Pressure Cooking is not a difficult skill to learn. Just read the instruction manual with care, follow a few simple guidelines, try it a few times to get the hang of it and there will be nothing that can stand in the way of you becoming a pressure cooker pro! Once you get familiar with its use, you will understand how easy and speedy it makes your time in the kitchen and you will be using it every single day. This post will help you begin a safe and enjoyable pressure cooking experience.

Examine the Condition of its Parts:

Since pressure cookers involve high temperatures and pressures, it is very important that you examine the condition of all its parts before starting to use it.  Check all the pressure valves to see if there is any obstruction by food particles. If you see any blockage, clear the passage so that the steam may be allowed to escape safely. Also check the sealing ring to see if there are any cracks or deformation since any damage to it may prevent it from forming a proper seal.

Adding the Ingredients:

When pressure cooking, choose a recipe which incorporates a pressure cooker to help you understand the cooking time and method exactly without having to make blind guesses. Most recipes will involve sautéing or browning the ingredients before pressure cooking. To do that you will first have to brown the contents in a little oil and then add the liquid. The addition of liquid is crucial to pressure cooking. If you are not following any recipe, ensure that you add at least ½ cup liquid. There is also a maximum limit to the addition of liquid which is 2/3 the total capacity of the cooker for most cookers.

Bringing to Pressure:

After you have added the liquid and the rest of the ingredients, it’s time to place the cover and lock it. Make completely sure that proper seal has been created otherwise pressure will not form. Most pressure cookers have two pressure settings: high and low. Make your selection depending on the recipe. To build pressure inside the cooker pot, turn the flame up. A pressure indicator will indicate when the cooker develops pressure. When the desired pressure is achieved, switch the flame to medium high and cook for the duration mentioned in the recipe.

Releasing the Pressure:

When the cooking duration elapses, turn the heat off. With a stovetop pressure cooker, they are generally two techniques to release pressure.  First is the natural release where you just have to turn the stove off and wait for the pressure to subside which will take around 10 minutes. Second is cold water release where you place the cooker in the sink under cold running water till the pressure subsides. Modern pressure cookers also feature an additional quick release for convenient and quick release of pressure. Once you are completely sure that all the steam has escaped, you may open the lid and serve your delicious dish!

Cleaning and Storage:

Pressure cookers require special care and consideration as any other prized possession would ask for. Remove the gasket from inside the lid and wash the lid, pot and gasket separately and carefully. Good quality pressure cookers feature a dishwasher friendly cooker pot and lid (with the weight and gasket removed) for easier clean up. Let all the parts dry before storing them away. Once they have dried, place the gasket back in the lid and place the lid upside down over the cooker pot to store it in a clean, dry place.