Handle Those Pressure Cookers With Care
I recently decided to upgrade a few of my kitchen appliances. I bought a new kettle, toaster, slow cooker and pressure cooker. My old pressure cooker had seen better days. The safety pressure release valve had ceased. This is a huge concern because my pressure cooker could potentially have exploded while I was using it.
I am not much of a chef, but I enjoy cooking and can generally prepare something edible and even tasty for that matter, without burning down the apartment. Sure, I often fall back on the dried packet noodles, but even then, I will put in some eggs or vegetables to spice things up a little. When I have some spare time on my hands, I often cook a good sized meal, I am not completely useless in the kitchen.
How Does It Work?
A pressure cooker is basically a pot with a lid that fastens to the cooker using twist and lock engineering. Most people are aware that you should not put a lid on something that is boiling, or the liquid will boil over, which is why the lid has to lock with the pot.
A rubber lining seals the area between the lid and the pot to ensure no pressure can escape.
When you start cooking, the liquid inside the cooker turns to vapor which expands and creates a lot of pressure. The pressure is trapped inside, pulverizing the meat, making it very tender in a very short amount of time. Cooking a stew in a slow cooker makes the meat tender and creates a gravy with all of the nutrients trapped inside. A pressure cooker does the same thing, but in a much quicker way!
The cooker would explode if all of the pressure was trapped inside. That is why a vent is built into the lid to release some pressure as and when it needs to. The vent has a weight on it which rises when the pressure is strong enough to lift it, this in turn opens a valve to allow the excess pressure to escape. The pressure then drops a little bit and the weight descends to block the hole until the pressure builds up again. This way the cooker stays at the correct level until the cooking is complete.
All modern pressure cookers have a safety release valve, so you do not need to worry when using one, but always be sure to check that all of the valves are in good working order.
Cooking with a pressure cooker is quick and easy. With that said, I am always careful, considering how volatile they can be, with steam sporadically released from the lid. I have an irrational fear that the whole cooker could explode, and I am sure this is because my old model had faulty valves and the rubber lining was badly worn from years of use, the pressure would leak unless you pre-wet the liner.
The new model has seals which are perfect, a pressure release valve that works, and a stylish, modern look to it. It is the best pressure cooker I have ever used.