So now you have your new pressure cooker and it looks pretty impressive. In fact it might be a little daunting at first glance. Maybe it would be useful to learn and understand pressure cooker terminology.
Be sure to read the manual that came with your cooker. There are some special directions for electric cookers and a high BTU stove, but the following explanations should apply to any pressure cooker you use on a standard stove either electric or gas.
Do not stir. This first term refers to the fact that some things like tomatoes tend to burn easily if over a high heat source. So many recipes will direct you to add them last and do not stir. Pressure cookers come to the correct pressure over high heat.
Lock the lid in place. It may seem silly to remind you of this, but you would be surprised at the number of people who put in the food, turn on the heat, set the lid on top and don't realize they have not locked the lid on. Pressure will not be attained if the lid is not locked. See your manual for instructions on how to do this.
Bring to high pressure. After you have put your ingredients in the pan, (don't forget the requisite amount of liquid) place it on the stove on a burner the same size or just a little smaller than the pan, but not bigger.
Turn the heat to high. It takes about 5 minutes for an average amount of food to come to high pressure, but if the pan if filled to the recommended limit it can take as long as 20 minutes.(Never fill the pan more than the recommended limit )This is especially true if you are using the pressure cooker to home can food. Time used to raise the pressure is not included in the cooking time in the recipes.
Reduce heat. After the correct pressure has been attained, lower the heat so that you maintain the pressure. This can be a little tricky as every stove is different and a little trial and error will let you know how much to lower the heat. I won't take long before you will just automatically lower it to the correct temp.
Quick release the pressure. This means just what it says, release the pressure quickly. This stops the cooking process and keeps things from being overcooked. The best way to do this is to put the pressure cooker under cold running water. DO NOT DO THIS WITH AN ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER. Using a fork or tongs move the pressure regulator gently to the side and release the steam. Be careful! Do not put your face over the pressure regulator, steam burns hurt!! When the pressure returned to normal you may open the cooker. This method is most often used with vegetables so as not to over cook them.
Natural pressure release. When a recipe calls for natural release it means turn off the heat and let the pressure come down on its own. This method is often used with meats to allow them to finish cooking after you turn off the heat. This usually takes about 10 minutes, but can take up to 25 minute. With a huge canner it can take an hour or more, but hopefully you will not be using that for dinner!!
These are some of the most common terms you will come across when using your pressure cooker. Be sure to read all the directions in the manual that comes with your cooker and you will soon have healthy meals for you family that save time and money and taste wonderful.
Nancy Toney has been using the pressure cooker for over 30 years and is happy to share her experience with you.
Check out her website [http://www.buypressurecookers.com]