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Gadget that’s all the rage

January 22, 2019
Amanda Bohlen , MOV Parent

Pressure-cooking is a food preparation method that uses trapped steam. The food is sealed inside of a vessel with liquid, heat is used to create steam and this increases pressure inside the vessel. The appliance traps or releases steam to control the level of pressure within the unit. With the added pressure, the boiling point rises and allows the food to cook faster at a higher temperature. Pressure-cooking retains the flavor and nutrients of your food while saving you energy in the process. Pressure-cooking is not a new technique and has been around for over 350 years. Home pressure-cooking became popular in 1938 when it debuted at a Trade Show in New York.

Electric pressure cookers have increased in popularity over the last several years. Did you find yourself with one of these as a Christmas present? Intimidated by the appliance and don't know where to start? Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin to use your electric pressure-cooker.

Use 1/2 to 1 cup liquid in the inner pot when pressure-cooking. When you pressure cook you need to have at least 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid in the inner pot. The liquid is needed to pressurize the unit. Too much liquid will cause the unit to take longer to get up to pressure and to release the pressure when cooking is finished.

Use multiple buttons in a cooking session. Cooking for the whole meal can be done in the same inner pot. You can use the Saute button to brown the meat or cook onions or garlic. Then, add your ingredients and set to pressure cook. Once it's done, use the Keep Warm button to keep the food warm until the whole family is ready to eat.

Add about 10-20 minutes to listed cooking time. When you are pressure cooking the unit takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure. Therefore, if your recipe calls for 30 minutes at High Pressure cooking time, then your total time will be 40 minutes. You may even need to add time to the end of cooking to de-pressurize the unit. Depending on the unit and the item you are cooking, de-pressurizing could take anywhere from 5-20 additional minutes.

Perform regular safety checks. The lid of the pressure cooker contains a silicone-sealing ring and it can deform over time. It is recommended to replace the sealing ring every 18-24 months or when you notice cracks or other deformations. Don't forget to check your vents to make sure they are clean and clear of food clogs.

Amanda Bohlen is the family and consumer science educator for The Ohio State University Extension in Washington County.



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