Buying A Pressure Cooker
It seems like more and more people are buying pressure cookers. Which is really no surprise. After all, these machines have come a long way over the past few decades. They are no longer they ticking steam powered time bombs that your grandmother’s machine used to be. Pressure cookers are more sophisticated and safer than ever before. They are also more convenient than ever before as well. But with that being said, you still have to do due diligence and do a bit of research. This guide will give you some tips that will help you buy the best model available.
One of the first things you’ll need to do is to pour over some pressure cooker reviews. You can then compile a list that of all of the models that fellow consumers have been happy with. You may also learn of additional features each model has that isn’t included in the description.
Now that you have a list of the top models, you can then decide whether or not you want an aluminum pressure cooker or a stainless steel one. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, as you can see below.
Aluminum-Aluminum cookers costs less, don’t weigh a whole lot and provide better heating conduction than stainless cookers. The cons of pressure cookers made from this material is that this metal is very prone to staining and pitting. Now, that won’t affect how it functions, but is something that needs to be considered.
Stainless Steel-These cookers are generally more expensive, weigh a lot more and don’t conduct heat as well as aluminum ones. However, they are also sturdier, have a more durable finish and last a long time.
There is also a third choice you need to consider. One that combines the durability of stainless steel with the heat conduction of aluminum. And that is a stainless steel model with a bonded aluminum base that allows for more even heating and prevents hot-spots. If possible, you should consider one of the models.
After you consider model popularity and construction, it is now time to think about what size pressure cooker you need. Remember, even the best pressure cooker might not be right for you if it is the wrong size for your cooking needs. Below are some of the most popular pressure cooker sizes and their recommendations:
4 Quart Models-If you are just cooking for yourself—or one other person—then this is the perfect size cooker for you.
6 Quart Models-This size is good for families that consist of 2-4 members
8 Quart Models-This size is great for bigger families that consist of more than 4 members. It is also a good size for those people who make large quantities of pasta sauce, gravy or soup stock.
16-23 Quart Models-These cookers are bigger than what most people need for cooking. People who plan to use it for canning vegetables or meats, or have an extremely large amount of people to feed.
Now that you have poured over pressure cooker reviews and have decided on a model that is highly rated, and has the composition and size you need, it is now time to further narrow down your selection by choosing one that has the right features for you.
It is absolutely necessary that you buy a pressure cooker that has a safety valve. These valves keep steam from building up in your cooker to critical levels and basically turning it into a bomb. However, what you might not know is that there are several different types of safety valves. Let’s go over some of the most common ones, so we can choose the right one for our needs.
Weighted Valves-This type of valve is placed on top of a vent pipe and is rated for about 15 PSI of steam. When these type of pressure cooker reaches temperature, the weighted valves will begin to perform a rocking motion. When it has reached temperature, it will also start to make a whistling sound. If the sound stops while cooking, then you know that you need to fix the problem before it reaches the critical condition. Cookers with this type of valve are usually fairly inexpensive.
Modified Weighted Valves-This type of valve is connected to the machine and doesn’t perform the characteristic rocking motion that weighted valves do. This valve also maintains a pressure of 15 PSI but it does it by releasing steam on an intermittent basis. You can tell this machine has started cooking when it begins to release steam. However, since it doesn’t have an audible warning like the weighted valves do, and it can be difficult to see the steam beginning to be released, these cookers generally need to be watched closer than models with weighted valves. There is one more thing to consider: Price on models with this type of valve are usually more expensive than weighted valve models.
Here are a few more features that you need to consider before putting money down on your new pressure cooker:
Cooking Rack-Some models come with a cooking rack that keeps the food above the liquid level and segregates them from each other.
Secondary Release Valves- If possible, you should also consider buying a pressure cooker with a secondary venting system. This will serve as an additional safety feature that will prevent the cooker from exploding if somehow the main vent pipe is stopped up. It’s not likely the main vent pipe will become stopped up, but it’s nice to have the peace of mind that if it did, then your pressure cooker wouldn’t become a dangerous weapon.
Warranty-Always look for a model with a good warranty. Nowadays, most reputable companies will offer at least a ten year warranty on their pressure cookers, and some even offer 12 year warranties.
And this concludes my two part guide on buying a pressure cooker. Follow this guide and you should be able to find a cooker that fits your needs and your budget.
Quick Start Guide For Pressure Cooker Cooking
Judging from some of the comments made on pressure cooker reviews, I think the best guide that I can give you is one that explains how to properly use your cooker without all of the confusing technical talk. And that is why I am writing this quick guide today. This guide will tell you how to properly use your pressure cooker from the moment you receive it. Follow these steps and you’ll be using your cooker in no time flat and without any of the usual problems.
Read The Manual
The first thing that you should do when you receive your pressure cooker is to read the manual. There are differences between all of the cookers out there and no one guide can give you tips on each individual one. Therefore, the first step you should take before using your cooker is to thoroughly acquaint yourself with the manual, especially the sections on it use and safety features.
Getting Ready To Use
The next step before you use your pressure cooker should be to make sure that it has no dents or cracks in it. A damaged pressure cooker is potentially dangerous and should never be used under any circumstances. You should also make sure that it is thoroughly clean before you begin.
Filling The Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker requires some form of liquid to be in it at all times. What type (e.g Water or broth) or how much depends on the recipe and the type of cooker used. For the jiggling weighted valve type cookers, then a cup of water is usually the minimum required. For more modern valve cookers, then ½ cup is usually the minimum.
While you certainly don’t want to under-fill the pressure cooker, you also don’t want to over-fill it. That’s why you should never ever fill a pressure cooker more than 2/3 full of liquid because there has to be enough room for the steam to expand inside it. If you are cooking grains such as rice, then you should use even less water than that. Some grains—particularly rice—expand greatly during the cooking process. This can then cause them to clog the pressure release valve. That is why when you are cooking rice you should never fill the cooker more than ½ full.
Getting Your Food Ready For Pressure Cooking
Poultry And Meat-These items should be browned before they are placed inside the pressure cooker. This will not only allow the maximum flavor of the meat or poultry to come out, but it will also slightly cook it. After all, you don’t want your vegetables to become mushy before the meat is even finished cooking.
Fish-If you want to cook fish in your pressure cooker, then the first thing you will need to do is oil the basket that fits inside it. This is so the fish doesn’t stick to it. After you’ve done that, you should wash your fish and place it in the basket. Make sure you put at least ¾ of a cup of liquid in the pressure cooker.
Preparing Fresh Vegetables-Make sure that you wash your veggies thoroughly and place them in the steamer basket. What type of vegetables you are cooking will determine how much water you place in the cooker. If you are cooking vegetables with a relatively low cook time, then use about ½ of a cup of liquid. Use 2 cups for cooking tougher vegetables such as potatoes.
This concludes our best pressure cooker user tips. To continue on with this tutorial, then please read the second chapter of our Quick Start Guide For Pressure Cookers for additional tips.
Using The Cooker
Now that you have loaded food into your cooker and the requisite amount of liquid, you can begin cooking it. The first thing that you’ll want to do is to make sure that the lid is properly closed. On some models you have to take the safety valve off to fit the lid. If this is the case, then make sure you return the safety valve once the lid has been fitted.
The next thing you will want to do is put the cooker on a burner and turn the heat to high. If your machine is one of the older weighted valve systems, then it will begin to jiggle when steam begins to be released. Newer cookers will have marks on the valve stem that will indicate the pressure in the cooker.
When the cooker has reached temperature (water is beginning to be converted into steam), then set the burner temperature down so that it will just simmer the pressure cooker. You don’t want the pressure cooker to continue gaining pressure. You just want it to retain pressure already built up. When it has reached its cooking temperature you can then begin the countdown on your cook time.
Reduce The Pressure
When your food has finished cooking, then turn off the burner and release the pressure from the cooker. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID. Release the pressure in the cooker first using one of the following methods:
Cold Water System: This is the fastest way to reduce pressure in your cooker. This method requires that you take the cooker and run it under a cold tap until the pressure falls within the unit. Obviously, this is a method that can only be used for conventional models and not for electric ones.
The Natural System: This is a good method to use if you want to slowly lower the pressure slowly. It is often used for foods that have long cooking times such as roasts and bone-in veal. Just remember that the food will continue to cook while pressure is dropping—which is usually around 20 minutes.
Quick Release System: Most of the best pressure cookers have quick release devices that will release the pressure quickly.
Remove The Food
Once you have determined that the pressure is released, then you can slowly remove the lid. And that is the quick guide for using your pressure cooker.
The Health Benefits Of Pressure Cookers
Over the last decade, I must have heard the myth that pressure cooking food is bad for your health thousands of times. Not only in the comment sections of pressure cooker review sites, but also by self proclaimed nutritional experts. It is a myth that I never believed but one that seemed to persist despite my objections.
All of these objections were based on the assumption that cooking at higher temperatures somehow damages the nutritional value of food. That mankind has been cooking at relatively low temperatures over an open fire for thousands of years and therefore could only ingest foods cooked at lower temperatures. Which I always believed to be completely ridiculous.
Now science has confirmed my belief that pressure cooking isn’t bad for human health. In fact, it has even taken it a step further. It has proven that it is actually a healthier form of cooking. In a recently published scientific study, it has been shown that pressure cooking actually preserved most of the nutrients destroyed by traditional cooking methods. It showed that pressure cooked broccoli retained over ninety percent of its vitamin c. Contrast this with steaming (which only preserves seventy-eight percent of vitamin c) and boiling (which only preserves sixty-seven percent of vitamin c), and you can clearly see pressure cooking is the best method of cooking food.
That might seem counter-intuitive since pressure cookers do cook at a higher temperature than other cooking methods, but it makes sense when you really think about it. It might use a higher temperature, but it uses it for a much shorter period of time. Which means that the foods aren’t exposed to these high temperatures long enough for their nutrients to break down. Sure, if you overcook your food to the consistency of baby food, then you are going to use a lot of nutrients. However, that is true of any cooking method. When used properly, pressure cookers retain the nutritional value of foods better.
Another advantage that pressure cookers have over traditional cooking methods is they use less water. Water is usually the main culprit when you talk about nutrients being removed from your vegetables. That is why experts say that you should steam your veggies instead of boiling them because water leeches vitamins and minerals from food. Well, I am here to tell you that you should probably be pressure cooking them instead.
If you’ve just read this article and need more proof that pressure cooking is better for you than previously thought, then I will cite one more study. A study done in the nineties that said that it was better to pressure cook peas than boiling them because pressure cookers break down Phytic acid and make the peas more digestible. Do you need any more reasons to break out your best pressure cooker and using it to make all of your meals? I don’t think so. These devices can be a great tool to help you manage your health by helping your food retain more of its nutritional value.
Getting The Most From Your Pressure Cooker
Those of you who have read some of the pressure cooker reviews out there will know that these incredible time-saving machines come in a variety of different styles and sizes. And all of them have their own features that make them worth buying. However, I bet that many of you don’t know that it isn’t what brand of pressure cooker you buy that matters, but how you take care of it.
Many people don’t seem to understand that it isn’t necessarily what brand of cooker that you own but how you take care of it that matters. If you put little thought in the use and care of these machines, then you aren’t going to get the most out of them. And that is a simple fact. Take care of it and it will give you years of service. It doesn’t matter if you have the cheapest machine on the planet or the best pressure cooker out there. So with that in mind, I would like to give you a few tips that will help you keep your pressure cooker running at peak performance.
How you store your pressure cooker matters. That is why you should always make sure that you hand wash it after you are done with it, and store it with the lid on the pot upside down.
Before you put it away however, you should do a preliminary check of all of its systems. You should check the safety valves and make sure that nothing is obstructing them and you should check the rubber gasket. Check that this gasket is pliable and not worn out.
Before You Cook
There are a few things that you need to know about using a pressure cooker. Firstly, you should make sure that you always use at least one cup of liquid in it while cooking. However, too much liquid can be bad as well, so be sure to only fill it ½ full of liquid. Secondly, never cram it full of food. You should never fill it up more that 2/3 of the way with food.
Another thing to remember is to always cut up the food you place in it. This is not only so the food cooks evenly, but also that all of the flavors remain constant throughout the entire dish.
Cooking With Your Pressure Cooker
There are a few things you should keep in mind when cooking with a pressure cooker. When you initially start you pressure cooker, you should start it on high heat. After it has reached temperature and pressure, you should then turn it to a lower setting so that it retains its pressure without exceeding it.
You should also remember that the cooking times of your favorite recipe might be approximate. And even if the recipe is designed specifically for the pressure cooker, you need to realize that the time might be understated. So always be sure to set a timer and check it when it is supposed to be done. If it needs additional cooking time, then do so in five minute intervals until it is done.
Follow these tips and you can rest assured that your pressure cooker will not only do the best job possible cooking your food, but will also last as long as possible.
Pressure Cooker Cooking Tips
If you have never used a pressure cooker but still want to cook like a pro with it, then I have some good news for you today. I am going to tell you how to cook with your pressure cooker and end up with fantastic results. You may think that cooking with one of these machines is difficult but I assure you it isn’t. All you need to do is make a few adjustments and you’ll be well on your way.
Before we start however, I want to take a few moments to tell you that it is important to get a good quality machine. It doesn’t matter if it is a stove top model or an electric model (although electric models are easier to use). Just be sure to buy the best quality one possible. Check pressure cooker reviews—if necessary—to help you choose the right cooker for you.
When cooking meats in a traditional fashion, many people brown the meat in a pan with oil and then deglaze the pan to help add flavor to the dish, yet they don’t do this when using a pressure cooker. I guess they don’t realize that they can not only do it this way but that they should be doing it this way.
All you have to do is add a little bit of oil to the pressure cooker—preferable a light vegetable or olive oil—and heat it uncovered it on medium high heat. Then when it has heated up, add your meat in small batches and brown it. Then you take the meat out of the cooker and set aside. Now you can begin the deglazing process. Pour a little bit of wine or broth into the cooker and scrap the sides with a spatula. All of those delicious food particles have now been released into the wine and broth. You can now continue on with cooking by placing the meat—and all the other ingredients you plan on cooking with it—back into the pressure cooker and cooking it under pressure.
Cook Different Foods At Different Times
some foods, such as meat, take longer to go than other ingredients, such as vegetables. That is why you shouldn’t throw them in all at one time. If you do, then you are likely to end up with either the meat under-cooked or the vegetables over-cooked. So be sure to start meat first, and then right before it is done, add the veggies.
Keep Two Electric Burners Going For Stovetop Cookers
This is one of the best pressure cooker tips I can give those of you who have a stovetop pressure cooker and an electric stove: Keep 2 burners going at the same time. Since you want to start the pressure cooker on high and then finish up on medium, it is best to have 2 burners going because electric stoves don’t react very quickly. Keep one burner for high heat and the second burner set on medium heat. When the pressure cooker reaches pressure, all you have to do is move it onto the second burner and continue cooking.
Pressure Cooking Beans – A Complete Guide
You have gone through all of the pressure cooker reviews and have bought the best cooker that you can and now you want to put it to the test. One of the best dishes for beginners that I have found are beans. They are easy to make, delicious and full of healthy nutrients. It is also pretty hard to mess up beans in a pressure cooker and therefore they are perfect to get started with.
There are about a dozen different ways to make beans. You can steam them, boil them and even bake them. But cooking them in the cooker is one of my favorite ways because they not only turn out perfectly but also cook a whole lot quicker than other methods.
As easy are beans are to make in a pressure cooker however, there are some steps that you are going to have to follow to have them turn out perfectly. Fortunately, I have outlined these steps and presented them to you in an easy to follow format. Follow these steps and you’ll have a pot of delicious beans in no time.
Presoak The Beans
The first thing you’ll need to do is to clean and presoak the beans. Make sure that you rinse them thoroughly and pick out any small stones that may be in them. Then place them in a large bowl with some cold water and place plastic wrap over the top. Allow to soak for about 8-10 hours.
Time To Cook
After presoaking you can now move on to cooking. For every cup of beans you put in the cooker you have to use three cups of water. Just be sure to not overfill it. When cooking beans, you should never fill the cooker more than half way full.
Also be sure that you don’t add anything to the beans that might prolong their cooking time. Ingredients that might add additional cooking time include tomatoes, any type of citrus, vinegar and even salt. If you like your beans salted, then be sure to salt them after they are done cooking.
How long you cook the beans in your best pressure cooker really depends on what types of beans you have. For instance—garbanzo, black and kidney beans all take at least twenty minutes to cook in a pressure cooker. The “white” beans such as northern and navy take approximately ten minutes to cook, as does pinto and anasazi. The only white bean that really takes a long time to cook is cannellini. This type of bean can take about eight minutes to cook.
You can tell when the beans are cooked to perfection when you can squish them with a spoon. If you want a thicker bean soup base, then use a potato masher on some of the beans after they are done and cook them for an additional minute. For a thinner base, then cook as prescribed. After that, you can season the beans to taste and make yourself a bowl. Congratulations! You just made beans in your pressure cooker.
Yes, You Can Cook Eggs In Your Pressure Cooker
A lot of people think that pressure cookers can only be used to cook stews or roasts. At least that is what I gather from reading many of these people’s comments in pressure cooker reviews. However, I am here to shout to the world that the pressure cooker is a lot more versatile tool than that. It can be used to cook just about anything. One thing that cooks beautifully in one of these cookers are eggs. Now, You wouldn’t think that eggs and pressure cookers would go together, but in fact they do. These cookers are perfect for making hard and soft boiled eggs, and for making the brunch favorite, oeufs en cocotte. Here are the easy steps for making both of those egg delicacies.
Soft And Hard Cooked Eggs
Fill your pressure cooker with about a cup of cold water, and insert your cooker’s basket. If you have a heat proof egg stand, then you can insert the egg on top of this and place it inside the basket. If not, then you can just place the egg in the basket. It’ll be fine.
If you have an electric pressure cooker, then set it to low and turn it on. For the stove top models, place it on a burner on high heat. When it has reached low temperature, lower your heat and start timing it. Cook it for six minutes for a hard boiled egg and three minutes for a soft cooked egg.
When it has finished cooking, then use the cold pressure release system (this method can be found in our quick guide pt. 2). Once the pressure has been released, then you can remove them from the cooker, place them in a bowl and run them under cool water for about a minute. They are now ready to serve.
Oeufs en Cocotte (Eggs In Pots)
To make this recipe, you are going to need the best presser cooker with a basket, as well as some ramekins. If you don’t have ramekins, then you can use any type of small, heat-proof cup.
Start by placing oiling the inside of your ramekins with oil. Then place a slice of your favorite vegetable or lunch meat in the bottom of the ramekin. Then crack your egg on top of it. Then top it off with your favorite cheese and herbs. Cover the top of it with foil and its now ready to be cooked.
Add one cup of water into your pressure cooker and put the basket into it. Now place the ramekins inside the basket and close the lid. Set the cooker’s pressure to low and place it on a burner set to high. When it reaches its low temperature setting, then lower the heat and cook for four minutes.
After the cooking time has elapsed, you can then use the quick release method to release the steam. If you have an electric cooker, then just use the quick release valve to release pressure. Now you can remove your eggs and enjoy your Sunday brunch.