle when you see steam coming out of the vent. In new pressure cookers (using spring valves and a closed cooking system) there are marks on the valve stem that indicate the pressure inside the cooker. The marks will appear as the pressure rises.
- Reduce the heat
Reduce the heat to a lower level so that the cooker continues to simmer and does not whistle (the whistling means there is too much pressure in the system). Begin timing the cooker at this point as per the recipe you are following. The idea is to maintain a constant pressure throughout the cooking duration. If the heat supply is not reduced, the pressure may continue to rise and the dead weight or safety valve opens (depending on the type of pressure cooker), releasing steam and preventing the pressure from rising any further. The safety valve is there to make sure the container doesn’t explode from the pressure. Some people mistake the pressure indicator for a timer, this is a pressure reading and not an indicator of cooking time.
4. Removing Food from the Pressure Cooker
- Turn off the heat when your food has cooked for the amount of time given in your recipe
If you over-cook food in a pressure cooker then it will reduce to mush. So be vigilant, unless baby food is what you are going for, make sure you keep an eye on the cooking time.
- Lower the pressure inside the cooker
Do not attempt to lift the lid off of the cooker (you can damage the cooker and hurt yourself). Recipes will specify how you should release the pressure. There are three methods that you can use.
- The Natural Release Method: This method is used for foods that take a long time to cook, like roasts or stews. The idea is to allow the meal to continue cooking while the pressure reduces on its own. This is the longest of any of the methods and normally takes 10 to 20 minutes to release.
- The Quick Release Method: Most pressure cookers have a quick release button on the lid. When this button is released, the pressure slowly escapes from within the cooker.
- The Cold Water Release Method: Take the pressure cooker and place it under cold, running water. Keep this up until the pressure drops. Do not run the water directly on the pressure regulator or vent. This is the fastest way to release pressure. Do not use this method if you have an electric pressure cooker for obvious reasons!
- Check to make sure that all of the pressure has been released
On jiggle tops, move the pressure regulator. If there is no sound of escaping steam then all of the pressure has been released. On new models, move the valve stem. If there is no sound of escaping steam, then there is no pressure left.
- Remove the lid carefully
The lids on these cookers are very heavy, so make sure not to drop it. Also the lid can become very hot during and after the cooking process. You should always lift the lid away from your face, as the contents will be steaming hot.
Now that you know how to properly use a pressure cooker, here is a brief overview on some of the newest, and best cookers on the market.
Looking for a pressure cooker for sale?
The Russell Hobbs Electric Pressure Cooker RHEP6 is a 1000W, oversized 6ℓ capacity cooker. The cooker is perfect for stews, soups, meats, chicken, fish, beans and rice. It features 11 x multi-function menu’s and an LED display. One of the best parts about these cookers is the convenient water and food level indicators inside the cooking pot.
Another great Russell Hobbs pressure cooker is the Alpha 6ℓ Pressure Cooker RHALPHA. This is a stove top 18/10 stainless steel pot cooker with a tempered glass lid. It has a thermal sandwich capsule base with non-porous aluminum core to make sure heat is distributed evenly.
Tedelex makes some great cookers, the 11 L Tedelex Pressure Cooker is definitely one of these. This cooker is massive. It features an 11ℓ capacity and is made from high quality aluminum, which ensures rapid and even heat distribution. It has 3 safety features; a spring safety valve, a pressure indicator weight and a disk safety valve.
AEG is another great brand that has stood the test of time. The AEG EPC6000 is built so to save energy. It has a 6ℓ capacity, non-stick cooking pot and cool-touch side handles so you don’t burn yourself when your meal is done. It also boasts versatile cooking options that make cooking a breeze.
Last but not least is the Phillips line of pressure cookers. Phillips have been around for a long time and they really know electronics. At the top of their range is the Avance Collection Electric Pressure Cooker. The device has an auto pressure release device to ensure safety during cooking. It has a touch operated display with a childproof safety valve.
Selling your kitchen appliances? Place your FREE AD on Junk Mail today!