Pressure cooker is an amazing invention of cooking furniture in kitchen, which gives a super great support for housewives. It speeds up the time of making food, meanwhile still retaining all the nutrients, moisture and flavor of the food.
The usage of pressure cooker is not really complicated, but you’d better be careful and follow the instructions of manufacturer if you don’t want to damage your food and also the cooker. A lot of users give negative reviews about their pressure cooker they bought such as it is burned in the bottom; the heat is not trapped, etc. But sometimes, the reason is they did not read the manual provided by producer or they just did not bought the best pressure cooker for their cooking need.
Therefore, make sure you read the guide of how to use the pressure cooker carefully as well as check the condition of the pressure before you start to use. Here are some general constructions of using a pressure cooker:
Get to know how a pressure cooker work
It is important to understand what pressure cooker is and how it works. Pressure cooker is sealed vessel that uses pressure to trap heat inside the pot. The heat produces steam which increases the boiling point in order to cook in the very short time. In the meantime, the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients cannot come out with the steam because all of them are trap in the pot.
There are two kinds of pressure cooker. The old style, first generation pressure cooker with some type of weighted, or “jiggle top” pressure regulator which sits a top the vent pipe on the lid, or the new style, the latest generation which is a closed system and uses spring valves.
How to fill the pressure cooker
There must always some kind of liquid in the pressure cooker before you cook anything in it. But never put more than 2/3 full of liquid into the cooker, because it needs space for steam to accumulate.
The quantity of liquid for a jiggle top cooker is at least one cup of water. This amount of water is sufficient for 20 minutes of cooking. For a valve cooker, the minimum amount of liquid should be ½ cup.
Getting started to cook with pressure cooker
- Before cooking, make sure that the inner part of the lid rim, outer rim of the pot and the valve are clean. Check that the gasket is flexible and not dried out; replace if necessary.
- Place the ingredients you prepared into the pressure cooker. Add the amount of water that needed for the food you are making
- Take off the safety valve or weighted pressure regulator off and close the lid firmly. Remember the lid is lock. Then place the pressure cooker on your stove and set the highest heat. The cooker will start to covert from water to heat.
- When the pressure reaches the designed safety limit, the cooker will begin to simmer the food. In old jiggle top valves, this will be when steam comes out of the vent and the weighted pressure regulator will begin to jiggle (that’s why it is called “jiggle top”). Put the safety valve on the nozzle when you see steam coming out of the nozzle. In new pressure cookers there are marks on the valve stem that indicate the pressure inside the cooker. The marks will appear when the pressure increases.
- Reduce the heat to lower level, so that the food will be continue to be simmered and the pressure cooker will not shrill sound.
How to release the pressure
When you finish cooking, turn the heat off and don’t try to remove the lid immediately. To release the pressure, you have to follow one among the following three ways:
- Natural Release Method:This way is used for meat, foods that may froth and those that are mostly liquid. Simply let the pressure reduce naturally. It may take 5 to 20 minutes to be done.
- Cold-Water Release Method:This is the fastest method for releasing pressure and an ideal choice for cooking certain vegetables when you want to stop the cooking quickly to prevent overcooking. Place the pressure cooker in the sink. Hold the cooker at a slight angle and run cold water over the outer edge of the lid so that it flows over the lid and down the sides. Do not let water run directly over the vent or valve.
- Quick Release Method: Modern pressure cookers have a special valve that can be used to release pressure quickly. You can use a spoon to press the valve. Don’t use this method for foods that are mostly liquid or tend to froth—the froth might clog the valve. And avoid this way with food made of meat, because the rapid release of pressure may make the meat toughen.
And when all of the pressure has been released, you can remove the lid in very carefully way. Then take the food out.
Cleaning and storage
To maintain your pressure cooker for a long term of using, you should wash it carefully, pay attention to the rubber seal and the vent. When storing it, the lid should be put upside down on top of the cooker or place it on the side.