How to Learn Pressure Cooking

Perhaps you have been thinking about indulging in pressure cooking. You have already made the first step by purchasing a top notch pressure cooker. One that complements your cooking desires. Well, the next step should be to have an in depth understanding of how to use the pressure cooker. This is the right place to further advance your pressure cooking objectives. In this article, we share strategies surrounding learning to pressure cooking. To offer valuable information, the article will focus on a general understanding of pressure cooking, the various foods that are appropriate for pressure cooking, and how to clean a pressure cooker.

A General Overview of Pressure Cooking​

How Pressure Cooking Occurs​

The idea behind pressure cooking is extremely simple to understand. The basic requirement is enough water or any other suitable liquid to provide steam. When heat is supplied, the liquid starts boiling leading to production of steam. The steam gradually builds facilitating cooking of food three times faster than other cooking methods.

When pressure cooking, it is important to first cook food under pressure using very high heat. After pressure has optimally built, the heat should be lowered. This is to ensure pressure is maintained at a constant level.

Physically Examine the Pressure Cooker​

To ascertain if your pressure cooker is in good condition, conduct a physical examination. Pay attention to the following:​

  • Examine the safety valves to confirm there is no blockage.
  • Any visible cracks on the pressure cooker. If there are cracks, do not use it because it can emit steam making pressure cooking unsafe.

Pressure Release Practices

As opposed to traditional pressure cookers, the modern pressure cookers have safe pressure release methods-natural and quick release. These methods ensure a pressure cooker can only be opened once all the pressure has been released. Each method is used based on the type of food being pressure cooked.

Natural Release Method​

This is appropriate when cooking meat that is very tough. The pressure cooker is removed from a source of heat and pressure release occurs independently. Complete pressure release takes approximately half an hour. As pressure release occurs, the pressure cooker cools and the meat continues to cook thus becomes more and more tender.

Quick Release Method​

This is applicable when cooking foods that are soft and take little cooking time. In using this method, it is wise to read the instructions given by manufacturer about how to rapidly release pressure. Basically, this method involves removing a pressure cooker form a source of heat and then running cold water on the upper part of the lid to release pressure.​

What to Consider When Pressure Cooking Food​

One of the main advantages of using a pressure cooker is its capacity to cook a wide range of foods. It is convenient for cooking foods that take a long time (stew and beans) and those that take a short time (vegetables). When pressure cooking these foods, there are several considerations that have to be followed:​

  • Ingredients have to be prepared following the rules given in a recipe.
  • The liquid used has to be adequate to ensure there is enough steam to cook food. The best amount is 1-2 cups of liquid.
  • Pressure cooking time ought to be adjusted to ensure the food does not overcook. It is advisable to reduce the cooking time to avoid mushy food. In case the food does not cook fully, there is an option of cooking it again.

Pressure Cooking Various Foods

Seafood-Fish​

The fish should first be carefully washed. It should then be placed on the steamer basket of a pressure cooker. 3/4 amount of liquid must be added to aid pressure cooking. To avoid the fish sticking on the steamer basket, addition of little vegetable oil is prerequisite.

Meat and Poultry​

To achieve maximum flavor, first brown meat and poultry. This can be done by adding olive oil to a pressure cooker pot and using medium heat. In this procedure, a lid should not be placed on a pressure cooker. Alternatively, a pan can be used to brown the meat then pressure cooking follows.

Beans​

First soak the beans in water for about 6 hours. Drain the beans of the water and put them in the cooking pot for pressure cooking. Add enough liquid to enable them to cook fully.

Vegetables​

Vegetables are very easy to pressure cooker. The first step is to wash them well then put them in a steam basket. Vegetables rarely take plenty of time to pressure cooker. Thus half a cup of liquid is enough to pressure cook them.

How to Clean a Pressure Cooker​

It is only fair to clean a pressure cooker once you have used it to cook. The good thing about cleaning it is that it takes less time especially if one handles with caution all the parts that need cleaning. Inculcating a habit of cleaning your pressure cooker after every cooking chore prolongs its ability to offer excellent cooking services.

Some of the parts to clean are:​

  • The gasket – It should be detached from the cover and cleaned independently using cleaning detergent and warm water.
  • The lid – It should be cleaned separately using cleaning detergent and warm water.
  • The cooking pot – When there are stubborn stains that are caused by food debris, the cooking pot should be soaked overnight and some vinegar added to the solution of water and soap.
  • The pressure regulator valve – A number of manufacturers recommend cleaning the valve every time a pressure cooker is used. Cleaning should adhere to the given instructions.

In conclusion, pressure cooking is all about embracing the basics related to using pressure cookers. The starting point is to understand the steam pressure cooking principle which is crucial in pressure cooking. This helps in using the right pressure to cook food.

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