Simple Instructions and Smart Tips on Using a Pressure Cooker

Instructions for Using a Pressure Cooker
Using a pressure cooker can save time in cooking certain food items. Here are some simple instructions for using the same.
Method of pressure cooking, that completes cooking by not letting the air out of the cooking vessel, is not new. This method fastens up the process of cooking, as the boiling point of water inside the vessel increases as per the rise in the pressure of the lid. The built pressure makes the water inside the vessel, boil to the highest temperature even before it starts boiling. There are many names by which the pressure cooker is recognized like steam digester, pressure canners (larger ones), and autoclaves that are used for laboratory purposes.

The Tips

The lesser the amount of cooking time, the larger is the saving of the minerals and vitamins in the food. Hence, pressure cooking and pressure frying are the best ways of cooking. In addition, it also helps to keep the kitchen clean. Here are a few tips that will always be useful.
  • Inspect the rubber ring of the cooker regularly, and make sure that it is flexible enough, as the seal of the pressure cooker depends on this ring. Before using it, check the valves if they are clean and dirt free.
  • Don't ever use it for deep frying and always use water, vegetable or meat stock, wine or milk, to bring the mixture to boil. Oil will not bring the mixture to boil.
  • Most of the modern cookers have three valves that release the pressure automatically, in case the pressure inside the vessel gets too high. But, for safety reasons, if in case you find loud hissing sounds coming out of your vessel, make sure you reduce the respective heat source and check for the pressure.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and never fill it beyond the mark that is indicated on the inner side of it. Also, use enough amount of liquid so that the food gets cooked properly, without getting burned.
  • Once the pressure reaches its upper limit, lower the amount of heat, so that the vessel releases gentle and steady steams and then only turn off the heat source.
Things to Remember
  • As said earlier, never fill it beyond the maximum fill mark. Always remember that it must never be filled with more than 2/3 of solid and ½ of liquid and cereals, and 1/3 full of pulses.
  • Food items like onions and meats must be added first, as they enhance the taste of the food. Food like stews require less liquid and less cooking time too. Minimum required levels for cooking food in any pressure cooker are 300ml/10fl.oz
  • Each additional 15 minutes will require another 150ml/5fl.oz. As the vessel is sealed during cooking, decrease the amount of seasoning including salt, because it gets concentrated in the vessel.
  • Add food recipe ingredients as per the cooking order, meaning, first add meat and then vegetables, so that the recipe doesn't turn out to be a mush!
Instructions for Steam Release
  • The natural and slow pressure release method is always suited for stews, cereals, and soups that contain beans, pasta, pulses, and tougher meats that take extra time to get cooked. You will simply have to turn off the heat source and let the vessel cool down for 10 to 15 minutes, for the food to get cooked thoroughly.
  • The second steam release method is the quick steam release, that is suited best for fish, soups, vegetables, and poultry. There are several modern vessels that are well equipped with an automatic pressure release method. They take less than a minute to release the steam.
Pressure Cooker