When looking for a new pressure cooker, you will find many different makes and models available. Here you will find a guide to which types of cooker are available, and a few pro’s and con’s for each. Make sure you research the model you are interested in, and be sure to read plenty of pressure cooker reviews.
Stove Top Pressure Cooker
A stove-top model is one that the user places on the stove and manually sets the temperature to achieve the correct amount of pressure. Then, once the desired pressure is reached, the cooker must be removed from the energy source, the time must be monitored.
The pressure inside the cooker must be released before removal of the lid. These models can be very time consuming because the user must continuously monitor the pressure, cooking times and the pressure relieving stage.
Electric Pressure Cookers
The electric pressure cooker allows the user to prepare all of the ingredients and place them into the pot, set the timer and the cooking will automatically start at any desired time.
These cookers automatically heat the liquid inside the vessel until the desired pressure is reached and then it automatically maintains that pressure for the specified time. After the time has passed, the cooker automatically turns the heating element off, and allows the steam to drop until it is safe to open the lid of the cooker.
The electric pressure cooker allows the user to prepare meals without having to monitor the process. This is of huge benefit because all the user has to do is prepare the meal and set the timer, no monitoring has to take place. One disadvantage is that the internal heating element takes a little longer to reach the required temperature, also, the cool down time for the electric models is significantly longer because the cooker cannot be removed from the heat source like a stove-top model.
You will find models that are made from aluminum and stainless steel. There are advantages and disadvantages to both materials, so the user must determine which one is best for their use.
A big advantage of the aluminum pressure cookers is the weight, they are significantly lighter than the stainless steel models. The lower cost makes them attractive to consumers, and the heating process is generally more uniform because of the good heat conduction properties of aluminum.
Aluminum pressure cookers have a few disadvantages. They will usually stain and pit with heavy use, although this will not have a detrimental affect on the way it works.
Stainless steel pressure cookers have certain advantages too. They are not porous so they are less likely to stain and pit, they have a beautiful shiny surface. Stainless steel is also very durable.
Some of the disadvantages are that they are a little heavier, and more expensive than aluminum cookers. Stainless steel does not conduct heat as well as aluminum, so it may take a little longer to reach the desired cooking pressure. Buying one with a triple wall bottom that has an aluminum core will help reduce the problems that the solid stainless steel bottom would cause.
There is a multitude of makes and models for both stove top and electric cookers. The most common sizes you will find when researching cookers are 4 quart, 6 quart, and 8 quart liquid capacities.
When choosing a model, you must remember that the capacity that you can cook with is around half to two thirds of the pot, this is to allow room for the pressure to build. The needs of the user will be related to family size and normal meal size.
One thing to remember is that not all pressure cookers can be used as pressure canners. If you require this facility, ensure the model you are looking at has a canning option.
Pressure canners are used to preserve a food, which is also commonly referred to as canning. Canning is when food is put into glass jars that are specially made for food preservation. A lid is then placed on the mouth of the jar and a ring is screwed over the lid. The jar filled with food is then placed into the pressure canner and processed for a specified time and pressure, depending on the food being preserved. Once the processing time is fully complete, the pressure is reduced and then the jars are removed from the pressure canner. As the jars cool, the lid seals onto the jar and the food will then last for several months without spoiling.
Using pressure canners to preserve food has been done for many years. In fact, when a person thinks of a pressure cooker, preserving foods in jars probably is the first thing to come to mind, but there is a definite difference and a pressure cooker may not be suitable for canning. Home-canned foods have a better flavor and are more nutritious than commercially canned foods.
If you grow your own vegetables, you know if any pesticides have been used and which type of fertilizer has been used to grow the produce. The same can be said when buying vegetables from a dedicated store.
When looking for a new pressure cooker, simply assess your needs, read some reviews and look at the specification for each model. With such a wide variety of makes and models, all of which have different features and functions, there is a model that is suitable for everyone.