A pressure cooker cooks food under extreme pressure. It’s a great way to speed up the cooking process of roasts and other foods such as beans that you may be in a hurry to cook.The pressure is created by locking the lid to the pot and putting a pressure valve on the top of the cooker. The top allows so much pressure to be released at a time.
As the liquid in the vessel begins to heat up it builds up a pressure that will begin to cook the meat or beans or whatever you may have in the cooker. Nearly any food that is cooked in a liquid can be placed into such a cooker and cooked under pressure. As the food is cooked it begins to become more tender and palatable.
In 1679, Denis Papin, French Physicist, invented a “steam digester” which was the precursor to what we today call a pressure cooker. He wanted to find a way to reduce cooking time. while his invention was met with trepidation, it would later go on to be the cooker that we know of today. This would take nearly 200 hundred years.
Today, few households are without one. From canning under pressure to cooking a roast quickly, the cooker is used in most households. The cooker is made up of several parts. the first part is the pot for placing the food into.
Then there is a metal trivet to keep the food above the liquid. There is a metal lid that has a rubber gasket around it so that it will seal. This lid locks onto the pot and will secure it so that it can’t be opened during the cooking process.
Then there is a pressure valve that will sit on top of what looks like a screw on the top of the pot. There are other accessories that are readily available as well such as a basket that can fit inside of it and a divider rack.
The pan itself is typically made up of either aluminum or stainless steel. There are several different types of cookers including electric versions that are simply plugged into an outlet. Pressure cooking always requires a liquid. The liquid is what goes under pressure to speed cook the food in the container.
As the liquid heats up it will begin to build up the pressure in the container. The pressure will then begin to cook the food. This process of building up pressure can take up to twenty minutes depending on the heat used and the food being cooked.
It’s important to remember that you don’t begin timing the process until the pressure is built up. Many people make the mistake of beginning the timing process as soon as they begin to hear the steam building up. This is a huge mistake. It will result in underdone food.
It’s vital to wait until the pressure is at its full peak before beginning the timing process. As you use the cooker you’ll learn how to tell by the sound that it’s time to begin timing. The pressure release valve on the top of the cooker will begin to rock back and forth as the steam is built up and the pressure begins to release.
Before it can begin to release the steam, all of the liquid must first be turned into steam. The cooker then releases the air and begins the process of cooking the food via the pressurized steam. Many foods should be pre braised or browned prior to putting them into the cooker. This will help to release flavors and give the meats a nice brown color that is desired in cooking.
Simply place the meat in a preheated pan and allow it to braise on all sides prior to placing it into the cooker. This will give it time to release flavors and enhance the flavor in the cooking process. After the cooking process, it’s important to allow the steam time to completely release. Because of this, the lid will lock and remain locked until it’s safe to open the lid.
If the lid were opened before the steam was to all escape, there would be serious consequences including burns and injury. Never attempt to open the pressure cooker if the lid won’t release. When the cooker is cool enough, the lid will release.
It can take fifteen minutes or longer for the lid to be ready to release. Any efforts to force the lid open during this time are dangerous. Just let it sit and cool down naturally and the food will still be plenty hot to serve as a meal.
In an effort to speed this process up, many plunge the pan into cold water. While this can be done safely, it takes a lot of practice and the steps must be done correctly to avoid injury. The best way to release the pressure is to patiently wait the fifteen minutes or longer before attempting to open the lid. This will keep everyone safe.
There are many safety features that should be considered when using a cooker of this nature. Remember to read all of the instructions and follow all of the direction prior to using a cooker like this. If there is anything that isn’t understood always make sure to find out how to properly use it. Never guess. This can result in injury or in rare cases, even death.
There are different sizes of cookers and many are designed to be used as a canner. Even if they’re designed to be used as a canner they can still cook foods as long as the proper steps are taken.
Cookers can also be used at higher altitudes as long as you keep in mind that they will take a bit longer to reach the right temperature.
Always read the information with your cooker and follow the instructions for best results. Pressure cookers are an ideal cooking method that will enhance the cooking process.