How to use a pressure cooker safely

How to use a pressure cooker safelyA pressure cooker is a very useful piece of kitchen appliance which saves a lot of time and energy in cooking food. Along with saving time and energy, it also saves a lot of natural taste, color and nutrients of food. Some people are reluctant in using it because of the mishaps that can results from improper handling or poor machinery. However with a little knowledge on how to use it, any such happenings can be prevented and you can make use of its benefits to the fullest. Here are some tips you can follow to ensure safety while pressure cooking:

  1.       Buy a good quality pressure cooker. Modern good quality pressure cookers come with a number of safety features to prevent any explosions resulting from traditional low quality pressure cookers. For example the lids have locks which do not open until the pressure inside the cooker has been released. Cookers also have valves to release excess pressure.
  2.       Check the condition of your cooker before cooking. Check the rubber ring inside the lid to see if it has dried out or cracked. If so you will need to replace it. It is a good practice to replace the lid at least once annually. Also check for any food particles on the rim as they can be very dangerous. Food particles on the rim can break the seal when the pressure builds inside the cooker.
  3.       Do not overfill the cooker. Some ingredients increase in size when cooked, like grains and beans.  For such items, only fill the cooker to half of its maximum capacity. For all other ingredients you can fill to a maximum of 3/4th of the cooker’s capacity. If you fill the cooker to the rim, you are risking food getting stuck to the rim and its seal breaking.
  4.       Be careful when releasing the pressure. When the food has cooked, turn the stove off and let the pressure cooker cool. Do not open the lid till all the pressure has been released. If you are in a hurry, you can put the cooker under cold running water. This will release the pressure faster.
  5.       Never use the pressure cooker for frying. Using oil to cook food in your pressure cooker can be very dangerous. It can burn not only the gasket but other parts of the cooker as well.
  6.       Clean the cooker properly. Remove the gasket and clean the cooker, lid and the gasket separately. Make sure no food items are left stuck because they can be dangerous the next time you use the cooker. You can clean the valve with a toothpick to ensure that there is nothing stuck to it.

Specifically designed cookers are also available for cooking rice. It should be a good idea to read rice cooker buyer’s guide before purchasing them so that you can fully understand with the product and get that which suits you best.

These were a few tips that you should keep in mind while using a pressure cooker. Following these simple rules, you can release yourself of the fear of any kitchen explosions and make use of this helpful piece of machinery to make everyday cooking simpler, healthier and faster.