Everyone loves tips.
These pressure cooker tips I’ve written are for those who:
- Have no idea about what pressure cooking is all about,
- Are scared of using pressure cooker and thought that cooking with pressure is dangerous and lastly,
- Those who bought pressure cooker because their celebrity chef is using it but decided to hide it for he’s not sure what to do with it.
Now let’s start.
Tip 1: Learn these 3 most important instructions from the pressure cooker.
- Lock the Lid in Place
- High and Low Pressure
- Natural and Quick Release
Allow me to explain each one of them;
What is “lock the lid in place” means?
If you’re a newbie, it might sound like a direct order from Langley, Virginia but it’s not.
It’s just all about safety.
Because in order for you to bring the pressure UP, modern pressure cooker now have a safety mechanism that you should follow first when using – “ lock the lid in place”
Now this process is a bit different in every brand and model.
and I want you to remember this by heart;
- you need to line a marker on the lid with a marker on the pot,
- then twist the lid gently,
- so that the handle on the lid aligns with the handle on the pot,
- thus it creates an airtight seal.
Then, this next steps are important because this might not be available to all pressure cooker;
- you might and may need to flip a locking switch (look for it)
- make sure a locking indicator signals that the pot is properly shut,
- though even if the lid is not properly locked on – today’s pressure cookers are designed so that pressure cannot build up.
Let’s proceed to High and Low Pressure;
Most pot have 2 Pressure levels: High and Low.
The pressure is measured through psi (pounds per square inch), relax, you don’t have to be engineer to understand this.
“Every pressure cooker pot is not created equal.”
BUT when we generally speak of “psi” – this is the moment where the pot have something in common.
High pressure registers around 15 psi while Low pressure is around 5 psi.
With better understanding of how this 2 pressure behaves in our food, we can produce food that can dazzle your guest and family.
We use high pressure in most of our recipes but honestly I found low pressure “just slightly” good in cooking especially to grains and some beans.
In some old version of pressure cooker, they don’t have a low setting, so most of the first generation users are heavily relying on high pressure – including my mom.
Later, below this post, I will explain to you which dish is good for high pressure and what is best for low pressure setting.
Let’s go to the “Natural and Quick Release”
Because this is the time you have to let the pressure out of the pressure cooker pot.
You have 2 ways to do this: Natural Release or Quick Release
Natural release is when you
- turn off the heat and,
- allow the pressure in the pot to naturally drop
This method is perfect when you want to gently finish cooking the food through, because the food will still be in cooking mode as the pressure drops – sometimes I call it cooking it sexy in low and slow.
For example, the best way to cook large chunks of meat is from a natural release of pressure if you’re targeting for a tender result.
Because trust me on this, if you quickly release a large cut of meat, let’s say, for a sirloin beef roast, what happen next is the meat will have a tough texture come dinner time.
The quick release is only use when you want to stop the cooking right that moment because you want to preserve the meat juice and avoid overcooking it.
Think of a Rosemary Chicken Breast dish here.
You just need to use the quick release for fast cooking.
The good news of modern pressure cookers now is that they are equipped with quick release valves that “quickly” and safely release the steam from the pot.
Again one piece of advice from here – “Never try to swap one release method over the other”
Because if you switch from a natural to a quick release – you’ll get an undercook food and a big problem for food texture.
And if you switch from a quick to a natural release, food will be overcook.
Tip 2: These are foods best prepared in a pressure cooker.
You can use the pressure cooker in any comfort food like:
- making creamy risottos, soups, stews, beans.
- making this will not only give you 5 star result but also will cut the usual cooking time down by almost ⅔.
- like I said, this is best for tougher cut of meat because cooking under high pressure helps to break down the connective tissues. Not only that, it retains water soluble nutrients that are normally boiled away.
- This cooking process instantly infuses and mingles flavor somehow, that is usually found only in a slow cooking.
- you can cook a tender cut of chicken for like 8 minutes and if you want a steamed fish – don’t ever leave the stove, for in less than 5 minutes, it’s perfectly done.
- speaking of homemade stock, pressure cooker is perfect for recycled soup bones and veggie scraps. During summer, chicken pieces even pork and beef ribs can be precooked to infuse the flavor and finish it right into your backyard using your grill.
- Don’t forget the dessert! Forget baking the cheesecake once you tried the smooth, creamy version of pressure cooker. Now who want cakes?
Tip 3: Here are the recommended features that you should look for your pressure cooker.
- Check if it has a pressure release valve because this will allows you to release the pressure inside and check the cooking progress.
- Your pressure cooker must have a “Keep Warm” setting so you can serve the food directly from the cooker.
- A “Saute” or any browning program that allows you to do the browning effect of the meat right into the pressure cooker bowl.
- A removable bowl for easy clean up.
- This is important for pressure cooking; a high and low settings must be available so you can do some pastry too, like cakes!
Tip 4: These are the important things to look for in pressure cooker that your grandma probably doesn’t know.
The most important thing in buying, I always tell this to my kids too… –
That you must get, what you paid for.
Now here’s the catch, the pricier cookers have more safety features and heavier bottoms.
AND If you need an emotional booster to get past that fear of using a pressure cooker – choose the latest generation model of pressure cooker. (I’ll guide you along the way here)
BUT if you’re comfortable of dealing with a technology that’s way too behind, you can find cheap pressure cooker in this category.
Here’s my tip:
Always look for these model:
- with a lock that makes the lid impossible to remove when there is any pressure still inside.
- find out if there’s a backed up valve to release pressure – just in case the main valve is clogged.
- In older and cheaper model, the backup I’m talking about is a rubber plug that will blow out and launch like a rocket ship together with the contents of the pot into your kitchen.
- Today, pressure cooker manufacturers realize this so newer models have one or more pressure releases to vent the steam and not the contents, this happen if the main pressure valve is blocked.
- Look for the model with computerized timers so that they can tell you exactly when to reduce the heat and release the steam.
Tip 5: You must have a pressure cooker in your kitchen.
If you reached this part and still not sure of investing in a pressure cooker, I will tell you that it is really worth it.
Here are the several reasons why I am convincing you that your kitchen should be equipped with one:
- Pressure cooker saves you money.
How? tougher meats and dried beans are inexpensive. Now you can cook them and enjoy the tenderness of it, that is only from grocery shopping standpoint of view.
How about energy consumption? In pressure cooker you use less time and time is money.
- They’re absolutely safe.
All the latest pressure cooker model has now multiple safety features that allows the excess pressure escape without making a mess. The days are over for ending your meal exploding in your kitchen when using pressure cooker.
- The flavors in your dish is more intact and infused.
The intensity of pressure makes the flavor infuse in food itself. The molecules of every flavor cannot escape easily. Take a look in making beef brisket. When we do this in pressure cooker, there’s no need to let the spices cover the beef for several hours. The cooking itself will make the flavors goes within the beef itself because the natural juices will stay put during pressure cooking.
- You can make healthy foods in a fast mode.
Almost everyone of us is living in a fast lane. That’s why quick fix meal, 30 minute meal recipe cookbooks are everywhere. So, one day I’m not surprise if I will see a cookbook recipe that says “100 Gourmet Recipes That You Can Do Within 5 Minutes”. Holy shoot!.
Well my point here is this, the traditionally from the scratch meals like stew, soup, beef braises are among the others that you can make in your pressure cooker. In less than the normal time that your grandma used to know.
Find out more about here all the fast and gourmet recipes that I’m about to share.
- Pressure cooker helps you keep a cooler kitchen.
What is the formula for making your kitchen cooler?
Make the cooking time shorter + Lower burner levels + All the heat are trapped inside your pressure cooker.