Whether you’re a beginner or a chef, it’s hard not to hear about pressure cookers. Pressure cookers are used in heating meat and braising vegetables which are pretty common dishes. For beginners, a pressure cooker sounds like a difficult kitchen appliance to use. Part of this is true, but over time you’ll learn how to use it well. To help you out, here are 10 things that will guide you in knowing more about pressure cookers.
What is a Pressure Cooker?
First things first. A pressure cooker is a kitchen appliance that has a built-in lid. It is often made from stainless steel. It also has an area on top that releases the steam so that you can open the lid safely after heating the food.
A pressure cooker works by trapping the heat in the vessel with the use of a sealed lid. The trapped steam makes it possible to increase the temperature inside. Because of the higher temperature, food gets cooked faster.
10 Important Things Pressure Cooker Users Need to Know
There are Two Types of Pressure Cookers
If you are planning to buy a pressure cooker, you should know that it comes in two types – stovetop and electric. A stovetop pressure cooker is made of stainless steel and if you touch the bottom, you’ll notice that it is especially thick. Compared to electric pressure cookers, a stovetop pressure cooker heats up faster. So if you want to have a faster cooking time, the latter is a better choice for you.
On the other hand, an electric pressure cooker doesn’t need a stove to heat it up. You can adjust the heat and pressure, making it easier for beginners to use the pressure cooker. There are also models that have other added features like control pads.
The Cuts Matter
Most chefs know that when they cook something, it should be chopped evenly. The same thing should be done when you are using a pressure cooker. Because the heat is uniformly spread in the whole device, having equal chunks of food will ensure that they are all cooked at the same time. Also make sure that you cut them in the right size because you don’t want the pieces to melt right away if they’re too small.
Keep it Half-Filled
Although you don’t always have to follow this rule, the rule of thumb for beginners is to just keep it half-filled. This is because a full pressure cooker has a tendency to spill. This is mostly for food that becomes frothy and bubbly. If you don’t know which food does that when heated, just keep the pressure cooker half-filled for safety.
Use More Liquid Rather Than Less
Another important thing to remember is that pressure cookers use water. This will help boil or braise the food you need to get cooked. But not all pressure cookers use water in the same amount. At the same time, not all food absorbs water in the same way. So to be in the safe side of things, it’s best to add more water in the pressure cooker with the meat or vegetables than add less. The tendency of having less water is that it increases the risk of burning the food.
It Can Soften Even the Toughest Meat
A pressure cooker is a dinner saver for a lot of reasons. But the main reason is that it can soften the toughest meat faster than a usual boiler or a pan. Thanks to the lid that traps the heat inside, your meat cuts can be prepared even one hour before your actual dinner. You can even thaw your frozen food in it.
Use Beans to Get to Know Your Pressure Cooker
Rather than ruining your meal because you don’t know how your pressure cooker works, try cooking something simple first. Most people recommend using beans because it doesn’t hurt if you ruin a batch of beans. Depending on the beans, the cooking time will be varied. Some beans are harder than the others and they also absorb water differently.
Not all Pressure Cookers Work the Same Way
Just like tip #5, the best pressure cookers work differently from each other. An electric pressure cooker heats up slower than its stovetop counterpart, so this means that you should adjust your cooking time. To add to that, some are able to adjust the pressure, so you should be more hands-on in checking how best to cook your food. To know how your pressure cooker first, always consult the manual.
Pressure Cookers don’t Always Change the Taste of the Food
Yes, pressure cookers seem to do it all – except change the taste of the food. Unlike pans where you can easily adjust the seasoning of any dish, a pressure cooker doesn’t allow you to do that. You can say that it’s the best tool for braising vegetables and for softening meat, but the best way to season food is to actually cook them in a pan.
Pressure Cookers Can Create a Lot of Different Dishes
Even if pressure cookers have their own limitations, they’re still a handy kitchen appliance to have. Braised vegetables and meat aren’t the only dishes you can do there. You can cook soups by simply sautéeng the spices in the pot before you close the lid. At the other end of the spectrum, you can also create cakes and desserts in a pressure cooker. An example of this is a cheesecake that needs to be warm and moist.
There’s a Proper Way to Store a Pressure Cooker
And lastly, you should know that there’s a proper way to store a pressure cook. The right way to store it is to keep the lid off the pot after cleaning. This will help avoid foul smells from accumulating in the pot. If the pot is still warm, it will also help cool it down even faster before you start washing it.
If you’re still getting the hang of your pressure cooker, don’t worry. Over time, you’ll know the best tricks of your own pressure cooker and this will help you adjust your cooking style.
- Everything You Need to Know About Pressure Cookers – Mashed
- How to Use a Pressure Cooker – Wiki How