What to Look For in a Pressure Cooker

You have probably heard a lot about pressure cookers, and perhaps even wondered what they are and how they differ from other small kitchen appliances. A pressure cooker is a pot with a lockable lid that has the ability to quickly cook foods. Food ingredients are placed into the pressure cooker pot along with water, and as the water boils – steam builds up and it creates an intense pressure that cooks food faster than traditional methods. You can cook just about anything in a pressure cooker, from meats, to vegetables and stews as well.

There's so much to consider when purchasing a pressure cooker, we've compiled a list of some of the more important things to look for in a new pressure cooker:

1. Electric vs Stove top: The first thing you will need to decide is whether you want an electric pressure cooker or a stove top cooker. Surprisingly, stove top cookers are considered the better choice between the two. Electric models are typically fitted with pot inserts made with aluminum. This makes it harder to brown certain ingredients. Also, the aluminum material may also react to certain acidic ingredients causing them to be a little off in their flavor.

2. Safety Features: Safety features are going to be especially important for this type of appliance. Pressure cookers build up an intense amount of pressure and steam which can cause an explosion in the kitchen. If you have children in the home, you will want a pot that comes with secure lid locks, pressure indicators and release valves.

3. Size and Capacity: You can find pressure cookers that can hold more than 40 quarts, but do you really need all of that? Probably not. Do not underestimate your size and do not overestimate it either. You can find cookers that are sauce pan style, which is perfect for your side dishes and vegetables, there are also large stock pot styles for family meals.

4. Stainless Steel or Aluminum ?: As mentioned earlier, the aluminum materials used in fitted inserts can clash with acidic ingredients, causing them to have a flavor different than you may have intended. If you are going to make the investment into a quality cooker, opt for the stainless steel models.

Pressure cookers can really be a lifesaver for the busy family, they will also help save you a ton of money.