Are you reluctant about using a Pressure Cooker?
Electric pressure cookers are not the kind of kitchen gadget that you can just use without a thought. They are handy and safe but also need to be used with caution. Read your manual. I was already familiar with the over the stove top pressure cooker which gave me the advantage of understanding this neat electric unit. There are many questions that people ask about pressure cooking and because they are not informed they are afraid of this cooking process because there is pressure involved with the vision of a pressure explosion. Pressure Cookers are not dangerous while they are cooking. As a matter of fact, they are safer than a pot of boiling water because they are sealed unlike a pot of boiling water that could become a hazard if it was spilled or knocked over. An electric pressure cooker has preprogrammed options which make it very easy and fun to use. Any kitchen appliance requires respect and caution.
The best way to eliminate fear is to take in knowledge and allow you to experience this fabulous nutritional method in cooking. So here we go.
What is Quick and Natural Release?
The pressure cooker will have pressure in it when it has completed it’s cooking process. The pressure needs to be released before opening the cover. You have two options:
- Quick release means quickly releasing the pressure by lifting the valve. This method is used for food that doesn’t need that extra cooking time. You’ll hear the hissing sound of the steam escaping which is normal.
- Natural release means to allow the steam to escape on its own while the food that requires more cooking time will continue to cook during this process. The pin will drop which unlocks the cover once the steam is completely released. This takes about 10 – 15 minutes.
- High, Medium and Low Pressure
The electric pressure cookers commonly have the convenience of about 10 preset program levels of cooking. This takes away from figuring which type of pressure to use. Otherwise a manual will indicate which type of pressure to use according to the food being cooked.
For the sake of understanding the pressure ranges from LOW 6 to 8PSI to High 13 to 15PSI and Medium is in between.
- PSI means “pounds per square inch.”
These numbers can vary depending on the type of pressure cooker you have so it’s always very important to read the manual that comes with your unit.
- Pressure Indicator
The pressure indicator aka “locking indicator” is located on the lid of the electric pressure cooker. Sometimes they are in a hole where it’s not very visible or on the flat part of the lid where it’s obvious. It’s a pin that will pop up and seal the unit once the cooker reaches the correct pressure. The pin will drop down when the pressure is reduced. As a rule, one this pin locks the pressure the lid is also locked and is not possible to turn to open.
- Pressure Release Valve
The pressure release valve is found on the lid of the pressure cooker. If this valve is pushed, lifted or turned, it will release pressure from the cooker. When your unit is finished its cooking time the steam can be released the by lifting the valve. Using another tool is best in order to keep a distance to avoid any burning from the steam. It will give a hissing sound while releasing the steam.
Be very careful while releasing the steam as it can really burn in an instant. I didn’t get burned badly with the steam but it has touched me enough for me to react fast. Do take CAUTION of the steam.
- Silicone Sealing Ring
This is located on the inside of the pressure cooker’s lid. This seal makes the unit air tight which will prevent any steam from escaping during the cooking process.
- Steam Condensation Collector
This is a little plastic unit that is located on the side of the pressure cooker. It collects extra condensation during the cooking. It can be removed emptied and cleaned after each use.
- Trivet and Steam Basket
The unit may come with a trivet and or steam basket. They are used to keep the food off the bottom of the cooker.
Two Important Points About Pressure Cooking
Using the pressure cooker isn’t the same as cooking over the stove using a pot. The method is a totally different way of thinking where a little figuring and planning is needed. But it’s not difficult.
- Cooking time is set according to the PSI level and will depend on the setting of your electric pressure cooker. Always refer to your manual for the general cooking time for all your recipes. You can always add more time if you find that the food is not cooked enough by adding a couple more minutes by bringing the cooker back up to pressure. Yes, it’s “boo boo proof.”
- The minimum and maximum of liquid or food required will vary according to how much of either ingredient used. All recipes do require a minimum amount of water in order to create steam for pressure. All together with both food and liquid the minimum amount or maximum needs to be followed. Never overfill the pressure cooker and never deprive it of it’s needed measurement of liquid.
Keep in mind to not fill the electric pressure cooker more than 2/3 full. There is usually a marked guide on the pot which is used and also in the manual provided.
- The Pressure Cooker is Locked so never even try to open it. If you try to open it you will see that it’s sealed and locked. This is a safety feature because if it could be opened before it decompressed, it would be very dangerous because the steam would burst out and cause a terrible injury by burning you.
If you need to open the pressure cooker then manually release the steam at the pressure release valve.
13. Preset Programs are on the front panel of the pressure cooker which makes it very easy to use. You can also adjust the time by increasing it and it also has a feature of setting a Start timer so that you can have it cook your food and be done while you’re gone. You can come home to a ready cooked meal.
I recommend an electric pressure cooker especially for the first time user as it can help you understand how safely this cooking process can be done. I’ve had my unit for 4 years. I can say that they do last a long time and I use it 2 or 3 times a week. That is a lot of uses over a period of 4 years.
Thank you for visiting. I hope that you come back again.