Pressure cookers have made cooking much easier than before. All you have to do is load up the cooker with your favorite ingredients and hit the stove-top or the timer, and just wait for your food to get ready. Regardless of whether you have used pressure pressures all your life or never even touched one, you need to make sure that you know all the basics of the pressure cooker before you start cooking in one. As their name implies, pressure cookers prepare food under tons of pressure, so if they’re ever mishandled some serious accidents can take place.
Some people think of pressure cookers as too unstable or dangerous to operate. However, once you understand how this appliance works and review the best practices related to it, you can easily operate one safely. Here in this article we have mentioned everything you need to know about pressure cookers and its best practices.
HOW PRESSURE COOKERS OPERATE
Pressure cookers work on one simple principle that is cooking evenly, efficiently, and effectively under pressure. There are two main factors that allow it to operate in this way. The first is the issue of boiling points. Under normal pressure, water usually begins to release steam or boil around 100 degrees Celsius. However, in a pressure cooker, this temperature is considerably lower. This means that pressure cookers don’t have to reach this temperature to cook your meals. Lower temperatures are more energy efficient and safer for cooking.
The other main factor that allows pressure cookers to cook meals quickly and efficiently is the effect of pressure on heat and steam. The food you put inside the pressure cooker is trapped in high-pressure steam released from boiling liquid. This steam enters into the food from almost all possible angles. This means that your food gets hydrated and filled with flavour as it cooks under pressure. However, creating the right pressure needed to cook in a pressure cooker isn’t an easy task. So you need to make sure that you have done all that you can to ensure you hit a safe pressure to cook your meals and can open your cooker safely without injuring yourself or damaging the cooker itself.
PRESSURE COOKING DO’S AND DON’TS
All pressure cookers available in the market these days come with detailed instructions, operating procedures, and best practices, but in case you want a quick refresher on pressure cooking safety tips, here are all the do’s and don’ts you need to follow to operate a pressure cooker safely:
Pressure Cooking Do’s
Make sure to use enough water:
Pressure cooking relies heavily on steam, so always make sure that you’re adding enough water or any other liquid while cooking food in a pressure cooker. For slow roasts, for instance, broth usually serves as enough moisture required for cooking, but for dryer dishes you will need to add extra water to ensure a smooth cooking process. Standard pressure cookers usually require half a cup of water or any other liquid for a full pot of food. However, you may have to experiment a bit with amounts of liquid in your first few meals, but make sure that the amount you choose releases enough steam to penetrate and hydrate the food during the cooking process.
Follow the preset timers:
If you’re using an electric pressure cooker, you would know that preset timers have been installed into the appliance by manufacturers to ensure that the food cooks thoroughly and properly. These timers are set considering some of the best and most common dishes made in pressure cookers, so it is very likely that your cooker will offer a timer perfect for most of your favourite dishes.
Although many pressure cookers allow you to cook without a preset timer and let you set your own time, we would still highly recommend you to stick with the preset timers at least for your first few meals. Moreover, if your pressure cooker doesn’t have a preset timer that corresponds with your favorite dish, don’t be upset. Many manufacturers today offer online instruction manuals and applications to help you understand and determine the best way to prepare your meals with their pressure cookers.
Pressure Cooking Don’ts
Never overfill the cooker:
Most of the pressure cookers today come with failsafes like vents and regulators to ensure that no injury or damage is caused to the user in case the pot gets overheated. Filling the pressure cookers over two-thirds of their capacity can pose a risk of blockade in vents and regulators, which is extremely dangerous. This should be especially kept in mind when cooking foods like rice that grow considerably during the cooking process. If you’re unsure about the exact marking to hit, check the instruction manual that comes with the cooker for information or the pressure cooker for a marked max fill line.
Never put oil in the cooker:
Most pressure cookers are unable to hand any more than a little amount of oil. So it is highly recommended that you avoid putting oil in a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers can create a setting that can push the oil beyond its smoke point and as a result it can catch on fire. This can lead to extreme fire damage, explosions, and even destruction of property. Therefore, make sure to never put oil when cooking in a pressure cooker or just add a little amount if it’s necessary.
Pressure Cooker Safety Tips
Use Locking Cookers:
For people who prefer using stovetop pressure cookers, finding one with a locking handle can be very crucial, especially for safety purposes. It’s quite usual to move the pressure cooker off the heat or from one stovetop to another while working in the kitchen. Cookers that come with locking handles can make this process easier and safer by allowing you to move the pressure cooker without posing any risk to its seal. While most of the modern pressure cookers have this feature, you may have to confirm if any older models come with this option or not.
Most of the best pressure cookers available in the market today use internal heaters and electric power to operate. Although stovetop pressure cookers outdo electric cookers when it comes to hitting higher pressures, the ease of use and features installed in electric pressure cookers are unmatchable. Electric pressure cookers have simple, easy to understand controls, and come with a host of instructions. They are also often backed by guarantees and warranties. These cookers are the best cooking appliance to get your hands on, not only for delicious meals but also safest cooking experience.
It is true that pressure cooking comes with a few inherent dangers, but at the same time it is one of the safest ways to prepare your meals. The reality is that pressure cookers are way more safe than they claim to be. These cookers are often manufactured to withstand much more pressure than they publicize. Also, if you keep in mind the above mentioned tricks and tips, you can safely prepare your food in pressure cooker without any fear. Understanding how a pressure cooker works may take you some time, but once you’ve learned the trick, cooking meals will become much easier and enjoyable for you.