Cookware & Cutlery

How to use a Pressure Cooker Safely

How to use a Pressure Cooker Safely

A pressure cooker is a wonderful cooking aid which every kitchen must have, but if not handled well it can also be the most dangerous kitchen equipment in your home.

A pressure cooker can be used to prepare different types of meals within minutes and it will save you lots of time and lower your energy consumption when preparing your meals.

There are so many advantages of using a pressure cooker such as reduced cooking time, better retention of minerals and vitamins etc.

If you are using a pressure cooker to cook, it is important for you to know how to use it safely in the following ways.

Soak the food which takes long to cook

If you are preparing food which takes long to cook such as lentils or dry peas, it is advisable for you to first of all soak such food before cooking it in the pressure cooker.

This will help with reducing the amount of time needed to cook the food and also lower the amount of energy needed to cook the food. Place the food to be cooked inside the pressure cooker and add a small amount of water before covering the pressure cooker.

Take off the safety valve and close the lid of the pressure cooker

After you have finished closing the lid of the pressure cooker properly, you can put the pressure cooker on a cooking stove and wait for the food to get ready.

When the food starts to boil, the water will be converted to steam which you will you see coming out of from the nozzle. When this happens, place the safety valve on the nozzle.  

Once the pressure starts to rise up you will hear a hissing or whistling sound coming from the nozzle, when this happens reduce the heat to the lowest level so that the food continues to simmer and the pressure cooker is not making a hissing or whistling sound.

The purpose of the safety valve is to prevent any possible rupture of the pressure cooker. You should take note of the fact that; water boils at 100 degrees Celsius whereas in a pressure cooker water boils at 121 degrees Celsius.

The high temperature will cause the food to cook much faster than if you were cooking your food in a saucepan. You should endeavor to read the manual or instruction booklet of the pressure cooker before you use it.

Most pressure cookers have manuals and cooking instructions booklets which will show you how to assemble and operate the pressure cooker.

Also included in the manual, is information on the various cooking times recommended for different types of food which you can cook using the pressure cooker.

When your food is ready, turn off the cooking stove and wait for the pressure cooker to cool before you can remove the lid. If you open the pressure cooker immediately you risk getting burnt by steam coming from the pressure cooker.

Lift the safety valve to check if there is any steam still coming out of the pressure cooker. If there is steam escaping through the nozzle then you have to wait before you open the lid.

Gently remove the lid by turning it as recommended make sure that you lift the lid away from your face to avoid getting burnt by steam. Put your cooked food into a bowl.

 You should never try to force the lid open if you suspect that there is still some steam trapped inside the pressure cooker. You should lift the pressure regulator to release any steam still trapped inside before you can safely remove the lid.

Tips and advice

If you are cooking vegetables in a pressure cooker make sure that you don’t overcook them or else you will end up with mushy overcooked vegetables.  The moment you hear the hissing or whistling sound when cooking using a pressure cooker, this should be an indication to you that your food is ready. Use a pressure cooker to cook food which takes much longer to cook such as beef, red kidney beans, lentils etc.  Reduce your energy bill by cutting your cooking time by half when you use a pressure cooker to cook your food.  Follow the manufacturer’s manual before using a pressure cooker and make that you have fully understood how to operate it.