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Claire - Chef's Cookware

How a pressure cooker works

Its coming back into fashion again?

21st February 2007 00:00

Pressure cooking is a method of cooking in a sealed vessel that does not permit air or liquids to escape below a preset pressure. Because water's boiling point increases as the pressure increases, the pressure built up inside the cooker allows the liquid in the pot to rise to a temperature higher than 100 °C (212 °F) before boiling. Most pressure cookers have an internal pressure setting of 15 psi. At this pressure water boils at 125 °C (257 °F). The higher temperature causes the food to cook faster. Cooking times can be reduced by a factor of three or four. For example, shredded cabbage is cooked in one minute, fresh green beans take about five, small to medium-sized potatoes (up to 200 g) may be ready in five minutes or so and a whole chicken takes no more than twenty-five minutes. It is often used to simulate the effects of long braising or simmering in shorter periods of time.

The materials used for making pressure cookers are generally aluminium and stainless steel. The aluminium may be wrought and buffed or anodised, however aluminium pans should not be put in a dishwasher. The stainless steel cooker may have bottom plated or brazed with copper or aluminium for uniform heating of bottom of cooker. A gasket, or sealing ring, forms an airtight seal which does not allow air or steam to escape between the pan and the lid, the only way the steam can escape is through a regulator on the lid when the pressure has built up (or if the regulator is blocked, through a safety valve).

Advantages

  1. Cooks Faster as compared to traditional and modern methods.
  2. Hygienic compared to open cooking in a pot or utensil. The food is cooked above the boiling point of water, killing more germs.
  3. Nutrients of food are usually retained in pressure cooking.
  4. Saving of energy, time and money due to faster cooking.
  5. Easy to cook as compared to other modern gadgets.
  6. Pressure cookers can be used in most of food styles, cooking styles, different recipes.
  7. Easy to clean pressure cooker after cooking.
  8. Several foods can be cooked together in the pressure cooker.

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