Are Pressure Cookers Safe?
The name ‘Pressure Cooker’ first
appeared in 1915 but the first pressure cooker for use in the home made its
debut in America at the World’s Fair in New York, in 1939.
Many people can remember the delicious
stews and pot roasts that their Mother or Grandmother used to make. It is quite
likely that she used a pressure cooker to cook them. It might have tasted as if
she spent all day in the kitchen – but a pressure cooker can cook a beef stew in
as little as 15 minutes!
Childhood memories are
also unfortunately what have put many people off using a
pressure cooker. Do you remember that the only way to
release the pressure, thereby allowing the lid to come off,
was to put it into the sink and run cold water over it?
Carrying a heavy, hot steaming pan across the kitchen was
bad enough, but all that hissing and steam escaping from
that jiggly thing on the lid…scary! It wasn’t very
practical either as it could take as long as 20 minutes
under the cold water to release the pressure to lift the
Are They Really Safe
The pressure cooker of today is much
safer than its hissing ancestor. Most models have at least three valves
for extra safety. These valves automatically release pressure if it should
start to build too high.
Most pressure cookers now won’t let you
take the lid off until the pressure has been completely released. There
are two main ways of doing this:
method, you simply remove the pressure cooker from the heat and leave it.
As the temperature of the pot goes down, the pressure slowly releases.
This is the usual method for soups and stews. Tough cuts of meat become
even more tender during this extra pressure release time.
pressure cookers have a built-in automatic pressure release – but not all do, so
check before you buy.