Can a Pressure Cooker Really Explode? A Guide for Safe Pressure Cooking

Perhaps you heard some legends about housewives who pressure cooker exploded and all the heating contents of the pot spread out on the kitchen's walls, or even worse, on the housewife. Fortunately, this kind of stories is a thing of the past. Today's pressure cookers are equipped with many safety features that make pressure cooking one of the most pleasant and safe way of preparing dinner for your loved ones.

The early pressure cookers needed to be put in the sink and only by running cold water over them will the lid come off. Carrying the hot pot around the kitchen seemed scary enough for cooks to dismiss pressure cookers. On top of that, the lid could have been accidently opened while still under pressure.

This is no longer the case nowdays. New generation pressure cookers release pressure just by removing them from the heat source. Some have automatic pressure release valves, so you do not have to bother. The lid can not be opened before all the pressure has been released from the cooker. All the cookers have indicators that show you when it is safe to open the lid. Some pressure cooker models have three safety valves that release pressure in case it builds dangerously high.

The pressure cookers you can find on the market today are safe, so you have very little to worry about. Once you use the cooker right, and follow all the instructions, there is absolutely no chance for things to go wrong.

Here are some basic things you should know in order to cook safely and delicately, like a real chef would:

1. Always check the pressure cooker before using it

Before pressure cooking, you have to check the cooker and see if it is in excellent condition. Is the rubber gasket cracked, ripped or dried? If so, you should replace it immediately. It is advisable to replace theasket annually, because it can deteriorate with time and use. It is always wise to order extra rubbers, just in case there is a need to replace it. Also, check if the cooker is properly cleaned. Old food that got stuck in the machine could prevent normal functioning. Once you found your cooker to be in the right shape, you can start putting the ingredients inside.

2. Use the exact amounts of ingredients and water proposed in the recipes

You should not overfill the cooker with ingredients. One third of the pot, for most foods, or a half, for foods that swell, is enough. Check your recipes and see exactly the amount suggested. Make sure you use enough liquid for steam to build up. Typically, you can find out what the necessary amount of water is from recipes.

It is better to avoid frothing foods, because the foam created can affect the machine. In case you have to use foods that froth, put only a very small amount in the cooker, and follow all the instructions in the recipe.

3. Do not fry foods in the pressure cooker

Never put more than a drop of oil in the cooker. Frying food in pressure cookers is extremely dangerous!

4. Safely release pressure

Before opening the lid, you have to release all the pressure inside. You can do it ether naturally, by turning off the heat and letting the cooker cool off, or by using the steam release valve of the cooker. It is extremely important to protect your hands when handling the pressure cooker. Release steam away from your face and body, because the high temperatures could burn your skin.

5. Clean your cooker

After use, always clean the cooker properly. Make sure the valves are not stuck and the rubber gasket is clean, so preparing the pressure cooker for the next meal.