The idea of pressure cooking can be very scary to the uninitiated. However, once they experience the taste factor, they will be convinced that pressure cooking is the way to go. Wondering why they never experimented with this type of cooking in the past, those who do pressure cook will find all kinds of foods that can be cooked to perfection using that precious tool. However, how do you choose which pressure cooker will suit your needs? The answers are relatively simple, in that your needs are the first priority.
From a 16 quart king sized pressure cooker, down to a 4 quart one, the size matters. You need to look at how much food you need to prepare, and what your use of the cooker will be. The 16 quart is more of a catering size for a very large gathering, but if you choose somewhere between those two sizes for an average family, you won’t go too far wrong. The 8 quart is a good size for a family with kids, while the 4 quart would be suited to a single person who enjoys cooking for themselves.
The materials with which the pressure cooker is made
This is personal preference, although the choices of brushed steel, shiny steel or even futuristic black are out there. Think about how that pressure cooker fits with your style, because when it boils down to it, it doesn’t matter, as long as the base is sufficiently heavy to take the heat.
Things to look out for
When buying a pressure cooker, find out if you can buy spares. If the seal goes on a pressure cooker, you need to know that these are available for you to buy. With many modern pressure cookers, these are multi function, but that also means that there are multiple things which can go wrong. Are the instructions sufficiently clear? How robust is the build? Can it stand up to the type of uses that you will give it? It’s worthwhile looking for the multi function pressure cooker if you have limited workspace. These act as a pressure cooker, a slow cooker and a rice cooker, and if you have the need for all three, the combination may just be perfect. A free standing item, the Fagor pressure cooker combination also has the added advantage of being worktop based, so won’t take up valuable space on your stove top.
Do you want an old fashioned pressure cooker without all the bells and whistles or one which can be programmed? It’s important to know the difference. If you are experienced with pressure cooking then the ones which are not programmed will live up to your experience because you already have a grounding in the use of a pressure cooker. The pressure gauge at the top of the All American pressure cooker is something which may need replacing at a later date, so make sure that parts are available. The alternative, for the less initiated is a programmable pressure cooker where you leave the timer to do the worrying. Again, the programmable pressure cookers are free-standing and you won’t have to worry about the bottom of the pan getting burnt or tarnished, since this is usually in a rigid plastic format, such as that on the Nesco make.
For about the same money as a good quality pressure cooker, cooker combinations which have extra pans, transparent tops and steaming basket may be a good idea. These come from Fagor and the first thing that you notice upon accessing the web page is that spare gaskets are available. This is so important with a pressure cooker that it’s wise to avoid obscure makes which don’t offer the same accessibility to spares.
Look at the price you can afford. If you can only afford the basic, it’s worthwhile waiting to buy a good quality pressure cooker because of all the options it opens up. For example, rice cooked in one of these is wonderfully fluffy, and you still have the availability of pressure cooking for other dishes. Look to see which offer you the most options within your own level of expertise. For example, if you have never used a pressure cooker before, the basic standard type may not be enough to persuade you of their benefits. Go for a good make and one which offers alternatives such as slow cooking, because even if the pressure cooking side of things scares you, you can revert to other methods of cooking with the same pot, thus eliminating the chance of wasting your money. The traditional styles are scary. The steam that is released at the top of the pressure cooker often puts people off using them, but it’s a great shame, because the advantages of fast cooking are missed by those who don’t persevere. Food tastes fresher and retains its flavor. It is more economical to cook and is easier than you may think.
In the basic range, the two handled variety is very useful for those that have never used a pressure cooker. The seal is secure. It’s easy to separate the parts and they are of sturdy build, but whatever make you choose, check to see if spares are available and if they conform to safety standards.
Lastly, look at the guarantee. A manufacturer who makes something of quality is always prepared to put their money where their mouth is, and offer a consumer a guarantee which gives them some assurance that the goods are of quality. Look what it covers. Add to that the knowledge that spares and after sales service are available and you may just have narrowed that choice down to the best pressure cooker you can buy, within your given price range. Once you start using it, you won’t regret the change, and will begin to see the benefits of pressure cooking as against traditional cooking.