Modern Pressure Cooker Differences Explained 2021

Are you ready to add new utensils to your kitchen arsenal?

A pressure cooker can help you with that!

It's an alternative method of cooking and also a versatile cooking utensil.
Cook food like stews, steamed buns, and even cakes is possible with a pressure cooker! In this article, you'll learn what a pressure cooker is and why you should cook with one.

What is a Pressure Cooker?

First off, you need to know what a pressure cooker is.
It's a cooking device that cooks food using steam pressure. It does so by being an airtight device trapping inside the steam which would then cook the food inside.

The pressure cooker is great if you're softening up meat as the steam pressure affects every part, even the insides of the meat. The steam pressure comes from the water or other cooking liquid. And it imitates the braising cooking method but in a shorter time.

Why use a Pressure Cooker?

It saves time - with the heat trapped inside pressure cooking saves up a lot of time. With traditional cooking, it would take you hours to make the meat of the stew soft and tender. However, using a pressure cooker, it decreases the time to 20-30 minutes! You can have more time to spare for yourself.

Moreover, an electric pressure cooker helps you save time. You can set a timer on it, and you're free to do other stuff. It's beneficial, especially if you're a busy person.

Energy-efficient - With its short cooking time, you save a lot of money and help contribute to keeping the earth clean. A pressure cooker has multiple uses also. Therefore, you won't have to buy other cookware.

A healthy alternative - Unlike  rumors say, pressure cooker doesn't kill the vitamins and minerals of food due to high heat. Scientific studies prove that pressure cooking doesn't incur a significant loss in nutrients while other methods like boiling and steaming do. Why so? Because of the airtight mechanism of the pressure cooker. It keeps the nutrients from escaping and is retained by the food.

Modern Pressure Cooker Compared to Old Models

There are two distinct models when you talk about pressure cookers. These are digital (modern) pressure cookers and traditional pressure cookers. You would want to look at digital pressure cookers than traditional ones. Why?

For digital pressure cookers, you hardly have to do anything. All the task of building, maintaining, and releasing the pressure during cooking is handled by the cookware. Whereas in traditional, you have to monitor it.

Only contrast to consider is that traditional pressure cookers have a faster cook time, but the difference isn't much, maybe 5 mins?   
If you want more time, and don't want the complications of monitoring the heat pressure, then digital 
pressure cooking is best for you.

Modern Pressure Cooker Features You Need to Know

How does modern pressure cooker evolve from its traditional model? Pressure cookers have come a long way. It's been used for the last three centuries to help with cooking food fast. With the advancement of technology, the pressure cooker has also improved. Here are some features you need to know about the modern pressure cooker.​

Heat Regulation

Gone are the days when you need to monitor how much heat you need to achieve the required pressure for cooking. It's very frustrating when you go over or under the necessary pressure. Mainly when it affects the quality of the food.

However, with the new modern pressure cookers, you won't have to deal with it. All you have to do is selecting a cooking setting by pressing a button. The cookware will do the rest for you while you enjoy your time and not be with the pressure cooker monitoring it all the time. You can have that free time you want while the modern pressure cooker prepares the food for you.

Pressure Settings

In traditional pressure cookers, There was a dial that you turn to set the pressure settings. The pressure settings usually have the HIGH (12-15 psi) and LOW (6-10 psi) settings. Old cookbooks use this pressure setting for food used in pressure cooker recipes.

In modern pressure cookers, there's a pre-set for what type of food you're going to cook. Therefore, you won't have to worry about setting up the pressure. Also, keep in mind that different models of modern pressure cookers have different maximum pressure. They can vary from models and manufacturing. Some are designed to cook a specific food group or are for variety use.

Opening Methods

In traditional pressure cookers, you'd have to wait for some time (usually 8-10 minutes) after cooking is done to open it. It helps to reduce the heat source from the pressure cooker so you can open it safely.

Another method used is by using cold water. It's done by pouring cold water over the ends of the pressure cooker lid. However, make sure you don't spill over the steam vent and other valves.

For modern pressure cookers, they can be opened within 3-4 minutes. NOTE: Do not even attempt using primary methods for traditional pressure cookers in the modern ones since they have electrical components. Modern pressure cookers have internal parts that help in cooling itself.

Safety & Durability

Both the traditional and modern pressure cookers have safety features built-in. However, for this article, we're going to focus on modern pressure cookers. Here are the safety features that a modern pressure cooker provides.

Locking Device

A locking device on a pressure cooker prevents you from opening the lid when it's too hot. The locking device only opens when the pressure inside the cooker is at a level where it's safe to take the cover off. The locking device can read the level of pressure inside the cooker so you can carry it by the handle until you let off the pressure inside.

Pressure Release Safety Valves (Spring, Jiggle Top)

There are two types of safety valves commonly featured on pressure cookers. You won't have to worry about pressure going over because of these valves. They regulate the pressure so that they always stay at a safe level. 

When the pressure goes over, the valve automatically opens up to release pressure. There are two types of pressure release valves featured on a pressure cooker. These are the spring-loaded valves and jiggle top pressure valves. Even though they have a different mechanism, they share the same function of regulating pressure inside the cooker.

Spring Loaded Valves - The design of spring-loaded valves allow pressure release while not dropping the temperature inside the cooker. It's straightforward. When the pressure inside the cooker goes over significantly, it pops up and releases off the steam.

Jiggle Top Pressure Valves - The difference of jiggle-top pressure valves from the previous type is their design. The valves tend to rock when the pressure reaches a significant level. While shaking, they're also releasing pressure off the cooker.

Pop up Indicators

Pop up indicators indicates the pressure values inside the cooker. You won't have to speculate the pressure as the indicator is highly accurate.

The indicators are comprised of a stem with a weight attached. The stem has markings like red rings on it.
The indicator pops up when pressure builds up and tells you the exact pressure inside the cooker.

Manufacturers have different markings. As an example, a red ring on the indicator means low pressure, and the 2nd ring would indicate the highest pressure limit. 

Gasket Release Aperture

You can see a gasket release aperture just under the lid of a pressure cooker. When the pressure reaches high levels, the gasket aperture pushes upward, and the pressure is released through the aperture. 

Safety Handles

When you're handling an object that is subjected to high heat, things can go wrong. That's why pressure cookers use materials and handle design suitable for controlling the heat.

Modern pressure cookers usually carry out a rubber/plastic handles which are long. If you want to be extra cautious, using cooking gloves while handling hot objects would keep you safe most of the time.

Encapsulated Even Heat Base Design

When your cookware is subjected to heat, it's quality and usage degrades. But modern pressure cookers ensure that it'll last for a long time. An encapsulated even heat base design is a feature that helps in the longevity of the modern pressure cooker.

Modern pressure cookers are equipped with the new "three-ply base encapsulated design." The design has aluminum as its core with two stainless steel layers sandwiching it. The aluminum helps heat the cooker fast while the aluminum acts as protection as aluminum isn't compatible with exposing in food. 

Manufacturing Material

Modern pressure cookers mainly use materials like stainless steel to help cook food properly. Metals like copper and aluminum are easy to heat up but aren't suitable for cooking food directly as it damages them from too much heat.

The perks of stainless steel are that it's easily washable. It also doesn't heat up too much compared to other alternatives. Because of this, the quality of your food is maintained.

How to use a Modern Pressure Cooker?

With the technology that modern pressure cooker has, it's effortless to use a pressure cooker for cooking food. Here are the simple steps:

  1. Add your food and liquid in the pot - the liquid can be water or a cooking liquid. And make sure that the pot is cleaned.
    Close the lid and make sure the valves are positioned correctly
  2. Select pressure setting - All you need to do is to select the cooking program and time, and the cooker will do it for you. 
  3. Wait for the pressure to build inside the pot - for modern pressure cooker you won't have to monitor this. 
  4. Starts the cooking under pressure - The screen will indicate the cook time countdown
  5. Release the pressure - Once cooking is finished, the pressure cooker releases the pressure to cool it down.

Are Modern Pressure Cookers Safe?

Yes, these features that make pressure cooking safe.

Modern pressure cookers have added various technologies and design to make it safer than it previously was.
Of course, as a user, we also handle with care and use properly.

Modern pressure cookers have also evolved and can now cook in different styles. These new brand of the modern pressure cooker is what we call the multi-cooker. If you want to know more about this, you can read our multi-cooker article. 

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