Pressure Cookers: History, Myths and Common Mistakes

If you are thinking about using a pressure cooker, you need to read this article. People have been using a pressure cooker for the longest time. It is in every chef, cook and housewives’ approved kitchen gadgets. But it is not the safest kitchen tools if you don’t know how to use it. Most early stories include an explosion in the kitchen and braised beef stuck all over your wall and ceiling. Most people who use a pressure cooker in the past will not allow their kids near because back then, the pot doesn’t have the best safety precautions among all kitchen gadgets. You have to convince people that it is not dangerous if you know how to use it. It is until recently that people realize that pressure cookers are very important if they want to save time and energy for cooking. If you see the latest models of pressure cookers, you will realize that it comes a long way since those dangerous pressure pots in the 60s and 70s. If you are looking for a cooking gadget that can save you time and energy, and helps you cook delicious and nutritious food, you need to have a pressure cooker in your arsenal.

What is a pressure cooker?

According to google.com, the pressure cooker is a sealed pot where food can be cooked quickly using pressurized steam. The lid of the container is lined by a rubber gasket to avoid steam escaping the pot. It will result to increase pressure and increase in temperature that leads to quick cook time.

Who invented the pressure cooker?

A French Physicist Denis Papin invented the first pressure cooker in 1679. He called it “The Digester.” People at that time treated it more of a scientific study rather than an invention. He created the pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time by using pressurized steam in an airtight pot. People have doubts about whether it is safe to use or not, and Papin died without seeing his invention go mainstream.

How does it work?

It is a simplified version of how the pressure cooker works. Pressure cooking has three components, the pressure cooker, fire, and the liquid. When you braise, boil or steam food, you need these three components. When you put the ingredients in the pot, you put liquid. You can use any liquid that you want – water, wine, fruit and vegetable juice, or beer. Because of the sealed lid of the cooker, steam will be trapped in the pot and creates pressurized steam that increases the temperature inside. Because of increased heat, food cooks quicker. The temperature of the pressurized steam inside the pot will go from 210 degrees Fahrenheit to 260-degree Fahrenheit in just minutes. That cuts the cooking time by at least 30% compared to traditional cooking. When using a pressure cooker, make sure to know all the safety precautions. Before opening the lid of the pot, make sure that all the pressurized steam was released because if you open it without letting the steam off, chances are the water inside will explode due to increased pressure. Most cookers can reach up to 14 pounds per square inch of pressure. That’s 15 times heavier compared to pressure at sea level.

(To know more about the thermodynamics behind pressure cookers, visit https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/231879/how-does-pressure-cooker-work.)

Why use it?

There are three reasons why you need to use the pressure cooker: It saves time, nutrients and energy.

Time: Pressure cooking uses pressurized steam that increases the temperature of the ingredients inside the pot. With the increase in temperature, it cooks the food much faster that will save you cooking time at least 30%.

Energy: Since you cook your food faster, you will also save energy in the process. According to studies, using a pressure cooker can save up to 50% of energy.

Nutrients: Most people thought that if you cook food at high temperature, you kill the nutrients of the ingredients. But you’ll be surprised to find out that it’s the other way around. According to the study conducted by Nestle in 2006, foods that are cooked using pressure cookers lost only 5 to 10% of its nutrients compared to 35 to 60% when they are boiled or 10 to 25% when they are steamed. Pressure cooking is very healthy. Nutrients are retained, and the food is cooked faster. Some say that the nutrients that are lost from the food when using pressure cooker will eventually end up in the liquid, so you have to make sure that you use the liquid as a sauce or soup.