In the first part of this tutorial we’ve addressed the protocol of preparing food to be used in the pressure cooker. Now it’s time to address actually using the cooker. Something that is asked quite frequently in the comment sections of pressure cooker reviews. So let’s get right into it.
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.
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.