Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker

A semi sealed pot with a lockable lid which has a valve that controls the pressure inside is known as a pressure cooker. This kitchen utensil cooks the food by capturing the steam that builds up as the pot heats up. This leads to increase in pressure in the pot.

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Mechanism

The pressure in the pot increases as the liquid inside the pot forms steam as the hot heats up. This build up high pressure leads to two major effects. It leads to raising the boiling point of the water in the pot thereby leading to cooking the food faster. The second one is that it raises the pressure in the pot. This leads to forcing the liquid and moisture into the food faster. This also leads faster cooking. This makes certain food items like meat get tender easily. Another added benefit is that since the cooking time is faster than other methods it saves energy. Once the cooking is done, the pressure is released slowly enabling the vessel safe to be opened.

Design

Parts

The following are the main components of a Pressure cooker.

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Pan

The pan of the pressure cooker is made of metal. They usually have a long handle on one end and a small handle on the opposite side by which the user can hold the pan.

Lid

The lid comes with a locking device button or clicks on sliding into the correct position and locks the pressure cooker, this ensures that it is safely locked and will not open up during cooking process. The lid also has a long handle like the pan. The lid is where the Gasket also known as the sealing ring is placed. This seals the cooker airtight. The pressure level in the pan is maintained by the pressure regulator which is either a weight or spring device on the steam vent or nozzle.

The pressure cooker is usually made from either aluminium or stainless steel. Aluminium is cheaper but they are reactive to acidic food. They are less durable and unsuitable for the dishwasher.

The stainless steel cookers have a lower thermal conductivity and therefore are made with heavy, three layer or copper clad bottoms. This helps in uniform heating.

The gasket is either made from rubber or silicone. The gasket does not allow the air or steam to escape from between the lid and pan. It forms a gas tight seal. Usually the regulator on the lid is the only way the steam can escape when the cooker is pressurised but a safety valve is provided as a safety measure in case the regulator becomes blocked.

The pressure cookers are built much heavier than the other pots of the similar size as they have to withstand so much pressure.

Capacity

They come in different capacities so as to cook small to large amounts. The pressure cooker can only be filled up to 2/3rd full of its capacity depending on the ingredients and liquid. The most common capacity preferred is 6 litres.

 

 

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