Cook faster and healthier with a pressure cooker
A pressure cooker is a great item to have if you want to cook great-tasting meals in less time – cooking time is often reduced by as much as 70 percent compared to a traditional oven. There reason for this is in its airtight and watertight design; the pressure cooker is completely sealed and doesn’t allow any liquids or gasses to escape.
Food is placed inside the pressure cooker with a small amount of water, and the boiling point of the water increases as the pressure inside the cooker increases. Once the pressure gets up to about 15 p.s.i. beyond the existing atmospheric pressure, a relief valve opens to allow the excess steam to escape. Water boils at 252 degrees Fahrenheit at this pressure, which helps the food to cook much faster.
Besides the advantage of a faster cooking time, here are some other reasons to buy a pressure cooker:
- It thoroughly cooks food with deep and even heat distribution
- It doesn’t leach vitamins and minerals from foods
- It uses less energy and keeps your kitchen cooler by containing heat and steam
- There are fewer messes and spills since the food is cooked in a covered pot
Many people today still associate danger with using a pressure cooker, since the original designs carried the risk of explosion. Today’s pressure cookers feature several safety valves instead of just one to effectively decrease the risk. Some models also include a locking mechanism to prevent anyone from opening the lid while potentially explosive pressure is contained within. While some risk still remains, keeping your pressure cooker well maintained dramatically reduces it.
Tips for maintaining your pressure cooker include:
- Remove and wash the rubber gasket by hand regularly
- Don’t submerge the lid of the pressure cooker, as this could damage the release valves
- Don’t store your pressure cooker with the lid locked
Most pressure cookers come in 4 to 8 quart sizes and are fashioned from aluminum or stainless steel. While stainless steel pressure cookers are more expensive, you can also use them like a normal pot on your stove. Stainless steel is also easier to clean and lasts longer, potentially saving you money in the long run.
Electric pressure cookers work in the same manner, but use electricity to generate the necessary heat rather than a burner on the stove. The Presto pressure cooker company is one of the more popular manufacturers, producing both electric and stovetop models. When shopping for the best pressure cooker, always factor in the materials, size and whether you prefer a regular or electric version for your needs.
There are many cookbooks which feature pressure cooker recipes; you can also convert regular recipes. The best recipes to try out are for meals that require a longer cooking time like beans, soups, stews or chili. You can also use foods that have a fast cooking time, like steamed vegetables, but the trick is to cook them for only one or two minutes under pressure. Using a pressure cooker requires that you keep a closer watch on your cooking time, as the margin of error is smaller due to the speed involved. If you do everything right, a pressure cooker is a great piece of cookware to have for your kitchen.