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How To Use A Pressure Cooker

How To Use A Pressure Cooker
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Pressure cooking, as you’re most likely well aware is a fast, efficient and healthy way that you can cook your meals. The domino effect of increases in temperature and pressure is what makes the pressure cooking method so much faster than other cooking methods, its efficient as a knock-on effect because its fast and as a result less energy is used (even your economical cuts of meat – from cows, pigs, sheep etc, can be cooked without becoming tough, saving you money in the long run as none of the meat that you buy goes to waste, essentially making the meat cheaper per gram, or at the very least not cost more per gram).

And, the pressure cooking method is also healthy as the nutrients, minerals and vitamins (as well as moisture in the case of meat cuts) are retained within your food. If you’ve already read through our pressure cooker reviews, and now want to learn how to actually use your appliance, then continue reading for a full guide.

What To Expect When Your Pressure Cooker Arrives

Please be aware that when your pressure cooker first arrives, it may not be fully assembled and so one of the tools that is very useful to have at your side and on hand is a Phillips Screwdriver. The assembly work, in  normal circumstances, is very light and consists of no more than screwing in the handles on, checking that there are no cracks or dents in your pressure cooker and fixing the sealing ring to the inside of the pressure cooker pan itself (if you have a stove-top pressure cooker).

Although there is some other preliminary work that will have to be carried out (frequently) by you before you can use the pressure cooker, its only for health and safety reasons (I know, I know – a major pain, but very important when dealing with pressure cookers) and is only a single minor task – you MUST make sure that the vent pipe of your pressure cooker is completely clear, as any food blockages will mean that the excess steam (and excess pressure) has nowhere to go, meaning in turn, that the internal pressure could build up excessively and, as a result, your pressure cooker will be unable to regulate the pressure inside and the pressure in the cooker could potentially build up to a level harmful to either you or others around the pressure cooker.

The pressure gauge and safety valve also indicate when the pressure inside the pressure cooker is at a safe level, as does the rising and falling of the weighted pressure regulator in the older pressure cookers commonly known as “jiggle tops”.

Using A Stove-Top Pressure Cooker

Read a recipe for the relevant dish that you wish to make, either from a recipe book or on the internet after carrying out the necessary food preparation outlined in a table beneath this article (if applicable to your brand of pressure cooker), put all of your ingredients in the pressure cooker, add the desired amount of water, secure the lid, and turn on the range to whatever temperature is needed and cook for the time needed by the recipe – but you can only start timing when the rocking of the pressure cooker becomes regular (again, this is only applicable for stove-top pressure cookers). Use either oven mitts or a tea-towel to lift the lid, then remove the food from the pressure cooker, plate up and serve – or eat!

Using An Electric Pressure Cooker

Depending on whether your pressure cooker has only one single (pressure cooking) function, or is a multi-cooker; you read the recipe, turn the pressure cooker on, put the food into the pressure cooker, lock the lid, set the timer for your meal, and press the relevant button if it’s a single function pressure cooker, multiple buttons (such as Timer for delay and Browning/Keep Warm if it’s a multifunction pressure cooker and pressure cook, or slow cook – whichever is most relevant for how you want your meal to come out); sit back and relax while you wait for your food to finish cooking, plate up and either eat or serve!

Taking Care Of Your Pressure Cooker

After the food has been served, rinse and separate out the different parts of the pressure cooker and wash in warm soapy water before drying with a tea-towel. Alternatively isolate the parts of your pressure cooker and place them individually in the dishwasher (the majority of pressure cookers are dishwasher safe), dry thoroughly and put away when the cycle is finished.


So if you’ve vaguely heard of the merits of pressure cooking before, but not yet ventured to try and invest in one yet (hopefully I will have changed your mind by the time you finish reading this article) because you think that a pressure cooker is either unsafe, unpredictable or unable to cook your food to the baseline standard that you have for whatever it is that you eat, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner; then I would highly recommend that you buy one. A pressure cooker isn’t only fast, efficient and healthy – it’s also straightforward to use and will make you high quality meals meal after meal and day after day.

Food Preparation Table Guide

Type of Food Type of Preparation Time Needed
Fruit Wash in water with one tablespoon of rock salt and the juice of one lemon Twenty minutes
Vegetables Defrost frozen vegetables
Wash fresh vegetables in water with one tablespoon of rock salt and the juice of one lemon
Twenty minutes
Rice and other grains Soak wheat berries and pearl barley in lukewarm water
Do not soak rice or oats
Four hours
Dry beans and chickpeas Soak the beans in unsalted water Between four and six hours
Seafood Wash in cold water Ten minutes
Meat and poultry Brown meat in either pan, or pressure cooker (without the lid on) – for stove-top pressure cookers only.
Electric pressure cookers often have browning as one of the functions that you can use just before you start cooking
As long as it takes for the meat to brown

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