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Cooking under pressure

Leader/Jessica Tanner
Ann Henderson, USU Extension, demonstrates the proper use of a pressure cooker in meal preparation.

This page is sponsored by Valley View Granite.

Jessica Tanner
Leader Assistant Editor

Using a pressure cooker can be a fun and rewarding way to create delicious meals. There are also several advantages such as the foods cook much faster than other methods, requires less water and energy than when boiling, steaming or oven cooking and several foods can be cooked together. Whether you are an experienced pressure cooker or just getting started, here are some helpful tips to make your experience worthwhile.
First take proper safety precautions by: reading all instructions. If you do not have the manual you can find information online. Never fill the pressure cooker over 2/3 full. When using foods that expand (rice, beans and grains) do not fill more than 1/2 full. Always look through the vent pipe before closing the pressure cooker to make sure it is clear.
Use caution or avoid foods that foam and sputter (apple sauce, cranberries, split peas, oatmeal, noodles). If you choose to cook these use a recipe designed for a pressure cooker and follow those specific instructions.
Watch the pressure regulator, when pressure has built up it will start rocking and you will turn down the heat. The goal is to maintain high pressure with as little heat as needed. Make sure pressure is released before opening the lid. This can be done by letting the pressure cooker sit (natural release) with the manual release system or by running cool water over the pressure cooker (quick release).
Always use cooking liquid. An empty pressure cooker left on a heated burner will overheat causing discoloration and warping.
When storing your pressure cooker: make sure the lid is inverted on the pressure cooker body. Storing with the lid locked may cause unpleasant odors and deform the sealing ring. Be sure to remove and rinse the sealing ring after each use.

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