A pressure cooker may be exactly the appliance to complete your smart kitchen. Whether you are buying a pressure cooker for the first time or planning to upgrade an older one, there are many things to consider.
There are two types of materials used to manufacture a pressure cooker, aluminum and stainless steel. While aluminum has a lower price tag and an even distribution of heat, it does have some issues. An aluminum cooker will pit in time. This does not affect it cooking capabilities, but it is an indication of its weakness. The lower cost is the primary reason to purchase an aluminum pressure cooker.
The available stainless steel pressure cookers are heavier, more expensive and non-porous than their aluminum counterparts. Stainless steel does not conduct heat well. Find a layered model than has an aluminum plate that is bonded to the exterior. This fact will improve the performance of the stainless steel model by virtually eliminating the presence of hot spots.
The next thing to consider is size. The size indicated is the amount of liquid the cooker can handle. This does not mean that you can load the pressure cooker to the top. The usable capacity will be less. Depending on the type of food you are preparing, plan on putting half to two thirds of the capacity. That will allow the steam to build inside the unit. There are three sizes that are common to completing your smart kitchen.
A 4-quart pressure cooker is good if you are cooking for one or two people. It will also be adequate if you are preparing one course of the meal. Vegetables and potatoes can be prepared for a family in a 4-quart pressure cooker.
A 6-quart pressure cooker is ideal for many families. It will be accommodating for most foods and the majority of pressure cooker recipes are designed for the 6-quart model.
An 8-quart model is perfect for large families. It is also the size of choice if you are preparing a large volume of stock.
These sizes are the most convenient for you smart kitchen. Larger models are used commercially, for canning or cooking for large groups.
Selecting the brand is vitally important. You will want to select a brand that has been in business for years. You will want a cooker that will last you many years. Realize too, that from time to time you may have to replace small parts. Brands that have been approved by testing organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories, will help you to gain confidence in your purchase.
If you have never used a pressure cooker, read the steps necessary to do so safely. Pressure locks, weighted valves and gaskets must be in place. If you do not find one with a good pressure lock, the pressure can build in the cooker and result in a very dangerous situation.
There is also the choice of electric or manual. A bit of research will guide you down the right path to the selection.