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What Is a Pressure Cooker?

Beans, which can be cooked in a pressure cooker.
Modern pressure cookers have safety features that have made them much safer to use.
Article Details
  • Written By: L. S. Wynn
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Images By: Tfazevedo, Dinner Series
  • Last Modified Date: 02 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A pressure cooker is a relatively old technology that allows cooks to prepare certain foods in less time than required by conventional methods. A typical pressure cooker comes in the form of a large pot that includes a locking lid; they are ideal for a wide variety of recipes including soups, stews, beans and meat etc.

The pot is placed on a stove and the liquid within begins to boil; the sealed lid prevents steam from escaping and the pressure increases. Water typically boils at 100°C (212°F) but when it is under pressure in a pressure cooker, the boiling point rises to about 121°C (250°F). This higher temperature drastically reduces cooking time and the moist steam serves to tenderize the ingredients.

Although pressure cookers have been around for centuries, recent improvements have made them much easier and safer to use. The primary danger of older pressure cookers was a lid that would explode due to intense pressure within the pot. Modern pressure cookers include an array of safety mechanisms that prevent such dangerous episodes. Modern pressure cookers are a safe way to speed up the process of cooking and to keep foods moist and tender. Furthermore the reduced cooking times decreases the cost of fuel required for preparing food.

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Discuss this Article

anon353804
Post 5

Modern pressure cooker is very safe now, but keep in mind to wait for all the stream to be released before taking the lid off the pressure cooker, because the lock has been released, does`n mean that the cooker is ready to opened.

anon335412
Post 4

I have absolutely nothing to worry about. Today's pressure cookers are built with multiple safety features that ensure that cooks won't have the same explosion issues as in pressure cooker lore of yesterday.

For instance, lids have locks that must be activated before the pressure builds, and these locks won't open until the pressure inside has been released. Most cookers also have valves to release excess pressure.

anon296910
Post 3

@anon148607: A typical pressure cooker comes in the form of a large pot that includes a locking lid.

anon148607
Post 2

I don't see the scientific meaning of "pressure cooker", other than what's written about old and modern cookers.

anon127866
Post 1

I've never used an older pressure cooker but I agree with the comments about modern cookers. We purchased a Fagor Splendid and are pretty happy. Leslie

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