If you have newly discovered the wonderful benefits of pressure cooking then this “How to Buy a Pressure Cooker” guide will help you pick the best pressure cooker for you. With a wide variety of pressure cooking products available in the market, it is important to do a thorough research before deciding to buy one. But don’t worry, our experts have gone ahead and done all the hard work for you so that you can relax and choose a cooker that best suits your needs. So let’s dive in and get started.
Why you need a good pressure cooker?
Pressure cooking has been in use for a long time across various cuisines all over the world. One of the primary benefits of the pressure cooker is that it cooks 2-3 times faster than normal cooking methods. It also consumes very little energy and thus saves you a lot of money in utility bills. Apart from that food cooked in a pressure cooker is more tasty as its aromas and nutrients are absorbed into the food without escaping the vessel. It can make even the toughest cuts of meat juicy and tender. So you can even save money by buying economical cuts of meat and make them tender using your pressure cooker.
The Top 5 Best Pressure Cooker
|Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker||#1 Electric (Best)|
|Presto 01370 8-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker||#1 Cooker & Canner|
|Power Pressure Cooker XL 6 Quart – Silver||#1 Digital Multi Cooker|
|Kuhn Rikon Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker||#1 Stovetop|
|Fagor Duo 8-Quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker||#1 Budget|
The main differences between a stainless steel and aluminum pressure cooker
Aluminum Pressure cooker
Cookers made of aluminum are light-weight and easy to handle. Aluminum distributes heat evenly throughout the pressure cooker resulting in perfectly cooked meals. The downside to aluminum pressure cookers is that they are prone to dents and scratches and cannot work efficiently in high-pressure conditions.
Stainless Steel Pressure cookers
Stainless steel pressure cookers are known for their strength and durability. They are a bit heavy and can be used for a long time without any maintenance. Its heat distribution is not as good as aluminum cookers, but it is very well equipped to work under high-pressure conditions. You won’t have to worry about denting or scratching a stainless steel cooker as they are very much capable of rough use.
How to select the right size of a pressure cooker.
Nowadays pressure cookers are available in many sizes and it is important to choose the right size for your needs. Normally pressure cookers are sold according to the size of its liquid capacity, but it is important to note that under normal circumstances you will only be able to use half or two-thirds of that capacity. It mainly depends on the type of food that is being cooked.
If you are an individual who likes to cook food for yourself then the 4-quart size is the best fit for you. The quantity of food cooked in this cooker will be perfect for maximum two people without any wastage.
The 6-quart cooker size is also fondly known as the family size pressure cooker. It is the perfect size for cooking meals for a small to medium sized families.
If you frequently cook large quantities of food for lots of people then this is the right size for you. You can easily cook the whole quantity of food at one go in the 8-quart size pressure cooker.
There are even larger sizes available, but those are normally used for canning large quantities of food in quart sized jars. You are rarely going to need a bigger size than the 8-quart cooker.
Important features to consider while buying a pressure cooker
The pressure regulator is a very important feature to look out for in a pressure cooker. It helps in checking and controlling the internal pressure of a cooker. There are basically three types of regulators used in a pressure cooker ie spring valve regulator, weighted valve regulator and modified weighted valve regulator. Even though they are a bit different from each other they all perform the same function. The standard pressure regulator setting is 15 psi.
Weighted valve pressure regulator
The weighted valve pressure regulator is located on top of the pressure cooker and is used to regulate the pressure inside a cooker. It uses a vent on top of the cooker to release excess steam and control the pressure at 15 psi. Always make sure that you buy a cooker with a detachable pressure regulator so that you can check the vents for any blockage or cleaning.
Modified weighted valve pressure regulator
This type of pressure regulator is attached to the cooker and keeps the pressure in check. The cooking starts when the valve releases steam for the first time. After that, all you need to do is set the heat to a low setting and the cooker will automatically maintain its pressure. The valve will keep on releasing steam and make sure that the pressure is maintained at 15 psi.
Spring valve Pressure regulator
This is a common type of pressure regulator which many of you might have seen. Also known as a pressure whistle, it is situated on top of the pressure cooker and releases steam while maintaining a constant pressure of 15 psi. You can actually hear the valve let out steam and thus accordingly you can set the heat setting.
The lid lock mechanism is a feature which all the best cookers have. The top lid of the pressure cooker automatically locks itself when there is pressure inside the cooker. Once all the pressure is released and is safe to open the lid lock mechanism will allow you to open the top lid and serve the food. This feature is very important as it directly affects your safety and well-being.
Steel cooking Rack
Always choose a cooker with a cooking rack built inside it. This will help you to cook different types of food in layers without mixing and at one go. This will allow you to save lots of time which would otherwise be wasted while cooking each type of food separately.
Pressure release mechanism
While buying a pressure cooker, make sure that it is equipped with a quick pressure release knob. All you have to do to release steam is remove the cooker from the heat source and activate the pressure release knob. The knob will release steam in a very short time and make it safe to open the top covering lid.
Strong and secure handles
A pressure cooker is an appliance which needs to be handled constantly while cleaning and serving. In order to make it safe and secure while handling the cooker, it is important to choose a cooker with strong and sturdy handles. Make sure that it is ergonomically designed for easy and secure gripping. The handles should be made of materials which are bad conductors of heat. This will make sure that it stays cool even in high-pressure conditions and keep your hands safe from scorching the heat.
Always buy a cooker with a detachable cooking pot preferably made of aluminum. It is easier to clean a detachable cooking pot and it can even be put in a dishwasher easily. Make sure that the pot is coated with non-stick teflon which stops food from sticking to the sides and burning.
Manuals and Recipe Books
It is a great value addition when a company offers a well written and easy to understand instruction manual along with that cooker. This will allow you to get the best out of your pressure cooker and look at the FAQ’s when you have some basic problems. Recipe books help you in improving your cooking skills and enjoy new dishes with your friends and family.