Kitchen Appliance Advice

Pressure Cooker Buying Advice

Pressure cookers look very similar to other cooking pots, except their tops are a bit more elaborate treated. How they work is that they completely seal the pot. When the liquid inside boils the steam is trapped inside the pot. Having nowhere else to go, steam builds up pressure. This results in higher cooking temperatures and shorter cooking times. If you're old enough to remember the steaming, spitting monster of a pot, noisily rattling on the kitchen stove. The old pressure cookers were very dangerous if mishandled. Improper release of the steam may lead to big explosion.

Pressure Cooker
If you're very young, you probably have never seen a pressure cooker at all. But pressure cookers are back in fashion now and with good news, they are nothing like the noisy, rattling, steam spitting monsters your mother or grandmother used. Today's pressure cookers are safe and easy to use. The pressure of the trapped steam can be measured in pound of force per square inch or PSI. It refers to how many pounds of pressure per square inch you will be cooking with.

The gasket or rubber ring is another important component of today's pressure cookers, as this makes a seal that traps in steam and heat and allows pressure to build. The gasket fits on the side part of the cover. In order to make sure you get a good seal, make sure all the components are clean and free from food particles. Even in the old days, most pressure cooker disasters could usually be attributed to user error, much like my mother and the beans. Nonetheless, today's pressure cookers offer a much higher safety level than their predecessors. One thing people must remember, you can't open them until the pressure is released to zero pressure.

Today's pressure cookers have at least three valves for safety and will automatically release pressure should it build too high. Different types of pressure cookers have different styles of valves, but if you hear hissing or noise coming from the cooker, it's the valve telling you to check the pressure.

You may curious to ask that even though today's pressure cookers are safer than the old fashioned ones, why take a chance at all with something that cooks under pressure? Reasons are many. Due to the shorter cooking time and the fact that food is cooked in less liquid that gets boiled away, more vitamins and minerals are retained than with conventional cooking methods. Food cooks up to 70% faster in a pressure cooker, making it a wonderful tool for when you come home after work and have to get dinner on the table in a short time. You can put ingredients in the pressure cooker and by the time you're finished tidying up the kitchen you can have a wholesome, hearty home cooked meal. As less cooking time is needed, less energy is needed to accomplish the task. As all the steam and heat stays within the pot, your kitchen stays cooler than with traditional stovetop or oven methods. As all pressure cooker foods are cooked in a covered pot, there are no messy splashes or spatters to clean up and no boiled over foods.

Buying Tips:
You'll find a variety of pressure cookers on the market, usually ranging from 4 to 8 quarts. If you can only afford one, a 6 quart model is good for most cooking tasks. The pots are made of aluminum or stainless steel and like with all cookware, you get what you pay for. I prefer the stainless steel models as they are generally higher quality, heavier pots, which always results in better cooking with less danger of food sticking to the bottom. The heavier stainless steel models are also great because you can brown or saut?foods in them before cooking under pressure, without dirtying another pot. Different models have different valves and locking systems, but all work in much the same way.

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