Pressure cooking seems to be a popular technique nowadays, and you may be wondering whether you should spend money on your first pressure cooker. Besides popular cooker pressure cooker is necessary for significant role.
Well, to help you finally decide, let’s overview what pressure cooking is and what you can use a pressure cooker for!
What’s a pressure cooker?
A pressure cooker is a piece of kitchen equipment designed to cook food faster. It won’t necessarily make your food tastier – though it mostly will – but you can be sure that you are going to save time with pressure cooking.
Now, you may be wondering why a pressure cooker reduces cooking time. Well, the answer is fairly easy – it’s physics.
As you probably know, the boiling temperature of water is 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit at the air pressure at sea level. When cooking something with water, the max temperature of cooking is limited to the boiling temperature of water – that is, 100 C or 212 F.
However, the higher the pressure, the higher the boiling point of water gets. At 2 bars of air pressure, the boiling point of water is already 240-250 degrees Fahrenheit, which is around the temperatures reached in pressure cookers.
And since high pressures push the boiling point of water up, cooking at much higher temperatures is possible in pressure cookers. As a result, the cooking time is reduced drastically, sometimes to just half of what it would take with conventional boiling!
How does a pressure cooker work?
When you’ve just turned on the stove, the inside environment of your pressure cooker isn’t pressurized yet.First, internal air needs to be pushed out from the cooker because it doesn’t transfer heat well.
At the initial low pressure, the boiling point of water will be 212 degrees Fahrenheit or lower depending on your altitude. As water boils into steam, the internal air gets pushed out of the cooker. Pressure cookers are vented for several minutes to allow the steam to replace air (or most of it)inside. Usually, this takes about 10 minutes.
Once the air is removed, the pressure cooker is sealed airtight. Being unable to escape from the pot, steam continues to build up, raising the internal pressure and along with it the boiling point of water.
This process cannot continue endlessly.Once the pressure reaches a certain point, boiling will stop or get limited – your stove can only transfer so much heat to the cooker, so it may be unable to boil water at a higher pressure. Usually, the boiling point settles around 250 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on how much pressure there is.
The high internal temperatures, as mentioned above, allow for much faster cooking. In fact, because steam transfers heat much better than air, heat is transferred to even those parts of the food that aren’t submerged in water.
Pretty simple, right?
And after you are done with the cooking, you need to carefully release the pressure from the cooker, but that’s a whole another story. Make sure to consult your pressure cooker’s manual to do this safely!
Lets See What do you use a pressure cooker for?
There is a wide range of cooking techniques that can be used with a pressure cooker. Namely, a pressure cooker can:
- Steam roast.
Nearly all food types that can be cooked in water-based liquids or steam can be cooked in a pressure cooker.
Some food types are unsuitable for pressure cooking though. Among such foods are noodles, pasta, cereals, and oatmeal. These food types could expand too much, as well as froth, blocking the steam vent. This could prevent you from releasing pressure after the cooking is done, as well as could result in a dangerous pressure buildup in semi-sealed cookers.
Cooking can obviously be done in a pressure cooker. But many people are wondering whether a pressure cooker could be used with other food preparation techniques as well. Most often, people are interested in pressure canning.
How does a pressure cooker work for canning? Can you even can food in a pressure cooker? Let’s find out.
Can you use a pressure cooker for canning?
The answer is a solid NO. While a pressure cooker could technically be used for food canning, you should not attempt to do so.
Low-acid foods like vegetables, fish, or meat require temperatures higher than the water boiling point to destroy microorganisms. These foods need to be processed at 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
Special devices called pressure canners are used for canning low-acid foods. And while they rely on the same principles as pressure cookers, they have some design features that make them far safer for canning.
A pressure canner is much more sophisticated than a pressure cooker. Pressure canners have much more accurate tools for monitoring pressure and temperature, which is crucial for ensuring that all microorganisms that could be dwelling in the food are killed.
A pressure cooker doesn’t have as precise tools since its purpose is to cook food faster than with conventional boiling. You don’t have to reach a specific temperature – the food will cook faster whether at 220 or 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pressure canners are also required to maintain a specific pressure with high accuracy over an extended period, a thing that is just not necessary for pressure cookers. Pressure cookers don’t need to have precise pressure and temperature settings because they aren’t designed to ensure food safety!
Also, pressure canners are much larger than cookers since they are designed to accommodate jars with food.
According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, the recommendation for pressure canning low-acid foods is to use pressure canners that hold at least 4-quart jars in an upright position with the lid in place. Not every cooker is going to be able to do this.
In addition, pressure cookers haven’t been adequately tested for canning, and there is no enough research to assert that they can be safely used for pressure canning.
Some pressure cookers may be accurate enough for canning, but we’d advise against attempting to can food in any pressure cooker. Use a canner, or if you don’t have one, have someone else do it for you. Food safety is more important than moneysaving, so make sure to use proper equipment. You may see best cheap cooker consumer reports for good performance in your kitchen and home.