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Choosing a pressure cooker and accessories

Today's pressure cookers are much safer


How to choose a pressure cooker

If you use Mom's or Grandma's old pressure cooker, know that the only way to release pressure quickly to release the lid is to place the pressure cooker in the sink and run cold water over it to bring down the temperature and pressure. This can take as little as 5 minutes or up to 20 minutes for a full pot of stew or soup. Obviously, the wasted water used in that cooling process is of concern.

However, today's pressure cookers give you a choice of a quick-release option, taking even less time to finish that meal and without the need for wasted water to cool things down.

When purchasing your pressure cooker, keep in mind the 6-quart size is the standard for most recipes.

Select a cooker with a detachable pressure regulator that can adjust the pressure to low (5 pounds=220 degrees F./100 degrees C.), medium (10 pounds=235 degrees F./115 degrees C.), or high (15 pounds=250 degrees F./120 degrees C.). The higher the pressure, the higher the internal temperature and the less cooking time you will need. The safety valve will automatically vent the steam.

Choose a pot with heat-resistant handles, a locking lid that is easy to maneuver, and a heavy bottom of stainless steel construction so you can use the same pot to do preparatory sautéing.

Pressure cooker accessories

• One of the most important accessories you will need is a timer. A couple of extra minutes of cooking probably won't harm a pot roast, but it could ruin a more delicate dish or any accompanying veggies.
• A rack or trivet is a common requirement and often comes with the cooker.
• A steamer basket to keep foods above the liquid is also desirable for cooking some vegetables.
• For cooking desserts, you will need a 5-cup heatproof soufflé dish (that fits in side your pressure cooker), 1/2-cup heatproof ramekins for puddings, custards and timbales, and a 7- or 8-inch springform pan (to fit in your cooker) for cheesecakes.
• You should also have a heat-diffuser, which prevents direct contact between the heat source and the bottom of the cooker. It will be needed when preparing rice, pasta or bean dishes to prevent sticking and scorching.

More About Pressure Cookers:
How to Choose a Pressure Cooker and Accessories
Pressure Cooking Tips and Hints
Pressure Cooker Recipes
Compare Prices on Pressure Cookers
Pressure Cooker History


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