In this article we will focus on how to choose a pressure cooker, and examine all the things that go into making a good one.
An ancient proverb says that a good knife was never comprised of bad steel. In the world of pressure cookers that is a great place to begin. Heavy-gauge, high-quality steel is the best place to start when it comes to the criteria to judge pressure cookers by. Without materials of a high quality, components and features are all for nothing. In this day and age, we have the good fortune that the components that make up what you are buying are listed clearly on the box.
Ideally, you want a pressure cooker which is constructed of top quality stainless steel. There are different kinds of stainless steel. The ideal is 18/10 Stainless Steel which is an 18 percent chromium/10 percent nickel blend. Nickel and chromium have the advantages of being corrosion and stain resistant, and they shine.
On the other hand, pressure cookers made of aluminum are lighter weight, cost less, and have a uniform performance when it comes to heating since aluminum has great heat conduction. The downside of aluminum is that over time it will stain and is inherently weak. The main reason to choose aluminum is economics. By all means, purchase durable stainless steel if you can afford it.
A pressure cooker that reaches 15 pounds per square inch (PSI) is the standard among recipes for pressure cookers. You must make sure that any pressure cooker you are interested in buying can reach 15 PSI. If you bought one that didn’t, you’d be making a big mistake. This is a requirement that is often overlooked, so make sure to check it out.
Always make sure you get a pressure cooker that has the quick release option as part of the pressure regulator. This ensures that the pressure cooker can reduce the pressure within the pot rapidly without losing heat.
There are a lot of different safety features on pressure cookers these days that pressure cookers of the past didn’t offer. One modern feature is the use of a valve stem to vent steam from the pressure cooker when over pressure happens. There is a hiss sound at the release. In case the pressure continues to rise, the modern pressure cooker’s sealing gasket is pushed out via a safety aperture that is part of the lid, which will safely release the pressure.
There are various sizes one can purchase. The 4-quart and the 6-quart pressure cookers are most commonly used. When you are figuring out the size you need, you will want to consider things like storage space, budget, the typical amount of portions you are going to make. If you can afford a 7- or 8-quart pressure cooker, you should probably get it. Pressure cookers can be filled to the two-thirds mark for most recipes. Foods that froth and foam while cooking can only be allowed to fill the pot halfway. Remember that as the biggest pressure cookers can handle the tiniest portions of food, the smaller ones can’t handle larger amounts. It’s a simple concept, but easily forgotten.
It is important to get a pressure cooker that has a system for locking the cover. This device will stop pressure from mounting before the cover is correctly locked and keeps the top locked until the pressure is reduced in a safe manner. Only some pressure cookers have visual pressure indicators. This is definitely an important safety feature on those that do.
The best pressure cookers come with a basket or cooking rack. This enables one to heat food above the liquid used for cooking at the bottom.
Pick up the pressure cooker that you want to buy, hold it, and move around with it as you might in your own home. It should feel secure and comfortable when you hold it.
When you buy a pressure cooker that is made of stainless steel, make sure it’s got a trimetal or even just a bimetal base, normally a bottom that is clad in aluminum. This will stop scorching for the most part and add great heat conduction, as well as allowing for easy cleaning.
A lot of good pressure cookers will come with a comprehensive guidebook on how to use it, as well as a quality recipe book. The operating instructions should be clear and detailed. The pressure cooking recipes should be basic, clear, and easy to follow.
The best pressure cookers will have a lifespan of multiple decades. When selecting a quality one, you want to be sure to consider the company that produced it and their reputation for standing behind their products. Replacement parts are generally not covered, therefore it is best to pick a brand that makes replacement parts available.
There are several reasons not to indulge in buying a non-stick pressure cooker. Non-stick surfaces don’t last. That is the fundamental reason not to get a non-stick machine. The second is that there are health issues with non-stick materials. Without covering the debate surrounding non-stick and its safety or lack thereof, I will say that the conservative choice in this case is the wisest.
Department stores often have a good selection of pressure cookers in their cookware section. It is, however, better to shop online. There is more information available online, and there is, of course, a wider selection.
It is important to consider all the various aspects of a pressure cooker that are listed above when you are on the market for one. From whether or not it is constructed of stainless steel to what the handles look like and how they feel when you hold it, every aspect is important to give equal consideration to. Remember, this is something you want to last for years, and you want to be able to deliver many good meals from it over those years.
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