Pressure Cookers: How To Buy The Right One
Prepare delicious and nutritious meals by using pressure cooking. With so many options, from the Instant Pot to other multicookers, it’s difficult for home chefs to know which one to buy.
Investing in a pressure cooker will save you time and money, and it’ll be repaid in health and savings. They've changed since they first were popular, 30+ years ago. Now, they come with improved safety features, including redundant pressure release valves that release steam, so you don’t have to worry about any eruption or explosion!
A sealing ring creates an airtight seal that won’t let steam escape unless you press the safety valve or regulator. But you should always be careful not to overfill the pot. Remember, you’re handling contents under pressure.
Why should you learn to pressure cook?
There are many benefits, including:
- Cook time is reduced by ⅓ or more. For instance, a stew or roast that could ordinarily take two to three hours is ready in 20-40 minutes.
- Foods will retain more vitamins and minerals than steaming without pressure.
- It uses 70% less gas, electricity, and water than other types of cookware. They’re efficient at using energy.
- Anyone can use a pressure cooker. Pressure cooking is not complicated.
- Easy to clean since you’re using one sealed container. You don’t have to clean spills from the stovetop or oven. Plus, usually, the cooker base is dishwasher safe.
- They're safe to use because they have multiple safety mechanisms.
Types Of Pressure Cookers
There are two types of pressure cookers: stovetop and electric. Whichever style you buy, you need to make sure it can endure at least 15 psi.
Stovetop Pressure Cooker
Stovetop pressure cookers work the same way as any other cookware. You control the heat on the stove. Look for a stainless steel cooker.
Aluminum versions are cheaper but are less durable, and sometimes the aluminum can react to acidic foods, and become stained.
Electric Pressure Cooker
Electric pressure cookers’ (like the Instant Pot) features include cooking times and settings for different cooking methods to brown, simmer, saute, sear, and boil. You can find a model that can be used as a yogurt maker, rice cooker, slow cooker, and steamer.
One of the main benefits of electric pressure cookers is that they allow you to make big meals as they don’t take up stove space.
Don't confuse air fryers with pressure cookers; air fryers use circulating hot air and don't rely on higher pressure to cook food.
Pressure Cooker Attributes To Consider
When buying your first pressure cooker, look for high-quality, durable stainless steel. Stainless steel is stain and corrosion-resistant, plus, it adds shine to your cookware.
Accurate Pressure Indicator
Make sure to look for an accurate indicator that specifies when the cooker reached the pressure setting of 15 psi. It could be a pop-up indicator, colored marker, etc. The easier to read, the better.
Look for an appliance with a quick-release pressure release valve built into the pressure regulator. Having this type of mechanism will quickly lower the pot’s pressure without losing the heat.
Today, pressure cookers offer many safety features. For instance, if overpressure occurs, the cooker vents excess steam from a valve stem. If pressure continues to rise, the sealing gasket would be pushed out through a safety aperture in the lid.
Look for a cover-locking safety system to stop pressure from building up in the pot if the lid is not safely secured. This system will also impede the top from being opened if the pot is under pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of foods can I make in a pressure cooker?
You can cook many types of food in a pressure cooker. The most common ones are stews, roasts, soups, beans, and vegetables. You can also prepare pasta and pasta sauce with incredible flavor! Some allow you to make yogurt and oatmeal from scratch.
Our favorite? Pot roast with onion, potatoes, carrots, and gravy, all in one pot. You can find many pressure cooker recipes on the internet, or buy cook books.
Can I use an older model?
We don’t recommend using an older pressure cooker model because it won’t have the safety features of modern pressure cookers like locking lids or backup safety valves.
If you don’t know how old the pressure cooker is, don’t take any chances until you can be confident that it contains the safety features.
What size of a pressure cooker should I buy?
Follow this guideline:
- Ideal for one or two persons.
- It’s perfect for side dishes like steamed vegetables and can be used as a rice cooker.
- Fantastic for small spaces such as RVs and boats.
- The most versatile size. It’s perfect for three to six people.
- It has enough space to fill the bottom of the pot with your food and cook several dishes at the same time.
- With this size, you will be able to sauté a pot roast or brisket.
- It’s your best choice for six or more people.
- Remarkable for meal planning as you can stock your freezer with a large number of meals.
How does a pressure cooker work?
When you cook in a pressure cooker, you’re sealing food and liquid into an airtight pot and heating the liquid to produce steam. The steam pressure distributes the heat quickly, evenly, and deeply.
Since your food is heated in a sealed environment, it traps the flavor and nutrients. Because minimal water is required, the vegetables retain their bright colors, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
The meat is tender, and the whole grains and beans are soft and delicious within minutes, not hours, saving you time and energy.
Can I fry food in a pressure cooker?
No, pressure cookers don’t work to fry or slow cook foods.
How do I take care of my appliance?
Your pressure cooker will be hotter than the boiling point of water when your food is finally cooked. It will be under high pressure and will be full of incredibly hot juices. To care for your machine, carefully remove the lid and remove your food from the container. When it's time to wash, cool your inner pot down with cold tap water. Clean well and wipe down the outside of your cooker.
Buying a pressure cooker is an excellent investment as you’ll save time and energy. Keep in mind that the best stovetop pressure cookers should be made of stainless steel and have a natural non-stick coating such as marble for easy clean.
Don’t forget to select an established manufacturer with favorable reviews. Purchase from a company with a good reputation and customer service.
Outletsale.com has designer, high-end pressure cookers at a fraction of the cost of retail.