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What’s the Best Pressure Cooker – Finding Your Pressure Cooker

As you look for your pressure cooker, you are going to be confronted with a large quantity of choices. So, what’s the best pressure cooker for you? It will be the one that fits your needs the best. Here at Ron’s Appliances, our goal is to help you find the right pressure or multi cooker that will fit your budget and needs.

How Did Pressure Cookers Get Their Start?

Thru the years pressure cookers have evolved, since the origins of pressure cookers goes back to 1679 when French physicist Dens Papin invented the steam digester in an attempt to reduce the cooking time of food.

In 1864 manufacturing of pressure cookers began in Stuttgart Germany.

In 1918, Spain granted the first patent for a pressure cooker and it was named the “express cooking pot”, and in 1924 the first pressure-cooking pot recipe book was published.

in 1938 Alfred Vischer presented his invention, The Flex-Seal Speed Cooker, in New York City. Vischer’s pressure cooker was the first designed for home use, and its success led to competition among American and European manufacturers.

What Types of Pressure Cookers are There?

As you can see, pressure cookers have been evolving since manufacturing on them began in 1864. So let’s look at how far they generations of them have evolved.

First Generation

Also known as “old type” pressure cookers, these operate with weight-modified or “jiggler” valves, which release pressure during cooking. Some people consider them loud because the valve rattles as excess steam is released. Older pressure cookers typically offered only one pressure level, but from the 1960s onward some allowed the cook to change the weight of the valve, thus changing the pressure.

Today, most pressure cookers are variations on first-generation cookers, with the addition of new safety features that prevent the cooker from being opened until it is entirely depressurized.

Second Generation

These operate with a spring-loaded valve that is often hidden from view in a proprietary mechanism. This type is characterized by two or more pressure settings. Some of these pressure cookers do not release any steam during operation (non-venting) and instead use a rising indicator with markings to show the pressure level. These only release steam when the pan is opened, or as a safety precaution if the heat source is not reduced when the pan reaches the required cooking pressure.

Third Generation “Electric Pressure Cookers”

After the stove-top pressure cookers. In 1991 came the electric pressure cookers, called the “third generation” pressure cookers

These included an electric heat source that automatically regulated to maintain operating pressure. They also include the spring-loaded valve described in the generation two cookers. This type of pressure cooker cannot be opened with a cold water quick-release method and should be operated with caution when releasing vapor through the valve, especially while cooking foamy foods and liquids (lentils, beans, grains, milk, gravy, etc.)

An electric pressure cooker integrates a timer. Depending on cooking control capability, there are three generations of electric pressure cookers:

  • First-Generation Electric, with mechanical timer. There is no delayed cooking capability.
  • Second-Generation Electric, with digital controller. Delayed cooking becomes possible and the controller shows a countdown timer when working pressure is reached.
  • Third-Generation Electric, with smart programming, which includes preset cooking times and settings based on heating intensity, temperature, pressure and duration.

Some cookers are multi functional (multi cookers): pressure cooker, saute/browning, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sous vide and stockpot warmer that can also be used to keep cooked food warm.

What Are The Advantages of Pressure Cooking?

Foods cook much faster with pressure-cooking than with other methods (except for small quantities in microwave ovens).

Pressure cooking requires much less eater than conventional boiling, so food can be ready sooner. Less energy is required than boiling, steaming, or oven cooking. Since less water or liquid has to be heated, the food reaches its cooking temperature faster. Pressure cookers can use much less liquid than the amount required for boiling or steaming in an ordinary saucepan.

In pressure-cooking it is not necessary to immerse the food in water or liquid. The minimum quantity of liquid used in the recipe to keep the pressure cooker filled with steam is sufficient.

Pressure cooking does a good job of not leaching vitamins and minerals out of the cooked food due to the smaller amounts of liquids involved in the cooking process. This is in contrast to the large amounts of water that would be used if boiling the food.

Several foods can be cooked together in a pressure cooker, either at the same time or added later for different times. Manufacturers provide steamer baskets to allow more foods to be cooked together inside the pressure cooker.

Food is cooked more quickly in a pressure cooker because at the higher pressure 91 bar/15 psi), the boiling of water rises from 100 degrees C (212 degrees F) to 121 degrees C (250 degrees F). The hotter steam is able to transmit thermal energy 4 times as fast as conventional boiling.

What Are The Disadvantages of Pressure Cooking?

  • Pressure cookers are more expensive than conventional saucepans of the same size.
  • Gasket issues:
  • The additional gasket (sealing ring) requires special care when cleaning. Food debris must be cleaned from the gasket after each use.
  • The gasket/sealing ring needs to be replaced once a year or sooner if damaged.
  • A very dry gasket can make it difficult or impossible to close the lid. Smearing the gasket with vegetable oil can help.
  • A gasket that has lost its flexibility makes bringing the cooker up to pressure difficult.
  • Pressure cooker manufacturers sell replacement gaskets and recommend their replacement at regular intervals.
  • If the pressure cooker has not been used for a long time, the gasket and other rubber or silicone parts will dry out and will likely need replacing.
  • Cooking Issues:
  • In order to inspect food, the pressure cooker needs to be opened, which halts the cooking process.
  • A minimum quantity of liquid is required to create and maintain pressure, as indicated in the manufacturer’s instruction manual. More liquid is required for longer cooking times.

Now’s the Time to Decide on the Pressure Cooker for Me

What’s the best pressure cooker for me? Based on the information you have gleaned from this article, you should now be well-informed of the type of pressure cooker you may want. You should now know the advantages and disadvantages of pressure-cooking. You should now be able to ultimately choose the pressure cooker that will fit your needs.

If you have any questions or comments, please respond below.

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for insightful review. We recently got an Insta-Pot, which I learned from here is a third generation pressure cooker. I’m not great at using it yet, but hope to learn to make really good ribs in it.

  2. A few years ago my husband bought me an Instant Pot. I love it!! You can cook mac & cheese in like 6 minutes!! 🙂 You can make a variety of different meals from breakfast to dinner and even snacks.
    I have also made several cheesecakes with it.. This appliance is a must-have for every kitchen…

  3. I’m not a young woman myself but I have personally never used a pressure cooker. Our household did not own one when I was growing up but some friend’s Mums used them. They (The Cookers), of course, fell into the first and second category style pressure cookers. They always looked terrifying!

    When I got to an age where I was responsible for purchasing my own kitchen goodies a pressure cooker was never on my list. However recently I have realised the benefits of cooking with a pressure cooker and the third generation don’t have that valve that I think was the source of my fear.

    A pressure cooker may work it’s way on to my wishlist.

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