Use the Pressure Cooker Correctly – This is How it Works

Cooking with the pressure cooker saves time and preserves nutrients. Operating the pressure pot is easy once you know the basics.

How to start cooking with the pressure cooker

If you want to cook with a pressure cooker, first select the right size for the number of servings required. Family-friendly for 4 people and more, for example, are models with a capacity of 6 liters and up. Everything below is suitable for smaller households (4.5 l) and single portions (3.5 l).

  • Before you start cooking, check whether the lid, the sealing ring inside, and the valves of the pressure cooker are intact. You should also examine the moving parts for the pressure gauge and the handles.
  • Fill the pot with the food to be cooked. This can be vegetables, fish, or meat. You can put loose vegetables in a colander that fits the pot, and sauté the meat lightly with fat beforehand. Or you add all the ingredients for a stew or soup according to the recipe.
  • To do this, fill in the right amount of liquid, which is important to generate enough water vapor. At the same time, you prevent burning on the bottom of the pot.
  • Add at least 125 ml to small steam pressure pots with a volume of around 3 liters, medium-sized ones with a volume of 4 liters with around 250 ml, and larger pots of 6 liters or more with around 750 ml of liquid.
  • Overall, you must not fill the pressure cooker with more than three-quarters of the total volume. For foods that produce foam, are vicious, or swell a lot, you should only use half the pot height. This is the case, for example, when cooking legumes and stews.
  • Now put the lid on and close it so that the handle clicks into place. You will clearly hear and feel this closing on most pot models. Push the closure of the pressure pot closed so that pressure can build up in the pot.
  • Place the pot on a hotplate that matches the diameter of the pot and start the power supply. Set the desired steam pressure level on the lid (control on the handle).

The cooking time begins with a hiss

Depending on how much you let the pressure in the pot rise and which foods are to be cooked, the cooking time will be different. The higher the pressure – level 2 is the highest for most cooking pots – the higher the cooking temperature inside, the shorter the necessary cooking time. This preserves vitamins and brings advantages in terms of color and taste.

  • As soon as the steam builds up pressure in the pot, your pot will indicate this. For example, a pin or a kind of button on the lid lifts up. There are usually two markings on this.
  • At cooking level 1 (1st marking is visible), the food is cooked at around 110 degrees Celsius. The level is well suited for delicate foods such as vegetables or fish with a short cooking time.
  • Cooking level 2 (2nd marking) is used to cook and stew meat, and side dishes such as potatoes, soups, or stews.
  • You can also use it to boil down or sterilize canned vegetables or fruit. The temperature at level 2 is around 120 degrees Celsius.
  • When the temperature and pressure level has been reached, you will usually also hear a slight hissing noise. Now the valve on the lid will start to open to release excess steam. If there is a large additional supply of energy, a lot of steam sometimes escapes.
  • Now the actual cooking time of your dish begins. You should throttle the energy supply or interrupt it completely now at the latest.
  • The more experience you have with your saucepan and the features of your stove, the more precisely you will find out whether you can turn the temperature down before it reaches boiling point. It varies quite a bit from pot to pot and stove to stove.

Finally, reduce the pressure wisely

For an optimal result, especially with vegetables and fish, it is important to set the cooking time exactly and then lower the temperature in the pot as quickly as possible. Meat, on the other hand, is usually forgiving if the cooking time is a little overdone. After the estimated cooking time has elapsed, reduce the pressure in the pot.

  • Move the slider in the “Open valve” direction. Attention: Sometimes a lot of hot steam escapes suddenly. Always make sure that no one is standing in “steam direction”.
  • Remember: If the steam hits your skin directly, you risk severe scalding. The outside of the pot also gets very hot. Therefore, always use the panhandles to operate the pan.
  • Do this until no more steam comes out and the pressure gauge has completely lowered. You should never use this method with foamy and viscous food.
  • You can quickly lower the pressure and temperature in the pot by first removing it from the heat and running it under cold water. Be careful not to let water get into the handle or valves.
  • Alternatively, you can simply wait until the pressure and temperature drop without adding any more heat. During this time, however, the content is still cooking a little.
  • After the pressure is gone, release the latch on the lid handle. Now you can safely open the lid and examine your foot.
  • After use, you should wash the lid carefully by hand and carefully clean the valves and the sealing ring again.

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