Pressure cookers have been around for a long time, it gets very popular lately, it is one of the best selling item in 2017! Pressure cookers not only can dramatically reduce cooking time, but they also can preserve all the nutrients from the food, which made food tastier. Pressure Cooker becomes a healthy choice of cooking method.
There are so many brands and models in the market, how do you choose the best pressure cooker for your family?
How does a pressure cooker cook faster?
In an ordinary, non-pressurized cooking vessel, the boiling point of water is 100 °C (212 °F) at standard pressure; the temperature of food is limited by the boiling point of water because excess heat causes boiling water to vaporize into steam. In a sealed pressure cooker, the boiling point of water increases as the pressure rises, resulting in superheated water. At a pressure of 1 bar or approximately 15 psi (pounds per square inch) above the existing atmospheric pressure, water in a pressure cooker will reach a temperature of 121 °C (250 °F). The boiling temperature of water (and water-based liquids) is determined by the ambient atmospheric pressure. Pressure cookers always require liquid in order to cook food under pressure. Inside a pressure cooker, once the water (liquid) is boiling and the steam is trapped, the pressure from the steam increases and pushes on the liquid, which increases its boiling temperature. The heat applied to the liquid by the heat source continues to create more steam pressure, and increases the temperature of the liquid. Both the liquid and steam are at the same temperature. Once the selected pressure level is reached, the pressure regulator on the lid releases any excess steam, and the heat can be lowered to maintain the pressure and save energy, since the pressure will increase no further.
As a general rule, increasing the temperature of chemical reactions by 10 degrees doubles the rate of reaction. Thus a pressure cooker, which can maintain an internal temperature of 120 °C (248 °F), can complete the cooking four times faster than ordinary boiling.
Because of a much higher heat capacity, steam and liquids transfer heat more rapidly than air. For example, the hot air inside an oven at 200 °C (392 °F) will not immediately burn your skin, but the steam from a boiling kettle at 100 °C (212 °F) will scald skin almost instantly and feel hotter, despite the steam (and water) in the kettle being at a lower temperature than the air inside a hot oven. Thus the internal temperature of material in a pressure cooker will rise to the desired value much more quickly than if it were in an oven. (source: wiki)
This is a great video visually explain how does a pressure cooker work.
How many types of pressure cookers?
There are two types of pressure cookers
- Traditional pressure cooker
- Electric pressure cooker
Traditional Pressure Cooker Pros and Cons
Price. Traditional pressure cookers are usually cheaper, for example, this Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker is less than $44.
Product Material. Electric pressure cooker liner are aluminum with nonstick coating, but the traditional pressure cooker usually use stainless steel, stainless steel is strong, it handles high pressure and easy to wash.
High Capacity. An electric pressure cooker appears to have small capacity, but traditional pressure cookers are usually larger The importance of large capacity is not only to accommodate more food, but also a safety guarantee, because the deeper the pot, the less chance to clog the vent.
Easy to Clean. The mechanism of the traditional pressure cooker is very simple, so the washing is very convenient. However, the design of electric pressure cooker evolved from the rice cooker, you want to clean it thoroughly, you need to spend more time and effort.
Not Easy to Use. Comparing to electric pressure cookers, traditional pressure cookers are not as easy (and friendly) to use, I will explain more later.
Safety. Traditional pressure cookers always have safety concerns, but overall, it is still safe to use, if you keep monitoring the cooking progress.
Electric Pressure Cooker Pros and Cons
Safer to Use. Electric pressure cookers are safe and reliable due to the introduction of the computer system, the pressure inside the pot has been monitored, once the pressure is too high, the computer will immediately cut the power and pressure will effectively go down to prevent the risk of accident. At the same time as the electric pressure cooker has introduced a dynamic seal, the outer cap and other new technologies, which eliminated the traditional pressure cooker hidden dangers.
Easy to Use. The use of traditional pressure cookers steps are more complicated,when the food is ready, you need to wait until deflated balance of pressure inside and outside the pot in order to open it safely, you can not cook food unattended, this mean you have to spend more time watching the cooking process. The electric pressure cooker has this convenient advantage, like the rice cooker, you can just set it and do something else without monitoring the process.
Saving Time and Energy. Electric pressure cookers greatly enhance the heating efficiency, the pot temperature is generally more than 100 °C (212 °F), cooking rice only takes about 10 minutes.
Cleaning, As a result of a fully sealed design, electric pressure cookers are usually harder to clean. Capacity. As mentioned above, electric pressure cookers are usually smaller than traditional pressure cookers.
The Pressure Cooker Buying Guide
Like the rice cookers, electric pressure cooker capacity is also divided into many kinds based on the different number of members in the family. In general, 6 Quart is enough for most family. Electric pressure cooker on the market mainly uses two kinds of liner, coating liner and stainless steel liner, I would suggest to use the stainless steel pots, as it is stronger and easier to clean. Electric pressure cooker heating efficiency is determined by power, the greater the power of natural heating the quicker it heats. Nowadays the pressure cooker has the power range from 800W, 800-900w, 901-1000w, 1000w above several levels. In general, 800w is enough, as higher power consume more electricity.
Best Selling Pressure Cookers
1. Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker
This is one of the most popular electric pressure cooker, it is the best selling item in amazon in 2017. This pot is 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer! You can cook dry beans in less than one hour.
- Duo, the number 1 selling multi-cooker, combines 7 kitchen appliances in 1, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer, prepares dishes up to 70% faster to support your busy lifestyle
- Features 14 Smart Programs - Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté/Simmer, Rice, Multigrain, Porridge, Steam, Slow Cook, Keep Warm, Yogurt, Manual, and Pressure Cook. Now, your favorite dishes are as easy as pressing a button
- Healthy, stainless steel (18/8) inner cooking pot made from food grade 304, no chemical coating, 3-ply bottom for even heat distribution, fully sealed environment traps the flavours, nutrients and aromas within the food
- Built with the latest technology, the microprocessor monitors pressure, temperature, keeps time, and adjusts heating intensity and duration to achieve your desired results every time
- UL and ULC certified with 10 safety mechanisms to provide you with added assurance, designed to eliminate many common errors
- Accessories include, stainless steel steam rack with handles, rice paddle, soup spoon, measuring cup, condensation collector and recipe booklet. To maximize performance of cooker only use genuine Instant Pot accessories
2. Presto 01370 8-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
- Chicken, fish, meat, and vegetables cook to perfection in minutes. Quickly cooks and tenderizes economical cuts of meat.
- Stainless steel construction with a special tri-clad base for fast, uniform heating. Ideal for use on regular and smooth top ranges.
- Pressure regulator maintains proper cooking pressure automatically. Pressure regulator/steam release valve offers an effortless "quick cool" option.
- Cover lock indicator shows at a glance when there is pressure inside the cooker and prevents the cover from beig opened until pressure is safely reduced.
- Stainless steel steaming basket for cooking several foods at once with no intermingling of flavors. Includes a 64-page instruction/recipe book.
3. Breville BPR700BSS The Fast Slow Pro, 6 Quart, Silver
It's all possible with the Breville Fast Slow Pro, a multi-cooker with pressure and slow cook menus that automatically adjust time, temperature and pressure between fast and slow cooking. Dual sensors at the top and bottom monitor ingredients for more accurate temperature and pressure control, while the hands free steam release automatically varies across foods to maximize flavor and texture.
So now you can pressure cook, slow cook, steam, reduce, saute and sear with the press of a button.
- Color changing LCD tells you when the cooker is pressurizing, cooking or releasing steam, 4.5 quart (MAX) - 1 quart (MIN) capacity
- 3-Way Safety System-safety locking lid, automatic hands-free steam release, safety valve
- 11 pressure cook settings plus a custom setting to suit your favorite recipes
- Keep Warm function turns on after cooking so food is ready to serve when you are
- Removable cooking bowl with PTFE and PFOA free ceramic coating
4. Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker
- Chicken, fish, meat, and vegetables cook to perfection fast; Helps tenderize economical cuts of meat
- Pressure regulator maintains the proper cooking pressure automatically; Complete 64-page instruction/recipe book included
- Ideal for use on regular, smooth-top and induction ranges; Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. Care and Cleaning: Hand Wash Only
- Cover lock indicator shows when there is pressure inside the cooker and prevents the cover from being opened until pressure is safely reduced
- Helper handle for ease of handling; Extended 12-year limited warranty
Over all, it seems the electric pressure cookers are the better choice for modem families, it is easy to use, most importantly, it is much safer. however, many people complained the food cooked from electric pressure cookers taste not as good as the traditional pressure cookers. If you are busy professional, I would recommend the electric pressure cooker, however, if you are food lover and enjoy cooking, traditional pressure cooker is better choice for you. Enjoy!