How to Use a Pressure Cooker Efficiently
Household / Appliances
An electric pressure cooker is one of the vital pieces of cooking equipment that you cannot do without if you want to save time and energy in the kitchen. Acquiring one is actually very easy – you can easily shop for one online from brands that are well-known for durability and ease of use. Image Credit: Pressure Cooker on Induction Burner, Didriks, flickr. Image License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0), Creative Commons.
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When you finally have your very own electric pressure cooker, it’s time to learn the ropes – how can you use this great new cooking device to save time and effort when you are working in the kitchen? Here are our secret tips that you have to know if you want to maximize use of your pressure cooker:
Using A Pressure Cooker For The First Time
1. Pressure cookers are designed to tenderize the toughest of meats. But it can also be used to create vegetable stews, soups, and other less demanding dishes.
When you are cooking something that requires a shorter cooking time, always consult with the user manual and use a timer to ensure that you do not overcook your ingredients.
This applies most especially to dishes that require lots of tender vegetables. Trust me, you don’t want your veggies to be overcooked by a pressure cooker!
2. If you live at a higher altitude than most, you have to add ten to fifteen minutes more to your cooking time to ensure that your dishes will be cooked correctly. Water boils more slowly at higher altitude, so expect your cooking time to be longer than usual.
3. Always add your seasonings before closing the lid of your pressure cooker. This gives the seasoning time to permeate the meat and other ingredients, like vegetables.
Pressure cooking really opens up meat because of the constant pressure and heat, and this will allow pepper, salt, and other seasonings to improve the flavor of the meat.
4. Use the correct amount of water and do not overfill your pressure cooker. Normally, recipes that can be cooked with a pressure cooker only require two to three cups of water or broth.
Overfilling your pressure cooker with water can cause the liquid to escape through the pressure vent. This can lead to a messy cleanup or worse, superheated liquids escaping through the cover of the pressure cooker.
5. When you are done cooking and you have already washed the inner cooking pot of your electric pressure cooker, leave the lid open so any extra odors will be able to dissipate.
This will ensure that your pressure cooker will be a more or less neutral area when you cook your next dish. You wouldn’t want last week’s beef stew to influence the smell or flavor of your chicken gumbo, would you?
6. When slicing meat and vegetables, always aim for equally-sized pieces. This is more than just an aesthetic issue; it has been shown that equally-sized ingredients tend to cook more evenly in a pressurized environment.
The reason for this is quite simple: when heat and pressure bombards food, these elements make contact with the surface of the ingredients. Larger slices/chunks take longer to cook, so they may remain undercooked if all the other ingredients are cut into smaller pieces.
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