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August 10, 2021

WHAT IS A PRESSURE COOKER AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

WHAT IS A PRESSURE COOKER AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

In the Age of Information, it’s hard to keep a secret anymore. But that’s what the humble pressure cooker is: an open secret that many kitchen households don’t know about. This is a shame because this device provides fantastic advantages that make it an essential kitchen tool for many people.


What is a pressure cooker?

Simply put, a pressure cooker is a practical kitchen tool that is easy to use and makes cooking quick and efficient.


What does a pressure cooker do?

A pressure cooker is a special, airtight container that significantly speeds up the cooking time of anything it cooks. Instead of taking 25 minutes, you can cook risotto in just 6; Instead of 50 minutes, you can cut down barley cooking times to less than 20. And what’s more, food cooked in this type of pot is often tastier and more nutritious than regular boiled food.


Are pressure cookers safe?

Modern pressure cookers are completely safe to use. They feature improved safety features that were lacking in previous versions. Pressure cookers are routinely used in kitchens around the world with no problem.


How do pressure cookers work?

There is a bit of science behind these types of pots. They are able to bend the rules and achieve shorter cooking times by lowering the pressure inside their specially designed shells. With the help of a modified lid that creates an airtight seal, a pressure cooker can trap steam and use it to increase its interior air pressure. 


By raising the atmospheric pressure to 15 pounds per square inch (15 psi), a pressure cooker can raise the boiling point of water from 212°F (100°C) to about 250°F (120°C). As such, the food inside a pressure cooker is surrounded by hotter-than-normal water as well as steam that can’t escape. The end result is higher cooker temperatures (which can’t be replicated under normal circumstances) which bring about faster cooking times.


Of course, the steam won’t stay there forever. Once the cooker has reached a certain limit, a release valve will automatically open and release steam to maintain a constant interior temperature. What’s more, these cooking devices are equipped with a backup vent or an overpressure plug that releases excess pressure that keeps your family safe from harm.


What kind of benefits do pressure cookers provide?

Although the primary function of pressure cookers is to cut down on cooking times, they also provide a wide variety of benefits.


Because they are able to cook up to 30% faster, this kind of cooking pot can save 50 to 75% more energy than their unpressurized counterparts. As well, these devices are very handy for cooking at high altitudes where water boils at lower temperatures and cooking times are longer.


And, as good as they are for sustainability, these devices also make for a healthy option for diners. Since less water is used during the cooking process, food cooked in a pressure cooker is better at retaining nutrients and flavour than food boiled in a regular pot.


What’s more, this specialized cookware also provides some exquisite cooking techniques. These cooking devices are able to inject liquid into food more easily, resulting in very tender cuts of cooked meat. As well, these devices are responsible for elevating caramelization and browning to an altogether new level of culinary enjoyment.


What kinds of foods can be prepared in a pressure cooker?

Denis Papin, the Frenchman who invented the pressure cooker in the 1600s, would have been delighted to hear how the pressure cooker has benefited modern kitchens. Papin wanted to apply the new scientific discoveries of his time to cooking and, with this invention, he has certainly succeeded in his task.


By easily achieving higher temperatures, this type of pot is great for boiling, braising, and simmering foods. And because it greatly cuts down on cooking time, pressure cookers are ideal to use with hard-to-cook ingredients. These include: 


  • Legumes and grains: Dried beans, whole grains, risotto, polenta, grits, and chickpeas 
  • Dense vegetables: Beets and carrots 
  • Meat for braising: Beef chuck, pork shoulder, and chicken parts

Of course, you can always experiment and try out your own recipes. See what new concoctions you can come up with!


In all, these devices are excellent kitchen tools for making soups, stews, and stocks. Instead of having to wait for the weekend, your family can enjoy these types of dishes on a workday. Use a pressure cooker to make meals the quick way!


How do I cook with a pressure cooker?

There is a bit of a learning curve to overcome when first using this kind of pot. But, with its ease of use, you’ll become familiar with this great cooking device in no time flat. 


The basic steps for operating a pressure cooker are:

  1. Add water and heat it up
  2. Add food, and seal the lid
  3. Cook for a certain time and at a specific pressure level
  4. Finish the process by releasing the pressure 

The biggest issue for people unfamiliar with this type of pot is step #3; it is difficult for a beginner to know when the food is done. A pressure cooker can’t be opened while cooking, and if it is, the process must be restarted. For this reason, newcomers may need to experiment a few times before they discover the best way to cook their recipes.


Another big problem for first-time users is overcooking. By letting your food cook in a pressure cooker by a couple of minutes past its point of readiness, it’s possible to easily overcook your meat. Stay vigilant and time your efforts, and you’ll be able to avoid this common beginner problem.


What’s a good pressure cooker to buy for my kitchen?

For your consideration, try the Berlinger Haus Turbo Pressure Cooker. This product comes from the European cookware designer’s Black Collection and comes in 6.3 qt and 10.5 qt versions. Featuring a stainless steel body and a turbo induction base, the Turbo Pressure Cooker provides 35% faster cooking and is completely dishwasher safe!


Interested in more quality cookware at affordable prices? Come to the Berlinger Haus online marketplace for your one-stop shop to discover great tools for your kitchen!


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