Do you want to cook food at home quickly and with precision, without having to clean too many pots and pans afterward? If I ever had to decide to select one kitchen appliance, I would surely choose a pressure cooker. But before you start investing your money, you need to know how a pressure cooker works.
Even people who often use a Pressure cooker get a little tense when the steam starts to come out and, the first thought that comes to mind is it might explode. People are often reluctant to buy pressure cookers because of the danger attached to them previously. Nowadays, Pressure cookers are becoming a necessity of every household because of their ease of use, precision in making healthy, delicious meals, and optimized use of resources.
What is a pressure cooker? How does a pressure cooker work?
A pressure cooker works simply on the principles of physics. The water boils at 212F and, it starts to evaporate once it reaches that temperature, limiting the time it takes to cook food.
How a pressure cooker works and cook so fast?
When the pot is sealed with a lid to trap the pressure, it builds pressure inside the vessel as the steam tries to escape. It raises the boiling point of water to 250F due to 15 pounds per square inch (PSI) of internal pressure in the pot. As a result, the food cooks almost ten times faster as compared to pots without pressure.
How long have been pressure cookers around?
Pressure cooking is almost 350 years old and was first invented by a French physicist Denis Papin in 1679. Pressure cooking was not that popular back in its invention days because of its lack of safety measures for home use. It started to gain popularity during the Second World War as people realized it saves resources and cooks food much faster than standard pots.
First Generation Pressure cookers
The first generation pressure cookers have a small valve at the top that jiggles back and forth and allows it to release the steam. It makes a lot of noise and is not considered safe.
Most of the modern pressure cookers are designed the same way as old ones. The only difference is the advanced safety mechanism and digital system to control the pressure in the vessel.
Second generation Pressure Cookers:
The second-generation cookers are less noisy and include a spring valve that allows you to choose between two different pressure settings. Furthermore, some of the models don’t even release any steam. It adjusts the heat and pressure levels. These models are more reliable and precise as compared to the first generation.
Third generation Pressure Cookers:
The third generation cookers are the most recent invention, and it contains an electric system that allows it to control the pressure. You can set the timer to turn it off after a specific time. You don’t need to keep track of time after closing the lid, all you have to do is, set the timer, and you are good to go. These cookers also have a delay function and built-in programming for foolproof recipes. Check out the best instant pot pressure cookers
Are Pressure Cookers Safe?
When the Pressure cooker was invented, it was not a quick hit, mainly because of the safety concern. It only had one outlet to release the steam, and if somehow, that valve gets clogged, it would lead to disastrous consequences.
Over time the new generation pressure cookers started to evolve, and now it contains full safety features. Exploding of the vessel is no longer a concern for the users. Certain myths are still attached to pressure cooking that takes you back to grandmother’s old pressure cooking that could go wrong in many ways. Nowadays, with the advent of third-generation pressure cooker models, you have nothing to be afraid of. These cookers come with multiple safety measures that ensure healthy cooking with 100 percent reliability. Furthermore if you understand that how a pressure cooker works, there is no need to worry.
Safety features in modern Pressure Cookers:
- Valve to Release the Pressure
- Locking mechanism
- The pressure is controlled automatically
- Pop up indication about dangers
- Detection for closed lid
- Protection from leakage of the lid
- Warnings in high temperature
- Release of pressure in 3 different ways
Benefits of using pressure cookers
After finding how a pressure cooker works you need to understand the benefits of pressure cooking. Pressure cooking might seems complex but it has many benefits as compared to traditional pot based cooking
How a pressure cooker works to Retain the Nutritional value of food:
Pressure cookers provide certain health benefits that can’t be attained by normal pots. As less time is required in cooking, the food doesn’t lose the nutritional value. Pressure cooking allows to retain the original color and taste of vegetables by reducing the cooking time by 70%. In traditional cookware, the minerals and vitamins evaporates along with water as it is slow process unlike pressure cooking, which allows the vitamins and minerals to merge resulting in much tastier food and broth at the same time.
How a pressure cooker works to save energy :
With increase in electricity bills, everyone wants something that provides great value with less use of resources. A pressure cooker allows us to save the energy by adapting recipes that are good for one pot. No need to cook food on separate burners. All you have to do is put all the ingredients in the pressure cooker put some water and recipe will be done in no time.
Less time taking:
Most of the time we come home and all we want to do is have a nice meal and sleep. The pressure cooker is a handy kitchen appliance that can work wonders and reduce the cooking time, sparing enough time for you to set the table and cleanup afterwards.
Less cleaning required:
Cooking food on traditional stovetop cookware leads to more mess on the kitchen counter. The bubbles and steam along with oil evaporates and stick to the walls and control panel which require a regular cleaning. Using a pressure cooker traps the vapors and steam inside the vessel resulting in less cleaning of the kitchen afterwards and you are left with only one pot to wash.
Using Pressure cooker for preserving food:
Canning food and preserving it for future use is becoming more popular these days. During the COVID 19 wave, people felt the need to preserve their food more than ever. The pressure cookers having PSI 15 can be easily used for canning food. Fish and meat are canned by cooking it on high pressure which kills the bacteria and allows it to be preserved for longer periods of time. You can use small pressure cookers for canning but it will only contain few jars instead of a large 8 quart pressure cooker that prepares enough meal for a big family.
Useful for cooking at high elevation:
Have you ever noticed that cooking food on high altitudes requires much more time than normal? On high altitudes, the atmospheric pressure increases which decrease the boiling point of water and requires more time to cook food. The food will not cook by merely increasing the flame. With the increase of 500 foot in altitude, the boiling point of water will decrease up to 1 degree F. Pressure cooker is a life saver in high altitude areas as it cooks food under pressure and with closed lid.