Pressure Cooker Basics

So it has dawned on me that I have not done any post using my pressure cooker. That has got to change! Pressure Cookers get a bad rap. Many are afraid of their pressure cookers. I will admit, they can be a little scary, but not if you are smart and cautious. I am going to share with you some knowledge that I have found out through a metric-ton of research.

How Are Pressure Cookers Able To Cook Food So Fast?

All pressure cookers are basically made to work using the same method. They cook using high pressurized steam. Full pressure on most pressure cookers is 15psi. That is a lot of pressure. That is why it is important to know YOUR pressure cooker before using. Always read the instructions! Learn the safety features. Talk to other people who are familiar with their pressure cookers.

It is also a good idea to learn the different parts of your pressure cooker. Learn where the pressure regulator is. It is very important that your gasket is in good condition. Make sure there isn’t grease or food build up on the gasket. Washing after every time the cooker is used is always a good idea. I also make sure there are no cracks or holes in the gasket as well. I also do not store my gasket in the lid. I always store it in the pressure cooker so it doesn’t get stretched out, bent, or kinked. The gasket is a VERY important part of the pressure cooker.

Safety Features-

-If the gasket is damaged in any way, it is time to get a new one. A damaged gasket won’t allow pressure to build properly in the cooker.

-Always make sure the lid is attached properly so it can build pressure. A secure lid will also help you make sure once it does build the pressure, the lid won’t go flying through the ceiling and make a huge mess with the contents of the cooker.

-Over-Pressure and or back up plugs will release steam and pressure if the heat isn’t reduced once the cooker is brought up to pressure. That can be a little confusing, so let me explain it a little better. When you are cooking with your pressure cooker, you want to build pressure and then keep that pressure while your food cooks. Once you have the right pressure, you can turn down the heat on the stove. This will help with 2 things. 1- You won’t have burned food on the bottom of the cooker and 2- You will be less likely to have an explosion from too much pressure. Which is where the Back Up Plugs come into play. Most pressure cookers are designed to pop or blow allowing the over pressure to be released instead of having an explosion.

Some things to keep in mind

-It is always a good idea to have a timer near by. A traditional pressure cooker will not have a timer built in. If you have an “Insta-Pot”, it may have one. (I am not really sure, since I do not own an “Insta-Pot”) Time is very important when cooking with a pressure cooker.

-Not all foods are safe to cook in a pressure cooker. Some foods foam and cause build up in the vents and pressure back up plugs.

-NEVER over fill your pressure cooker. Your pressure cooker should never be filled more than 2/3rds of the way full. Foods tend to expand under intense pressure. If you over fill your cooker you can block the back up vents and or cause a high pressure explosion.

-Boiling liquid is what causes the steam. You need to always have at least 1/2 cup of liquid in the pressure cooker when cooking.

-It is always a good idea to check your vent holes before cooking with your pressure cooker. You want to be sure that the vent is clear so you do not have a back up pressure situation.

-ALWAYS OPEN THE PRESSURE COOKER AWAY FROM YOUR FACE!!! Even when your cooker has dropped pressure and is safe to open, the steam and food will still be hot. You do not want to burn your face with the steam and food that is still in the cooker.

Which Pressure Cooker Should I Buy?

That is really up to you. I did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews when I was looking to purchase my first pressure cooker. Remember, pressure cookers and pressure canners are different. You MAY be able to cook in your pressure canner if the manufacturer states so in the instructions for your canner. BUT- you can not can in a basic pressure cooker. It is hard to monitor the pressure in a cooker. Most cookers do not have a psi dial.

When I was researching pressure cookers I decided I wanted a B/R/K Pressure Cooker. I found that it was a good quality and it was also the perfect size for our families needs. My issue I had with this pressure cooker was the price. Amazon sells the B/R/K Pressure Cooker that I wanted for $179. That was a little steep for my pocket book. We did get an amazing deal though on Craigslist.com. We found the exact pressure cooker I wanted for $20. It was brand new and everything was sealed up in the box it came in. I was in HEAVEN!!! So when you decide on what type of pressure cooker you want, check craigslist. You may have some luck there!

I really hope this over view didn’t scare you away from using a pressure cooker. That was not my point to this post. I want you to be educated and safe when cooking anything! And, if you are like most Americans, they were not raised with parents using pressure cookers because of the fear that goes with them. They are perfectly safe as long as you use your mind and follow the cooking procedures for YOUR pressure cooker.


 

 

 

 

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