Some useful tips for using a pressure cooker

Pressure cookers are very useful appliances which use some simple laws of physics to cook food faster and using lesser energy. In general, it reduces the cooking time and energy by over 70%. If yours is a busy household, you will find the use of pressure cooker a very convenient and time saving option for you. They can cook a wide variety of dishes from soups, stews, and meat to desserts like cake and much more.

How to increase the life of your pressure cooker and get the most out it:

  1.   Read the instruction manual carefully before using it for the first time so that you know the features of your specific model and how to operate it.
  2.   Before every use check the condition of the gasket and the valves. If the gasket is cracked or de-shaped and no longer seals, you will need to replace it. Check that the valves are clean and not obstructed by any food stuck to it.
  3.   Cut your ingredients evenly before adding them to the pressure cooker. Evenly cut pieces will take equal cooking time. If your ingredients like meat are cut non-uniformly, smaller pieces will cook before the larger resulting in overcooking or undercooking.
  4.   Brown your ingredients (like meat, onion or garlic) first in the cooker without the lid and the liquid. Browning in a little oil enhances the taste and the looks of your dish. After browning you can add the liquid and seal the lid to begin pressure cooking. Electric pressure cookers like Breville generally have a browning setting available.
  5.   The key to the functionality of a pressure cooker are the vapors produced inside it. This means you have to add enough liquid to produce enough vapor for the pressure cooker to function.
  6.   Do not overfill your cooker. As a rule of thumb, only fill it to a maximum of two-third its capacity. 
  7.   When you begin cooking, turn the flame high till the cooker reaches pressure. When the cooker has reached pressure, turn the flame low and keep it that way till the food cooks. With electric pressure cooker, you don’t have to worry about this point as the cooker adjusts the temperature and the pressure on its own.
  8.   Different ingredients use different cooking times. If you are adding multiple ingredients like meat and vegetables, you should know that vegetables take much lesser time to cook than meat. First add meat, let it cook for a while on pressure. Then release the pressure, open the cooker when the pressure has subsided, add the vegetables, close the lid and pressure cook again for few minutes. Your vegetables should cook within a few minutes.

How to Clean Pressure Cooker

  1. After each use, clean each part of your cooker separately and properly.
  2. Remove the gasket from the lid and then wash it without stretching it. Let it dry.
  3. Store it only when completely dry with the gasket back in place and the lid upside down over the pot.

How to decide which food processor to get

We all want to get the best food processor out there in the market, but all these choices in the market can be quite daunting, to say the least. This brings us to one concluding thought: How do we pick the one?

In this article, we are going to highlight all factors about choosing between good quality food processors and looking at it from all different factors to better determine which machine is tailored to fit your requirements.

First and foremost, when looking for what is the top rated food processor in the market, don’t be led solely by price. You have to consider if the particular budget model suits your needs among other deciding factors. Food Processor Buyer’s Guide can provide all these major factors in detail. What if you only need it for occasional use and don’t necessarily have to cook in large quantities?

Also, another important mishap people make while choosing, is that they dismiss the importance of attachments.

Yes, we all need to be sure of the number of attachments we need and the kind of food preps we’re looking at. While most machines are able to chop, grate, slice, and mix but fail to whip, whisk and knead.

At times food processors come with extra blender attachments – not all of them carry this, so this can be a major help knowing which one to buy. Another major problem faced by users is that they generally need machines that are easier to clean up afterward, because that takes most of your time and is quite undesirable to do on a regular basis.

Placement of food processors on the kitchen countertop can be a hindrance for most because of

  1. a) lack of space or
  2. b) fears of hoarding.

If it’s for regular use, then keep it on the worktop! In that case make sure you have ample space, not just horizontally (as we like to think) but even vertically because sometimes overhead cabinets can come in the way. Or you may store it away, depending on the frequency of your usage. But be sure to have boxes for all the attachments, because they always need extra care and caution.

Other points to be taken are the size of the food processor; quantity and capacity of bowls (some have the added feature of mini bowls too). If the motor of the machine is powerful you can achieve great results. You can make sure the noise levels aren’t too high – does it function quietly or drill up the entire house!

Also, look at the overall quality of the parts and in the end, the customer service of the manufacturer. If in case something goes wrong, they should be helpful enough. One such example is:

Bosch MCM3501, John Lewis

It is a compact and relatively cheap machine which can pack your punch in no time! It boasts of over 50 functions that consist of grating, chopping, slicing and blending – and to top it off, it functions pretty quietly too! Quite apparently, a great all-rounder for kitchens that are smaller in size. It comes with accessories that are easy to slot in and can be stored away tidily. However, you need to be careful of the blades – they are very finely honed and razor sharp; also not as fast as the more upscale machines in the market.