How to Choose the Best Pressure Cooker
You must be wondering: Aluminum or Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker? Which one is the best? And which one is ideal for your kitchen or home cooking needs? Here are ideal facts that we collected.
Stainless steel cookers are better corrosion resistant and so resistant to scratches and warping. This means that they can retain their luster for much longer.
Additionally the stainless steel models don’t react with acidic food products. They are much durable and stylish in look. This makes the stainless steel models more expensive than that of the aluminum models.
In fact stainless steel pressure cookers are still the best pressure cookers in the market today. Like we pointed out, with their practicality and versatility, you can have nearly unlimited array of dishes that can be prepared.
When it comes to aluminum cookers they are comparatively the cheaper models. If you are working on a budget you can always choose pressure cookers made out of aluminum.
Additionally, aluminum is a better heat conductor than steel. But because it is a softer than stainless steel it is prone to dents and scratches that could mar its looks. Furthermore, aluminum may react with certain acidic foods and this harmful to your health.
Basically, the best choice for a pressure cooker between the two metals is impacted by their most important features and these are often the cost and durability. From our reviews and research, the aluminum pressure cookers are more affordable, better conductors of heat but their durability is not that high.
While the models made out of stainless steel are generally costly but more durable. However the latest models have the bottom made out of aluminum for better absorption of heat. Therefore if you want cheaper models you can always go with an aluminum pressure cooker. However, if it is quality and durability you crave for choose the stainless steel pressure cookers.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Pressure Cooker
With over a few hundred choices, it would be rather hard to find the perfect pressure cooker. This even becomes more challenging if you do it on your own without any help. There are many different models available in the market varying sizes, shapes, brand and etc. The trick is to find one that meets and satisfies your need. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the best pressure cooker for you.
Safety is very vital. The safest pressure cooker models to use will have lids, built in cooking pots, pressure release valves, timers, LCD displays, plastic handlers, and many other features just to make sure you are safe while cooking. This is because pressure cookers work under the principle of built-up pressure and an intense amount of steam and pressure can often be released. If done poorly this can cause a destructive blast in the kitchen. So look for devices that come with pressure indicators, secure lid locks, and effective release valves.
From Weighted Valve Pressure Regulators, Modified Weighted Valve Pressure Regulators, to Spring Valve Pressure Regulators Look always look for a regulator with maximum pounds per square inch of 15. This is considered standard regulator, and most if not all recipes are designed for this amount of pressure. Meaning that, anything lower will slow down the cooking time.
The weighted valve pressure regulator is also called the jiggle top. It is used on top of the vent pipe where excess steam escapes. The best models are often removable for easy cleaning. For proper use, always make sure it is not blocked whenever you intend to use it. For weighted valve pressure regulator the pressure is regulated with a rocking movement.
You will know your cooking has started if you are using weighted valve pressure regulator when it starts to rock. It rocks to a gentle rhythm to let you know everything is okay. In case it stops and becomes quiet you should check immediately.
Modified Weighted Valve Pressure Regulators are attached to the pressure cooker. They release steam in small bursts to reach 15 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI). They are pricier than the weighted valve regulators. This design needs a lot of care as it will be very hard to tell when the steam will begin to escape. The best advice is to use lower temperature as this will help the steam to be released slowly.
Spring Valve Pressure Regulators on the other hand use a pop up one-inch valve to indicate the cooker’s pressure. They are more expensive. They allow you to choose either a 10 or 15 PSI. They don’t make noise, so you’ll have to watch it closely.
For almost all electric pressure cookers, this is equal to 15 psi (pounds per square inch). Best pressure cookers would be able to have indicators that tell you when this pressure is achieved.
There are many pressure cooker manufactures today. This means that we have a number of brands too. If you must go with the brand, always pick one who’s been in business for many years. Look for a brand with a good financial background and one that enjoys the best reviews in the market. This is important as over time when you may need to replace parts on the pressure cooker you will need to find them easily. Such brands have ready made parts and you don’t have to ferry them back to the manufacturers.
The company also needs to still be operating so you can purchase any replacement pieces that you may need. Often these parts cannot be intermixed with parts from other manufacturers and therefore having readily available parts is usually very important.
The trick is that if you must go with brands, always buy pressure cookers from reputable retailers. Check to see if they sell the replacement parts and choose a pressure cooker that is approved by UL (Underwriters Laboratories), or another qualified testing organization as they will determine the best standard of quality.
Cover Interlock Systems
The cover interlock system is an essential safety feature that will automatically lock the cover while the pressure inside is high and only unlocks once the pressure is safely lowered. It doesn’t allow the pressure to build until the cover is in place properly.
This is good for eliminating many accidents that may come from improper use of a pressure cooker. If you don’t have the cover interlock system you can go for pressure cookers that have a visual pressure indicator for safety. They will let you know if the pressure inside is high.
Go with models offering a secondary pressure relief mechanism that can be used to release the pressure if the vent pipe is blocked.
Handles must also be inspected for durability as you would need to carry a pot filled with hot food. Handles need to be heat resistant, secure, made out of poor conductors of heat, and must be comfortable to you. You can always practice holding the pressure cooker before purchasing it to make sure it feels comfortable.
Cooking Baskets and Racks
Racks and baskets allow you to separate all the different types of food inside the pressure cooker. This gives better results as it prevents all the items within the pressure cooker from being mixed together.
The interior of some models have non-stick interiors. However as the many pressure cooker reviews will point out, this feature isn’t very important. Why? Because non-stick materials don’t hold up well under intense pressure and therefore can give you poor results sometimes.
You should also pay attention of the base materials for easy cleaning, no scorching, and perfect heating conductions. Therefore you can always buy a pressure cooker with either a tri-metal or bi-metal base. These are bases that contain a layer of aluminum to minimize scorching. They do this by allowing the heat to be evenly distributed throughout the pot. This allows for even cooking.
Your pressure cooker should be compatible to a number of cook tops. In fact some pressure cookers cannot sit on ceramic cooktops. Compatibility is very important as electric pressure cooker models have their own heat source.
The best pressure cooker will come with a user manual and also a recipe and instruction book. This is good in giving the user clear directions on how to safely operate the pressure cooker. It also provides some basic recipes to get one started
Cost is a very important consideration. Always go for a pressure cooker that is readily affordable for you. You can always work with a budget. However, safety comes first while the rest can follow. The best way you could get experience is through the experience of others. This can be done through reading through electric pressure cooker reviews and ratings. Happy shopping!