Has someone bought you a pressure cooker really and you don’t know how to use it? You’re not alone. They seem complicated, right? The reality is, they aren’t actually that complicated at all. Once you’ve read this article, you’ll be able to fire up our pressure cooker and cook some great recipes within no time. That’s what this article is for. We’ll also tell you afew simple things that you can cook with ease to delight guests.
Pressure cookers have increased in popularity in recent years. They’ve always been popular with chefs who want to keep things at a specific temperature for longer periods, but they’re now becoming a feature of many home kitchens, and for good reason. With a pressure cooker, you can heat a number of ingredients like meat and veg without using oil or other cooking liquids (like fat). That makes pressure cooking a much healthier option, especially for people who are looking to avoid saturated fats or cut them out of their diet altogether. It also makes it a cheaper option, as you should probably know how expensive some oil can be. NOw you can be healthier and save money with a pressure cooker, but how do you actually use one? Let’s have a look…
Don’t rush the learning process
Pressure cookers are great for cooking healthy meals and taking the stress out of food prep and cooking. Once you’ve learned what to do after having a few attempts, you won’t need any help. But when you start, it’s a good idea to take things slowly as the first couple of times might still be a bit complicated. Remember, you’re dealing with heat here so you need to work safely and securely at all times. Don’t leave your pressure cooker unattended when it’s on, especially if you’ve got children. Don’t leave it plugged into the mains if you aren’t using it. These are simple precautions, but ones you should take.
Take your time setting up the pressure cooker, especially when using it for the first time. Get the manual out and follow the instructions carefully. You might be required to clean parts of your pressure cooker before use, so check this way in advance instead of having to rush to get dinner ready.
Your pressure cooker must be airtight to work properly and stay safe. Before you use your cooker for the first time, make sure you inspect it carefully to see if there are any cracks or dents. It will be unsafe to use if the integrity of the unit has been compromised, so you will have to return it to the store immediately for a replacement or refund.
You might think it’s new, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have been damaged before you get it. So check it carefully. You might want to do these checks every time you use it, or at least every few weeks, just in case a new dent has appeared. That’s why looking after your pressure cooker is important, so keep it in a safe place where it isn’t going to get knocked.
A cracked pressure cooker could be extremely dangerous, so checking regularly and keeping it stored securely is important.
Fill your pressure cooker
After you’ve checked that your pressure is safe to use, now you’ve got to fill it with the food you want to use. It’s not the best idea to simply pour food in and turn it on. Make sure there is some liquid with the food before you put it in the cooker, this would usually be water, but could also be stock or some other liquid. Most recipes will suggest water as it’s simple and easy to use in a pressure cooker. The water will be turned into steam to cook the food.
However, while water or another liquid is replied, you don’t want to overfill. Hopefully, you’re following a recipe that’s just for a pressure cooker (you should be, or things can get complicated). So you’ll already know how much water to include. Generally, a cup of water should be enough. There must be space left for steam to accumulate.
Traditional pressure cookers will require slightly more water than spring valved newer models. Don’t add more than half a cup to the latter. This should last around 20 minutes. You might need to add more after. Make sure the cooker is safe and stand back when you open it before you add more water (or at the end of cooking).
Prepare your food
There are loads of different ways to prepare food before you put it into your pressure cooker. This will depend on the type of ingredients you’re using and the taste you’re aiming for. Unlike some other cooking methods, pressure cooking generally doesn’t add flavour to the ingredients, so you’ll need to do this beforehand. Try marinading or seasoning meat for a few hours beforehand. You can try browning the meat first for more flavour with a tiny bit of oil, either in a frying pan or on a high heat in the cooker before you add everything else (and before you add the water).
Make sure you wash ingredients, especially meat and seafood. Every ingredient will have different instructions for a pressure cooker, so you might want to read the manual or check online.
When you’ve got everything seasoned, chopped and prepared, you can put it in the pressure cooker along with the water. Now it’s time to cook. Close the lid and enter the timing and temperature settings. Turn the pressure cooker on and relax. You can now go and do something else while your food cooks, rather than having to stir it every few minutes like with other types of cooking. Don’t leave your cooker unattended for too long, but find something else to do in the meantime. Make sure the lid is locked before switching the cooker on. When the steam is formed in the cooker it will start to cook the food for you. After the allotted time period, your cooker will alert you that it’s finished. Now you can let your food cool and enjoy your food!