I am an avid fan of pressure cooker and we have Lea today to share some useful info about this wonderful cooking tool.
While you’re probably accustomed to hearing people discuss being “in a pressure cooker” to describe a stressful situation – do you really know what this appliance does? All colloquialisms aside, a pressure cooker is an energy-efficient and speedy way to prepare meals in a home kitchen. An electric pressure cooker can yield a full meal in a short amount of time, and you can save a few bucks on your utility bills when you use a pressure cooker rather than your oven or microwave.
What Is a Pressure Cooker?
A pressure cooker utilizes the power of steam to cook everything from ribs and pork chops to veggies. The steam created from boiling water inside the appliance creates steam pressure, which quickly increases the temperature inside the pressure cooker. Since the pressure cooker is air tight, no air is allowed in or out of the appliance, which further allows the steam to permeate the contents and cook them very quickly. Steam pressure creates a higher-temperature environment than most other conventional cooking methods.
How Has This Appliance Evolved?
Once upon a time, pressure cookers got a bad name because they were poorly constructed and sometimes resulted in burns or other injuries to users. These days, safety valves release excess steam when pressure inside exceeds an acceptable level, and cover locks prevent the top of the pressure cooker from flying off. Additionally, pressure regulators can limit the pressure inside the cooker to 15psi. A quick look at electric pressure cookers, such as the ones found at Bed, Bath, & Beyond reveals that new, electric models are quite impressive and certainly safe to use: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com. Most models even have racks or drawers that will keep food above the boiling water and stop flavors from mixing.
How to Use Your Pressure Cooker
A big part of properly using your pressure cooker is finding the right model in the first place. Most models allow for 4, 6, or 8 quarts of water. Unless you are making large quantities of food, a 4- or 6-quart model is likely right up your alley. Both aluminum and stainless steel models are on the market; aluminum versions are typically less expensive. If you are new to pressure cookers, a model with a weighted valve is a good choice. Weighted valves rock back and forth, providing a visual and audible indicator that they are working. Pressure is automatically released when it builds to the maximum 15psi. You can also get a modified release valve or spring valve, which require you to watch the pressure and turn down the temperature as necessary.
Pressure cookers are a great way to create impressive meals without using a ton of energy. In just one short hour, in fact, you can steam some vegetables and cook chicken breasts or even braised beef. If you are looking for an economical way to become the best chef in your household – a pressure cooker may be just the ticket.
Lena Simon is a busy stay at home mom and an avid cook. She likes to experiment with different cooking methods and then she shares what she finds with others online. Look for her informative posts on a variety of websites and blogs.