Electric pressure cookers use electricity to cook food instead of other sources of fuel. Preparing food with water, or any other liquid, in a sealed container which is under pressure is called pressure cooking. Electric pressure cookers are used for preparing foods faster than traditional cooking methods, including stovetop pressure cookers. They also save time and energy. Electric pressure cookers can be used to cook several foods together (in the same pressure cooker) using accessory pans or steamer baskets.
Electric Pressure Cookers’ Temperature
In an electric pressure cooker, one can cook food at a higher humidity and higher temperatures than conventional boiling or steaming methods. In traditional cooking methods, that is in an ordinary cooking vessel, which is non-pressurized, the boiling point of water is 100 °C (at atmospheric pressure). Any amount of heat supplied to the vessel will not increase the temperature any further. It will only result in evaporation of water, which will consume more fuel to cook.
In a closed electric pressure cooker, due to the pressure inside the cooker, the temperature of the water can be increased. Inside the cooker, at a pressure of 15 psi, which is above atmospheric pressure, water can reach a temperature of up to 121 °C. Initially, pressure is created by boiling food with liquid inside the sealed pressure cooker. The internal pressure and temperature are increased by the entrapped steam. After cooking, the pressure can be gradually released to open the vessel safely. This is energy efficient and can help to save up to 70 % of the fuel while cooking.
Unlike conventional stovetop cookers, electric pressure cookers are sleek, state-of-the-art, and totally re-engineered. These modern pressure cookers are silent and safe, and very user-friendly. They have improved valve systems and sophisticated features which make them easy to use, and they are available with easy-to-read pressure indicators and well-written instruction manuals.
Electric Pressure Cookers vs. Traditional
The traditional stovetop models require constant monitoring to ensure the pressure valve ‘rocks’ gently throughout the cooking time. Nowadays, electric pressure cookers use just 1/2 cup of water and discharge much less steam and need just one heat adjustment, as compared to the olden days’ stovetop models. Electric pressure cookers use superheated steam under high pressure and ensure the flavors are in the foods. Hence, steaming is always better than boiling, since boiling destroys most of the flavors.
Electric Pressure Cookers are Healthy
Cooking in an electric pressure cooker does not add fat, as foods are prepared using steam, so fats can be cooked out and drained away. In fact, the super-heated steam increases the natural flavors, intensifying the taste of the cooked food. Electric pressure cookers are definitely something you should consider.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks to make sure that you get the most from your pressure cooker:
- The pressure cookers on the market these days are much safer than pressure cookers on the market years ago. There are several built-in safety features these days. There is a valve that will release excessive pressure buildup. The lids on pressure cookers these days will lock before they will allow pressure to build. The lid will not unlock again until all of the pressure is released.
- You should fill your pressure cooker no more than two-thirds full. Food will expand when cooked under pressure and you do not want the possibility of clogging your pressure plug.
- Always make sure your vent pipe is clear. If it is blocked, the pressure may build to unsafe levels. You can easily clear it with a toothpick.
- Never open your pressure cooker until all of the pressure is released. Models on the market these days offer locking lids, which will not allow you to open them until the pressure is gone.
- There are some foods that should not be cooked in a pressure cooker, such as oatmeal and cereals, cranberries, pasta, rice, applesauce, split peas, pearl barley, rhubarb, or dried soup mixes. These foods tend to get foamy and will block the pressure release.
- Be sure to replace your rubber gasket if it becomes damaged or sticky. You will want to make sure you have a tight seal with your gasket, so the pressure cooker does not allow any steam to escape. If steam is escaping, you are not going to get your pressure cooker to reach the desired pressure needed for cooking.
- If you have a recipe that calls for zero minutes, this means you will bring your pressure cooker up to the desired pressure and then immediately release the pressure.
- Finally, make sure you always follow the manufacturer’s directions. This will ensure you are getting the best results for your meals and that you are using your pressure cooker safely.