In this article, we are going to talk about the piece of kitchen equipment which is dreaded by all. Yes, you guessed it right, we are going to discuss the working of a pressure cooker. This article is going to bust all your preconceived ideas about how a pressure cooker is not as bad as people make it out to be.
Let’s talk about all the dos and don’ts of cooking with a pressure cooker, along with the most often asked question which is whether or not you should stop a pressure cooker early.
It can be a really handy kitchen appliance if used properly and with caution. Keep on reading to find out how you can make use of pressure cooking without having to burn the house down.
Can you stop a pressure cooker early?
Yes, you can stop a pressure cooker early. Turn it off first, then release the pressure before you open it. Make sure that all the pressure has been released before taking the lid off, otherwise, it could be dangerous to do so.
Although most modern pressure cookers are built in a way that makes it impossible to open the cooker while there’s pressure building up inside. Still, you should never attempt to open it while it’s in use.
What happens if you open a pressure cooker too soon?
If you open a pressure cooker before time, the liquid that is under pressure within the cooker gets depressurized suddenly. This makes the gases and steam contained within the liquid expand rapidly, which can eventually result in the explosion of the contents of the pressure cooker when the lid is removed.
This can be harmful to any individuals who are near the cooker and can also create a huge mess which could be arduous to clean.
Can I pause my pressure cooker?
Most modern pressure cookers, including the instant pot, have a “Keep warm/ Cancel” button. Pressing this button will pause or turn off your pressure cooker or instant pot.
When should I turn my pressure cooker off?
Turn off the pressure cooker once your food has cooked for the specified amount of time stated in the recipe. Most modern pressure cookers beep once the food has been cooked. If you turn your pressure cooker off late, the food will overcook and end up getting mushy.
What happens if a pressure cooker runs out of water?
If you use less than the specified water or if the water runs out, the pressure cooker will stop working. It will give an error message and eventually turn off. In the worst-case scenario, it might even explode.
This is because water is what generates the pressure within the cooker, which eventually cooks food faster. Water or stock within the tightly sealed pressure chamber is heated and turns into steam. If there isn’t any liquid left, the pressure cooker won’t work.
You should always follow the recipe’s instructions as to how much water should go in the pressure cooker.
How do you depressurize a pressure cooker?
In order to open a pressure cooker safely, you need to know how to depressurize a pressure cooker. Here are some of the methods to do it:
The Natural Release Method
This is the safest method to open up your pressure cooker.
STEP 1: Remove the cooker from the stove and allow the pressure to drop to a safe level gradually. It could take approximately 10 to 15 minutes (or longer) for the pressure to drop.
STEP 2: After that, open the lid. However, it is important to note that if the lid is offering any resistance while you’re trying to remove it, stop what you are doing and let the cooling process continue a bit longer.
Recent models have a built-in feature that gives you a visual indicator that the pressure has dropped to a safe level and that you can open up the pressure cooker.
Use this method for…
This method is ideal for rice, legumes, pasta, and other foods that create foam while cooking. Moreover, the natural release method helps improve the tenderness of pressurized meat as the pressure stays within the pot for a while before getting released.
Do not use this method for…
This is not the recommended method to use for foods that have a short cooking time as they could overcook and get mushy.
Depressurizing with Quick Release using Cold Water (only for stovetop models)
This is the quickest way to depressurize a pressure cooker. However, read the instruction manual to ensure that the manufacturer approves the use of cold water over the cooker.
STEP 1: Simply put the stovetop pressure cooker under running cold tap water, ensuring that the valves or vents are not in direct contact with the cold water.
STEP 2: This super quick method will only take about 20 seconds.
Use this method for…
Foods with shorter cooking times can be depressurized using this quick-release cold water method!
Do not use this method for…
Never use this method on an electric pressure cooker.
The Normal Release Method
This is also known as the Manual/ Normal /Regular/Automatic Release Method. This method involves the fast release of steam by;
STEP 1: Lift or remove the valve, push a button, or turn the dial to quickly release the built-up vapors inside the pressure cooker.
Use this method for…
This method is great if you need to add something to the cooker in the middle of the cooking process. For example, when you add vegetables to the cooker after letting the meat pressure cook for a while when making a stew.
How long does it generally take for a pressure cooker to depressurize?
The quick pressure release method takes up to 2 minutes. The cold water method takes only about 20 seconds. And the natural pressure release method takes 20 minutes or more based on the food and the amount of liquid in the cooker.
How do I quick release a pressure cooker?
Here’s a step-by-step guide to quick release a pressure cooker safely:
- First, wait for the cooking cycle to end.
- Turn the venting knob from sealing to a venting position, which will release steam quickly. For your safety, use an oven or silicone mitt to do this.
- Keep the venting knob open and make sure the steam has stopped flowing out.
- Ensure that the floating valve has dropped before you open the lid.
How do I know when a quick release is done?
When you see or hear the float valve or metal pin drop down, that is when you will know that the quick pressure release is done.
Can a pressure cooker explode?
There are minor injuries associated with the use of a pressure cooker, such as steam burns and splashed/ spilled hot liquids, and in very extreme cases, an explosion. However, if you use your pressure cooker properly and follow proper depressurizing methods, you can prevent that from happening.
Can you leave a pressure cooker unattended?
Even though modern pressure cookers such as the instant pot don’t need any assistance while cooking, it is still not advisable to leave a pressure cooker unattended. You can prevent any serious mishaps from happening if you keep watch on the pressure cooker.
Here’s a video detailing the use of a pressure cooker!
Concluding my thoughts on handling and stopping the pressure cooker early!
We hope that you feel better about working with a pressure cooker by the end of this article. Stopping the pressure cooker early, depressurizing it, or leaving it cooking, everything needs to be done according to proper methods in order to stay safe. From now on, remember the do’s and don’ts of a pressure cooker, and you will come to realize that a pressure cooker is actually one of the best kitchen equipment you can own.