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Pressure cooking tips

Are you one of those busy cooks who have to produce a healthy meal in no time at all?

No need to cook under pressure. pressure cook instead. A pressure cooker is the tool of choice for being lazy in the kitchen, as everything goes into one pot , and yet get a great meal out. Unbeatable for fibrous or though food, the kind that requires to cook for long periods and great to make custards and creamy puddings because of its moist interior.

Pressure cooking tips anyone can use

Follow the Instructions: When using a pressure cooker, be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions, especially those regarding cooking times. One minute can change the results dramatically when pressure cooking.

Use a timer: Especially for foods that need a very short time under pressure.

Spice little: Fall on the thrifty side with spices and condiments because cooking in a tightly closed pan enhances aromas and flavors.

Less liquid: Add less liquid than you usually would as the steam does not escape the pan. Remember most pressure cookers require a minimum amount of liquid -usually 1 cup- to work.

Liquid for vegetables: To cook vegetables in the pressure cooker add 1 cup water per 2 lb vegetables.

Browning: If your recipe needs it, brown meat in the cooker, lid off, before adding the liquid.

Pressure canning: Pressure cooking sterilizes home made preserves. Your ordinary can be used for that purpose if canning small amounts.

Takes time: Although actual cooking time is much shorter than an ordinary pan. The pressure cooker needs to heat up and cool down. If filled with cold water, the pressure cooker on high heat will take about 15 minutes to begin generating steam. Count other 25-25 minutes to be able to open it using the slow method. Times may vary depending on size.

About cooking time: Start counting when the cooker whistles or hisses, or the top jiggles or the ring -in the case of cookers with stationary pressure regulators- comes on sight.

Never full: Never fill the cooker more than two-thirds full or the food may block the vent when boiling and with some foods that foam in excess or swell, maybe just one half.

Wipe the rim clean: If there are spills on the rim, wipe them before attaching the lid. The food may break the seal -no tight seal, no pressure.

Clean the vent each time: Remove any food from the vent area after each use, clean it every time to prevent clogging. If the vent is blocked, the pressure could build in excess -it may reach dangerous levels.

Don't forget the rubber gasket: Wash under cold running water -the rubber will contract and last longer. The rule of the thumb is to replace the gasket every year; but check frequently and replace earlier if there are cracks. If in an emergency, wiping the gasket with vegetable oil may seal it temporarily.

Release the steam before opening: Attempting to open the cooker when there is still pressure may make the liquid to "jump" out and the hot very liquid will cause severe burns on any skin that comes into contact.

Store opened: Don't store the pressure cooker with the lid on. I t will not smell very sweet next time you need to use it.

What not to pressure cook: Food that foams to excess such as pasta, split peas, oatmeal or rhubarb. Use traditional methods for delicate food or food that requires very short cooking time.

Let off steam faster: To release steam faster, place the pressure cooker on a damp cloth and run water on top of the lid, don't touch the vent.

Always pressure-cook meat or poultry with at least 1/2 cup of liquid (water, stock, etc.) in the bottom of the pressure cooker. Some pressure cookers may require more than 1/2 cup, so check your pressure cooker's instruction manual. If cooking time is between 5 and 10 minutes, use 1 cup of liquid. If cooking time is between 10 and 45 minutes, use 2 cups of liquid. Preserved or salted meats should be completely immersed in water.

Exact cooking times for meat and poultry vary according to the quality and quantity of meat or poultry being cooked. The denser the cut, the longer the cooking time should be.

For maximum flavor brown your meat or poultry on all sides in the pressure cooker. Use a vegetable oil, such as canola, before locking the lid to avoid burning and sticking.