Hearing the word “pressure cooker,” someone might raise his eyebrows in surprise and ask, “What is that?” Others are sympathetic: “Oh, yes, of course, my grandmother cooked in it!” and to be fair, it is not clear why this convenient and functional kitchen device was almost forgotten and not so popular today.
What is a Pressure Cooker and How it Works
For a start, a small face-to-face. The pressure cooker looks no different from a large pan. Its whole feature lies in the lid. The latter has the ability to fit very tightly to the tank at the expense of a special rubber seal. By placing the pressure cooker on the stove, you raise the temperature inside and accelerate the cooking process.
The pressure cooker is perfect for those who often sit on diets and adhere to a healthy diet.
With a tightly closed lid and maximum heat of the stove, steam is formed inside, increasing the pressure cooker’s pressure. And the temperature inside rises from 100 to 121 degrees Celsius.
When maximum pressure is reached (usually, this point is determined by a special sensor or a pop-up rod), the exhaust valve opens, and the excess steam comes out, maintaining the maximum possible temperature inside this unusual pan.
The main feature of the pressure cooker is to reduce cooking time.
It is worth noting that the same principle worked and models of Soviet times for gas stoves. As they say, the new is a well-forgotten old. By the way, these models of the last century are distinguished by long-term exploitation. Perhaps they do not have a too aesthetic appearance, but they will give a head start to any modern unit by their working characteristics.
There are also electric models, which provide the ability to adjust the temperature and pressure level automatically. These devices are great for soaking grains or legumes.
With this household appliance, you can save more than 70% of useful substances.
There are special grilles (or nets) on which products are laid out in modern pressure cookers. The layout shouldn’t come into contact with each other and evenly handle the ferry. Such nets are placed above the water at a distance of at least 2 centimeters. This allows evaporation to form and creates the necessary vapor pressure.
Describing the principle of the pressure cooker in a nutshell, we can say that it is fast, tasty, and as useful as possible.
The pressure cooker accumulates much less air oxidizing food than in a simple pan.
Pros and cons
The benefits of this device are obvious. In case of catastrophic lack of time and total load, it is the pressure cooker that will solve a quick and tasty lunch or dinner. According to some estimates, it can be used to cook 70% faster than in a conventional pot. At the same time, it needs less energy to cook (about 50-70%).
The appearance and taste of the dish remain at a high level.
Another undeniable advantage is the greater number of beneficial vitamins and trace elements that are stored in the process of cooking in a pressure cooker. After all, cooking requires less water, which means that the useful elements are not diluted, and stored in the right state for humans.
In the kitchen container, you can cook any food, including desserts. And also, it is allowed to defrost meat and vegetables.
Finally, because dishes are cooked in a pressure cooker very quickly, the products retain color. As a result, soups, side dishes,s and meat dishes are more attractive in appearance. However, there are drawbacks, which is not surprising, because the perfect kitchen gadget is not yet invented! First of all, first, you have to figure out how to use a pressure cooker. And the next stage will need to get a little used to the unusual process. But then, rest assured, everything will go smoothly.
Dishes can be steamed without pouring water into the container.
In particular, it will need to be re-determined with the amount of liquid. It will need much less than for cooking in a regular pan, but too little water – it isn’t good. The food will burn to the bottom.
Another nuance is the control of readiness. With the usual pan, everything is clear: lifted the lid and evaluated the process. And cooking in a pressure cooker, you need to take into account that under maximum pressure, the lid is blocked (this is necessary for safety). To open the lid, first, you need to relieve the pressure and then open it. It takes all this time.
A distinctive feature is the principle of the pressure cooker.
Finally, because the process is faster than in the pan, even a few extra minutes will lead to the fact that the dish will be digested.
And yet, you will agree, the shortcomings of the pressure cooker – it is rather a convention that can be resolved, just getting used to using this device.
Tara is equipped with a tight lid and, when cooking various dishes, it is firmly fixed on the product.
Multi-cooker or pressure cooker: a comparative analysis
Multi-cooker is an amazing device with a variety of features. Some rightly believe that she is a worthy descendant of a pressure cooker. Let’s try to figure it out.
A multi-cooker or pressure cooker has been decorating more than one kitchen for several years.
The name itself eloquently shows that the multi-cooker is a specialist of a wide profile: and cook, simmer, fry, and bake. The indisputable advantage of this device is that it can automatically control the process and does not require human intervention after all the products are laid and a certain mode is selected.
Their appearance, and most importantly, their help in cooking, became an undeniable advantage in choosing between buying a multi-cooker or a set of pans.
The multi-cooker also has the ability to warm up and maintain a given temperature for a certain time.
The deferred start function allows you to cook lunch or dinner just in time. In the process of cooking in the dishes are preserved useful elements.
The slight heating of the case indicates the safety of this device.
Mentioning the shortcomings, let’s note the following:
- High price (especially if you’re looking for a model with lots of features);
- Low cooking speed.
Comparing the pros and cons of both devices, the fact is obvious: the answer to the question of what to choose depends on your specific queries.
To diversify the number of dishes, you can find many interesting and new recipes in the vastness of the Internets.
For example, if you put safety first (perhaps because there are small children in the apartment), the multi-cooker is undoubtedly the best choice. In addition, it is the multi-cooker that will allow you to experiment with recipes and existing programs.
If the main thing for you – it’s to cook dinner or dinner quickly, then, of course, the pressure cooker with this task will cope much better.
To clean the multi-cooker from the stains, sprinkle the bottom of the food soda tank and pour a small amount of white vinegar. After a while, rinse with warm water and soap.
What’s best to cook in a pressure cooker
Of course, in our grandparents’ time, the issue of preserving useful substances in products during cooking was not so acute. Therefore, in many families, pressure cookers were exploited literally mercilessly. They stewed potatoes, boiled soup, and other goodies.
Most models are characterized by the presence of bars or nets where the products are placed.
However, the peculiarity of the “production process” – heating under pressure – indicates that it is best to cook soups or stews in a pressure cooker. The ideal products for this device are legumes, whole grains, a variety of cereals. Solid vegetables such as beets or carrots are also suitable.
Thanks to the pressure that plays a major role in the cooking process, the beneficial properties of these products are revealed, which is called “in all its glory” and nourish our body not only useful but also delicious dishes.
Meat, fish, and vegetables should be laid so that they are not dense to each other.
For example, to boil chickpeas or beans in a regular pot, you will have to spend more than an hour. A pressure cooker will do it for you within 20 minutes. As they say, feel the difference!
Or, every hostess is familiar with the situation when you want to make a vinaigrette, but because the beet is cooked for a long time, you have to postpone preparing your favorite dish for the weekend. And in a pressure cooker, the beetroot will be cooked in a matter of minutes.
It is important that the steam is evenly distributed and the dish is properly processed.
Even the fragrant broth of fresh beef is cooked in an hour. And you don’t have to stand at the stove for half a day and control the process.
How to reduce pressure
Experienced housewives claim that your ability to reduce pressure in a pressure cooker – is the key to preparing delicious and healthy dishes.
There are three ways to do this:
- The natural decline is due to the blackout of heat (gas or electricity);
- Artificially reduce the pressure can be put under a jet of cold water;
- A rapid reduction is possible if you open a special valve on the pressure cooker lid.
Often, vegetables and beans are cooked in such a container, as their cooking in a saucepan takes a very long time.
The natural pressure reduction process is not fast. It takes 5 to 20 minutes. This period depends on the number of ingredients and their density. An important nuance: with long cooling meat or fish and legumes become only tastier, vegetable stew quickly turns into porridge and loses its taste.
The main thing is to pick up the right recipe and cook according to the algorithm.
Coldwater and a special valve are an ideal opportunity to reduce pressure while cooking grains and vegetables. It is, sort of, an ambulance to reduce the pressure and stop the process of cooking.
The secret of a delicious cooker dish is the exact recipe and no less accurate cooking time. Then there is no doubt that the culinary masterpiece will appreciate.
Cleaning the product and its components is recommended manually without the use of hard sponges and brushes.
Importantly! Before you start cooking in a pressure cooker, read the manual carefully. At first glance, this is a capital truth, but, you will agree, not every mistress bothers with such reading. I don’t think so. Some nuances distinguish models of pressure cookers, and they are essential to take into account when operating a particular device.
To the pressure cooker is not a disposable gadget, and served you for many years, consider simple tips for care for it.
- Allow it to cool before you start washing the pressure cooker;
- Use the container only on the cooking panel. Do not heat or cook in the microwave or oven;
- You only need to wash manually and only use soft sponges. No metal brushes!
- Cooking in a pressure cooker, do not overdo it with vegetable oil. A minimal number is enough;
- Start cleaning the device only when there is no food left in it.
The same methods of care characterize the electric pressure cooker as the standard one.
The rules of care are the same for a modern pressure cooker and Soviet models.
And a few more important points:
- Before you start cooking, make sure the pressure valve is clean, and there are no food residues. If you find them, remove them with a toothpick;
- The rubberized pad on the lid should be undamaged. If this is not the case in your case, it will not be possible to cover the lid tightly, which means that the cooking technology will be broken. It should be replaced with a new kit;
- During washing, the temperature should rise gradually (as you should start washing only a chilled device). Temperature spikes harm the condition and performance of the pressure cooker;
- Remove the remains of the dish only after the device has completely cooled.
Before operating, make sure that there are no leftovers inside the dish.
Carefully ensure that the pressure cooker does not appear chipped and cracked, through which steam can go out. Not only will it disrupt the cooking process, but you also run the risk of getting serious burns. So this moment deserves the most serious attention.
The pressure cooker is an undeniably worthy invention. It is safe to say that it has passed the test of time and proved its validity, even in competition with modern multi-cookers and steamers. Worthy in every way and capable of much, the pressure cooker deserves to take its place in your kitchen.