The first pressure cooker was invented several centuries ago. Such a unit allows you to cook food much faster, which saves a lot of time. The choice of a pressure cooker must be approached deliberately, focusing on a number of criteria.
What is a pressure cooker? Purpose, functions, principle of operation
The pressure cooker is a device with a hermetically sealed lid. After boiling the contents, steam is formed, creating pressure inside the unit. As a result, the temperature exceeds the boiling point, and food is cooked almost 2 times faster.
The pressure in the device reaches 1 bar and the temperature rises to about 121°C. At the beginning of cooking, the valve on the lid of the unit is usually open. When heated, it closes under pressure. When the pressure rises even more, it pushes the valve out, opening it. This is necessary to release excess steam. Due to the presence of a valve, an optimal pressure of 0.7-1 bar is maintained inside the device. Such an indicator is called absolute.
The tightness inside the pressure cooker ensures a minimum amount of oxygen, therefore the oxidative process is excluded. This factor ensures maximum preservation of the taste, color and health benefits of the products.
When using a pressure cooker, it is important to observe safety precautions. Cooking in such a device means high temperature and hot steam, therefore neglecting the rules for operating the unit can lead to serious burns.
Types of pressure cookers
All pressure cookers can be divided into two large groups: mechanical and electric. Units of the first type are a kind of pots with a sealed lid. They can be used for both gas and electric stoves. Such devices differ from ordinary pans not only in a special lid, but also in thick walls and a bottom.
The modern version is electric pressure cookers, that is, powered by an electrical network. Outwardly, such devices resemble multicookers and can be a combination of these two representatives of household appliances.
Most devices are made of metal, ceramic aggregates are less common. The pressure cooker can be made of stainless steel or aluminum. The first option is more expensive and weighs more, but is stronger and does not emit harmful substances when cooking. Aluminum appliances are attractive for their low weight and low cost, but they do not last long and are harmful to health.
General rules for choosing a pressure cooker
When deciding to buy a pressure cooker, carefully consider the following factors that influence your final choice:
- Volume. This parameter must be focused on the number of people in the family. Most appliances have a volume of 5 liters, which is enough for a family of 3-4 people. It is important to note that the pressure cooker should be filled no more than 2/3 of its volume.
- Power. For most models of this technique, this parameter is 1-1.5 kW. When choosing the power of the unit, it is important to correlate it with its volume.
- Valve. This is one of the most important parts of the appliance, as it is necessary for the release of steam. It is important to pay attention to which direction steam will come out when you open the lid. It must be directed to the sides, otherwise there is a high risk of burns.
- Display and menu.
- Material. The best option is stainless steel pressure cookers. When buying a steel pressure cooker, you need to pay attention to the brand of metal. The best option is 18/10 without impurities.
- Bowl cover. It can be ceramic or teflon. The first option is attractive due to its high resistance to mechanical damage, but over time it may lose its non-stick properties.
- Non-stick coating. It is necessary to improve the quality of cooking.
- Gasket material for sealing. It can be made of rubber or silicone. The first option has a lower price, but also a short service life. Over time, the rubber gasket will leak air. Silicone gaskets are more reliable and durable.
- Viewing window or glass lid. This addition is very convenient, as it allows you to control the cooking process.
- Delayed start. This option means that you can pre-load the necessary products and set the time to turn on the device. This option is convenient when there is no time to cook breakfast or dinner. By the time you wake up in the morning or come home from work, everything will be ready.
- cooking modes. The amount you need depends on personal preference. For one consumer, it is enough that soups, cereals, meat and side dishes can be cooked in a pressure cooker. Others need an extended selection of modes: yogurt, popcorn, pastries.
- The presence of a bowl for steaming. Such a supplement is especially attractive to healthy dieters or users who are forced to follow a therapeutic diet. It is important to pay attention to the quality of the container for steaming — usually a basket or a special plate. It is problematic to purchase such a device separately, because it must be in the kit and of good quality (strength is important).
- Chef. This option allows you to set the cooking parameters of the dish yourself.
- Protection. This parameter is important for instrument safety. The pressure cooker should not open until the pressure inside has been relieved.
- Heat resistant handles. This point is especially important for large-volume units. It is inconvenient to carry them, because you can get burned.
Which pressure cooker to choose? Top Models
Buying a pressure cooker will take your cooking to the next level. It is worth looking at the best models that effectively combine technical parameters, functionality and price.
This model is a combination of pressure cooker and multicooker. The power of the device is 1000 W, and the volume is 6 liters.
The body of the unit is made of steel with plastic inserts. The bowl of the appliance has a non-stick ceramic coating.
The pressure cooker has an LED display and a touch control panel. You can select the cooking mode or heating, set the time, pressure and temperature. There is a delayed start function.
One of the most important advantages of this model is the Master Chef Light option. The appliance has 14 built-in programs, but the user can independently change the cooking time or temperature without interrupting the cooking process.
The safety of the pressure cooker is ensured by valves (shut-off and steam release), a temperature fuse and an overpressure sensor. Handles of the unit heat-insulating.
Moulinex CE 503132
This appliance is a pressure cooker. The volume of the bowl is 5 liters, the power of the unit is 1000 watts.
The body is made of plastic. There is a heat-insulating handle. The thicket is removable, has a ceramic coating (4 layers).
The pressure cooker has 33 automatic modes. 25 modes can be set manually. There is a Multichef function that allows you to independently set the temperature (40-160 ° C) and cooking time (up to 4 hours).
The device provides for the possibility of heating food, maintaining the temperature. There is a delayed start function.
The advantage of this model is the ability to choose the texture of the dish. There are 6 levels from soft to hard.
This pressure cooker has a capacity of 6 liters. The power of the unit is 1000 watts.
The body is made of metal combined with plastic. The bowl has a Teflon non-stick coating. The lid is completely removable.
The pressure cooker has 8 automatic cooking modes, for the multicooker there are 6 separate modes. You can also set the temperature and time yourself. There is a delayed start up to 24 hours and a countdown function.
Touch control panel. There is a separate menu for the pressure cooker and multicooker. The appliance is designed to lock during cooking.
One of the advantages of this model is the presence of an energy-saving mode. Another plus is the indication of the cooking process. The device will indicate the stage of heating, creating pressure, working under pressure and heating the dish.
Safety is ensured by locking the lid during pressurized operation. The pressure is released automatically. There is an additional option for child protection.
This model combines the functions of a double boiler and a multicooker. The bowl of the appliance has a Teflon non-stick coating and is designed for 5 liters. Unit power — 900 watts.
The pressure cooker has 10 automatic cooking modes and the “Own recipe” program, where you can independently set the temperature and time. The device provides for maintaining the temperature (up to 140 ° C) and heating. There is a delayed start function up to 24 hours.
The body of the device is made of metal combined with plastic. There is an electronic control panel and an LED display showing the cooking time.
This multi-cooker is designed for 4 liters. The power of the device is 800 watts. The body is made of metal combined with plastic. The bowl is removable and non-stick coated. Lid and valve are removable.
This model provides 7 automatic programs. There is a delayed start up to 24 hours. The pressure cooker has electronic controls and an LED display. There is an indication of on and off, time and cooking mode. The model attracts with its minimalism, which makes it easy to understand its management.
Watch a video about the advantages of a pressure cooker and a test comparison of two popular models in the same price range: Philips HD2178 and Moulinex CE 701132
Pressure cookers have been in demand for decades. With the advent of electronic appliances, the possibilities of this technique have expanded significantly, which makes it a desirable appliance in the kitchen. When choosing a pressure cooker, it is important to consider the material of the unit, the number of its functions and the degree of safety.