Pressure cookers are amongst the most useful cooking tools in your kitchen. But there are so many available on the market, and which one will meet your needs can be an overwhelming question. In this guide, we will explore the important features you must consider when buying a pressure cooker.
You might be feeling a bit dubious about using a pressure cooker because many people think they are not safe. But if you go for a quality product, safety is not a problem at all.
Most people think that using a pressure cooker is pretty difficult too. While it is a bit different from your regular cooking method, it’s not difficult at all. So, what’s holding you back?
Pressure cookers that were made over 30 years don’t come with fool-proof safety features. And this might lead to some unwanted accidents in the kitchen. And this is the primary reason you don’t want to use a pressure cooker in the first place. But the new ones are quite the opposite of being unsafe.
So, let’s start discussing the features you need to look for when buying a cooker.
Why do you even need a pressure cooker?
You might be thinking, why a pressure cooker? You already have everything in the kitchen to cook your food. But some things are exceptional. Here are a few reasons to buy a cooker.
Pretty fast cooking
These cookers significantly reduce the cooking time. For example, a turkey roast you used to cook in about three hours can be ready in just half an hour with a pressure cooker.
Healthier than ever
Cooking in a pressure cooker is much healthier as your food will retain 50% of its nutrients, and there is plenty of research to concur with this claim.
When using a pressure cooker, you are consuming 70% less water, electricity, and gas. So, you are saving plenty of resources.
Cooking with a pressure cooker is as easy as anything, contrary to what most people think. You will only have to add water and monitor the cooking process, and everything will be A-okay.
As pressure cookers are sealed vessels, therefore, no splatters are going to happen. So, you won’t have to deal with any mess at all.
The modern cookers come with various safety mechanisms and are equipped with fool-proof safety features. There are plenty of backups to tackle any issues, just in case.
Electric or stove-top pressure cookers: which ones are better?
Electric pressure cooker
Electric pressure cookers are convenient to use. Just set it and forget it. If you don’t want to fiddle around with heat settings, there is no better option than an electric cooker. Another huge benefit of these electric units is they can replace several other appliances too. You can use them in place of your slow cooker, yogurt maker, and rice cooker as well.
Various other features come in these units as well. There is a delayed cooking time, and some units also come with intelligent features too. If you have a small kitchen, this electric unit will be very useful for you.
It will keep the food warm and saute food for you. You are not working with a stove here, so you won’t have to deal with the issue of forgetting to turn the stove off or not. Plus, you can have more than one pressure cooker in action, cooking different recipes simultaneously.
If you are looking for power and speed, you need to go for the stove-top pressure cooker. These units can produce much higher heat. They are much more durable as well. If you prefer durability over convenience, a stove-top pressure cooker is a suitable option for you.
Moreover, these units allow you to use more advanced cooking techniques that need higher pressures and less evaporation. Pressures release faster than electric cookers in stove-top cookers, so you can tinker with your cooking techniques pretty easily.
What about those vintage pressure cookers?
Pressure cookers, if used with love, can last for generations. This poses a question: should I use a pressure cooker that has been inherited? Well, we will not suggest using such a pressure cooker.
This is because any pressure cooker that is 30 years old will not come with fool-proof features that the modern cookers come with. And for that reason, these cookers are not very safe to use and can malfunction at any time, putting your safety in jeopardy.
Some important safety features that a cooker needs to come with include a locking lid, a primary and a secondary pressure release system, a lid-lip vent, and automatic shut-off features in the case of an electric cooker. If these features are not there, it’s time to quit on that pressure cooker.
What is the ideal size for a pressure cooker?
It’s a pretty tricky question because the size will not affect the food quantity in the pressure cooker. The units that are manufactured in Asia and Europe come in liters and not quartz.
You can round them down in quartz, but they are slightly bigger. Moreover, you only have to fill the cooker two-third full for most of the foods while half full for the beans and grains.
A 6-qt cooker will be a good option for 6 people, while an 8-qt cooker is a good choice for 8 people. You can use them for smaller numbers of people as well. Bigger is not a better option when we talk about pressure cookers.
What should I look for before buying a cooker?
Consider going for at least two pressure settings: the high-pressure setting for the meats and legumes and the low-pressure settings for fish, eggs, pasta, and vegetables.
Look for a stainless-steel cooker because it will last for decades. Just make sure you don’t use any nonstick coatings on the inside because they can damage the cooker.
Modern pressure cookers are safe to use and great to work with. They not only keep things safe but boost the cooking process significantly. And the best part is, they can last for a very long time if you take care of them. These pressure cookers make the cooking process extremely easier to handle.