9 Tips for Pressure Cookers
Modern pressure cookers have revolutionized our cooking! Forgot to pull the meat out of the freezer until 5:15? No problem. Have a really tough cut of meat but don’t want to wait 6-8 hours while it’s in the slow cooker? No problem. They have so many great features that I don’t see how anyone can live without one in their kitchen anymore. If you are new to the world of pressure cooking I have 8 great tips for you to get you started. Happy cooking!
Important Tips for Pressure Cookers
Read the directions- duh, right? But if you are like me then you probably toss your instruction books into a drawer without much of a glance. While today’s pressure cookers are far safer than the ones your grandmother used it is still a good idea to give them at least a review of basic instructions. No matter what recipe you may find on a site like mine or another one each brand of pressure cooker slightly varies in cooking instructions and it is always best to review it.
Try a practice run- Run a practice batch by running a cycle with the recommended amount of liquid in the form of water, for your run you can pour in 3 cups of water. Practice inserting the steamer basket or other accessories. Familiarize yourself with how it seals, and which buttons do what function (See tip #1). Research the various pressure release methods and give them a try, open the lid away from you even after releasing pressure.
Do not overfill- Items that expand when cooked like oatmeal, rice, beans etc… should never fill more than half of your cooker. Otherwise, you will have an overflow on your hands and that is one thing you don’t want for sure!
Inspect the sealing ring- Every Time you use your pressure cooker, even if it was just yesterday. Always make sure it is in good repair with no cracks or a poor fit so that it seals properly. Rings are simple to replace just check with your manufacturer.
Clean it well- Wash down the lid and inner pot after every use and wipe down the outside with an antibacterial wipe. Be sure that the ring and the surrounding area is very clean as well.
Now for some awesome things you can do with your pressure cooker…
Cook from frozen- One of my favorite features of pressure cookers is that you can cook food, even meat, straight from its frozen state. This is a huge time saver but keep in mind that you will want to freeze pre-made meals or meat in bags or containers that fit inside your pressure cooker. You are pretty safe with quart size freezer bags and large round plastic containers- test it by placing it inside the cooker first.
Turn slow cooker meals into pressure cooker meals- Just keep a few things in mind…Items that translate well from slow cooker to pressure cooker must have the minimum amount of liquid, at least one or two cups. However…. You do not lose the liquid in pressure cooking that you will in a slow cooker so you may often want to reduce your liquid amounts. Avoid using dairy in recipes unless it can be stirred in at the end after pressure cooking.Add your thickeners at the end while your pot is still hot but no longer under pressure. If you can’t convert it easily the Instant Pot and some others can also be used as a slow cooker as well- Just grab this lid if you don’t already have it to convert your Instant Pot into a slow cooker.
Brown in the pressure cooker- Most newer pressure cookers have a saute or brown setting. You can pre-brown your meat or caramelize onions prior to making the meal without dirtying another pan. This is a great feature that will add another layer of flavor to your recipes but will save you from doing extra dishes.
Make perfect hard boiled eggs- Use the rack that came with your pressure cooker, place in the bottom. Add 1 cup of water, carefully place eggs on top of a rack. Cook for 5 minutes on low pressure, quickly releases pressure. Remove eggs and dunk in an ice water bath until cool. You won’t believe how easily these eggs crack and peel!
This is the best first recipe to try making in your Instant Pot!