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Old 06-07-2008, 09:38 AM   #1
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Pressure Cooker Recommendation?

I have a pressure cooker but I am afraid to use it. I suppose it's a good one. It's a Presto and it was my moms. I have been looking at the electric versions and they look so much easier to use. But I am looking for what everyone has to say. What does everyone recommend?

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Old 06-07-2008, 10:23 AM   #2
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Vita, Presto is a reputable brand. As for using your mother's cooker, I would first get a new gasket for it. It may have been sitting unused for some time and the gasket is usually not in perfect shape as a result. In the future, after using your pressure cooker, any pressure cooker, store the gasket around the body of the pot. This will prevent the gasket from shrinking.

As for recommendations, I have Kuhn Rikon I wouldn't be without. Have had it for several years and like how well it performs and how easy it is to use.

Happened on a special offer that included the large 5-quart, I think, pot with the pressure lid, then a smaller skillet-like pan for pressure-cooking smaller quantities. There is also a glass lid that fits both so I can use either as a normal cooking vessel.

I have no experience with electric pressure cookers, but I think pacanis bought one this year. You might want to pick his brain.

Best wishes on your search.
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:08 AM   #3
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I'm curious why you are afraid to use it. It's a cooking pot that has a tighter fitting lid, a gasket to help make a good seal, and a weighted thing that sits on top that wiggles back and forth to tell you it is working. There is also a rubber stopper on the side of the lid that is a safety valve.

It's the same kind of pots that people use everyday for canning foods, except those are bigger and heavier duty.

Check that rubber seal (it pulls out from the lid) and see how smooth and flexible it is. If it looks okay you can put a small amount of vegetable oil on it to give it some lubrication, but its not really necessary. Put it back in the lid.

To get familiar with how it works, just try filling it with about 3-4 inches of water, lock down the lid and turn on the heat (high or medium-high). Do not put the weight on yet. Soon you will see steam coming out the center vent and also around the safety valve (which usually has a little pop up thing) and maybe some water bubbling out too. Let the steam vent for a few minutes since this removes all the unwanted air in the pot that interfers with the cooking process. Carefully put the weight on the vent. It will take a few minutes for the pressure to start to build up. First the safety valve should pop up and seal, then the weight should start rocking. You want a continuous slow rocking motion. If it is rocking fast, turn the heat down a notch.

Now carefully take it off the heat and allow to cool down -- wait for the safety valve plug to drop indicating the pressure has returned to normal. This takes awhile. Then and only then remove the weight and unlock the lid. Be VERY careful in removing the lid because of the STEAM.

That's all there is to it. The first time you cook a piece of tough meat in a pressure cooker you will be a fan for lilfe.
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Old 06-07-2008, 11:53 AM   #4
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Yep. Love my electric PC, but it is all I have used, so I can't say it is better or worse than the burner style, just that I love it. With the timer it seems virtually bulletproof. It will brown and can double as a slow cooker. Got it from QVC. I probably posted a link to it here if you search my past posts dealing with pressure cookers.
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:27 PM   #5
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I love my Pressure Cooker - Corned Beef (a 4 pounder) cooked perfectly in one hour! Chicken stock in under 30 minutes - so many wonderful possibilities and meats are so very tender when cooked properly in a PC. A cookbook called "The Pressured Cook" is very helpfull and there are free websites available with recipies. Less expensive cuts of beef turn to butter when cooked in a PC and the flavor is unbelievable! Good Luck with yours and don't be afraid. One thing to remember is if you cook rice or beans you do need to add some oil - not much but it's a necessary.
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:30 PM   #6
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I'm Also Afraid of the Older Cookers

While I love my stove top cooker and will consider getting an electric cooker although I really don't have the kitchen space for one, I would not use an older jiggle-top cooker. I know people who do, and I applaud them for doing so. But I am scared and did see what my mother's pressure cooker did when it blew it's lid.

I have used the Kuhn Rikon but it is one of the most expensive. I use Fagor most of the time and have used Magefesa, too. Most of the modern pressure cookers are reliable and work well.

Good luck with it. A pressure cooker is almost essential considering the cost of fuel these days and lack of time.

Think chili from scratch in less than 30 minutes, vegetable soup in 20 minutes from start to finish, presoaked beans in less than 10 minutes of cooking and more. Getting hungry thinking about it so have to go.

BTW, I teach pressure cooking but only with the new ones.

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Old 06-07-2008, 04:31 PM   #7
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Ok so I thought it was a Presto but it's not. It's a T-Fal. It's an older one. Probably not really old but it was my mothers. I looked at T-Fal's website and requested intructions for it. Hopefully that will help me not be so afraid. I am still interested in the electric versions though. If anyone has any thoughts on them let me know.

Thanks for all the comments thus far though.

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Old 06-07-2008, 05:21 PM   #8
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I wouldn't use a jiggle top PC. The modern ones have many more safety features. I have a Magefesa and love it, but I have heard that their quality has gone downhill since I got mine. The brands I would recommend lately are Kuhn Rikon and Fagor. There are probably other good ones, but these are the ones I know about.

Here's a whole bunch of articles for PC beginners, including stuff about the difference between jiggle top (first generation) and modern, as well as some good info about what to look for in a PC.

Also, I seem to remember that Lorna Sass, the author of several of the highest recommended books on PC cooking recommends staying away from appliance style electric PCs in one of her books. I don't remember the exact reasons and don't have time to go find the reference right now, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
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Old 06-07-2008, 05:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russellkhan View Post
Also, I seem to remember that Lorna Sass, the author of several of the highest recommended books on PC cooking recommends staying away from appliance style electric PCs in one of her books. I don't remember the exact reasons and don't have time to go find the reference right now, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Oh sure. Get me all worried here
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Old 06-07-2008, 07:57 PM   #10
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Back home now. I will try to find the specific reference.
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