Choosing A Pressure Cooker
All pressure cookers work on the same concept of high pressure cooking, all ending with a release of the pressure. It doesn’t matter which type of cooker you choose to purchase, they all pretty much do the same thing. Your choice of cooker will depend on how much you can afford and which cooker would be the best fit for your kitchen.
A good cookware store will have a large selection of stunning stainless steel pressure cookers for the stove top as well as a few that are fancy electric cookers. The choices are size, style, and type of lid. Except in very rare circumstances they are all safe, so that isn’t an issue at all. Some cookers have a manual quick-release feature, which removes the need to pour cold water over the top of the cooker to release the pressure. If you have little space in a small kitchen, this is an excellent feature.
When choosing a pressure cooker in my opinion you should go for a stainless steel pressure cooker with a 3-5 ply base for even heat. There are alot of brands that are excellent, churning out perfect meals time and time again. Some of these cookers use the handle to regulate pressure , and others have a pressure regulator actually built inside the lid. Cookers with aluminum interiors tend to pit, and they develop discolouration when you cook food that contains acid, such as cherry peppers and tomatoes. A stainless interior is non-reactive and will also let you to brown your meat in the pressure cooker, creating another dimension of flavour before the lid is safely locked onto the cooker.
Shapes of cookers will vary, something you will notice when choosing a pressure cooker. Some are low and wide, while others are quite tall and deeper. Your choice will come down to how big you want it to be and whether you want a saute type or one that is deeper. If you think you will be cooking stews and soups in big quantities then taller cooker may be the way to go. But if you think you will only be cooking things such as grains, vegetables, and risotto’s then the wider more shallow cooker would probably be the best choice. No matter the style you choose, I recommend you purchase a 4-6 litre pressure cooker for families with 2-4 members. For larger families an 8 litre cooker should be plenty big enough.
Electric pressure cookers take most of the guesswork out of cooking with pressure. It gets the food to the required temperature, holds it then reduces the pressure when the food is cooked, all automatically, which is something worth considering when choosing a pressure cooker. They all have non stick interiors which makes cleaning a piece of cake.
Alot of the top level cookers come with accessories such as a trivet and basket for steaming, these ensure food is kept away from any liquid in the bottom of the cooker. Perfect if you plan to make desserts or even cooking a whole chicken. Something else to keep in mind when you are choosing a pressure cooker. If the cooker you purchase doesn’t come with those items you can use something from around the kitchen to keep the food off the base and out of the liquid. In the past i have used a stainless steel cookie cutter to keep food off the bottom. Whatever you use try to make sure its stainless steel and heat resistant.
Something i like to do (which i recommend to anyone considering buying their first pressure cooker to do) when choosing a pressure cooker is to search online for the manual to the cooker i am planning on buying, this is something i have always done, and not just with pressure cookers. Upon finding the manual you can learn how it functions and give you an idea of how simple you will find the process. Which to be honest becomes pretty simple once you have cooked a few times.
I hope your journey to choosing a pressure cooker has been made a little easier after reading this. Good Luck!
Check out my pressure cooking tips to help you on your cooking journey