Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pressure Cookers 101 - How To Cook with a Pressure Cooker Safely

Let's talk about the myths of cooking with a pressure cooker as well as some basic pressure cooking safety considerations.

Are you afraid of using a pressure cooker because of stories of spaghetti sauce getting splattered all over the ceiling? Well, events like those only happen when the pot is not used properly.

To make the most out of your pressure cooker or your Instant Pot, here are some safety tips for you:

Related: Is an Instant Pot Worth the Money?

Watch out for frothy foods

More than anything, you need to watch the building pressure inside the pressure cooker. This is the key to safe use and proper cook. However, there are certain foods than can cause the pressure to rapidly rise beyond acceptable levels. These are foods that form froths when cooking. Examples include beans, apples, oatmeal, and barley. If possible, avoid cooking these ingredients in a cooker. If you must, fill the pot up to one thirds or one half only.

Do not use it for frying

Also, pressure cookers are not made for frying. If you must fry, there is other equipment for that. In fact, it is considered dangerous and risky to fry using a cooker. In some instances though, you may need to add some oil while pressure cooking. However, the amount of oil must be kept to bare minimum.

Always keep a timer around

Some modern pressure cookers have built-in timers. This will help you keep track of what you are cooking. But just in case your unit does not have one, you would do well to buy a separate timer. Always remember that correct timing is crucial to pressure cooking.

Keep the lid open when not in use

You may think that it is more appropriate to store your pressure cooker with the cover on but this will have an effect on the quality of the foods that you will cook.

For instance, keeping the cover on will trap unwanted flavors and aroma into the pot. This will get mixed with the next you will cook using the same pot.

Stay put during cooking time

While pressure cooking, anything can happen at any time. Pressure may build up beyond safe levels, froths may develop, and the vent tube may get clogged by the food. Therefore, it is necessary that you keep watch of the pot while cooking. This is important both safety and food quality reasons. If you must leave the kitchen for an extended period of timed, see to it that someone will keep watch of the pot in your stead.

Upgrade to newer pressure cookers

Generally, newer units of pressure cookers and one pot pressure cookers like the Instant Pot are safer to use because they have automated pressure control and pressure release functions.

Some programmable pots will maintain the right pressure without your intervention (this is the one we use). This is unlike older pots which will require your input every other then. Of course, this is not to say that you can just leave the pot and let it do the rest.

Familiarize yourself with your unit

You may have owned a cooker before and you may already know everything there is to know about that particular unit. But when you buy a new one, you cannot assume that you also know about that new one. Each one is built differently and operated differently. Take time to read through the user manual for proper use and safety measures.

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