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How to Pressure Cook

Today's pressure cookers are safe and efficient.  My favorite brands are Kuhn-Rikon and the Spanish cooker made by Fagor.  Both available at the Cookus Store!

No matter how hot the heat source, boiling liquid in the presence of air can never reach a temperature of over 212 degrees F.  Pressure cookers have a locking, airtight lid and a valve system to regulate pressure.  Steam builds up inside the pot so that temperatures as high as 250 degrees F can be maintained, which shortens cooking time.  Nutrients and flavors are also conserved.  

Be sure to use the required amount of cooking liquid.  Never fill a pressure cooker with more food than half its capacity.  Lock the lid in place, turn heat to high until pressure gauge comes up.  Then lower the heat and begin timing.  Heat may need to be adjusted to maintain proper pressure.  

At the end of the cooking time, allow pressure to release naturally by turning off the heat and waiting until the pressure gauge comes down.  You can also release the pressure by running a trickle of cool water over the top of the cooker.



Karen Kelley
Nice recipe, but when you mentioned timing, you didn't say how long!
August 24, 2008, 8:48 am

Bethany Wofford
I just got a Fagor pressure cooker and like you said in the video, it makes me nervous! this video helped, but I am wondering if it is hissing loudly, what does that mean? It makes me jumpy! And I don't really see steam coming out although there is a little. I cooked split pea soup in it for 40 minutes (actually, I think it was your recipe from the Feeding the Whole Family). Nothing exploded and the soup was great, I just don't understand the hissing. Also, I am trying to clean it properly and am confused by whether I am rinsing off the lid, or the valve after it is removed. if you have any thoughts or can point me to a video that would be really helpful!
September 26, 2010, 6:58 pm

Cynthia Lair
Bethany, If it is hissing loudly, it is likely that the heat is a bit too high. A nice soft hiss will do. Every part of the pressure cooker can be cleaned. Best to store it unlocked so that the gasket (seal) isn't working when it doesn't need to.
September 27, 2010, 8:26 am

Bethany Wofford
Thank you so much! I think the problem was that i have an electric stove, so the burner wasn't going down low enough while i heated it. so now i am starting it on one burner then moving it to another on low and that seems to be working. one more pressure cooker question - the recipes in Feeding the Whole Family (I have the purple one) have much longer cook times for the pressure cooker than what the instruction manual that came with the Fagor say. Are those recipes for an older style pressure cooker?
October 6, 2010, 10:31 am

Cynthia Lair
Bethany, I think the food tastes better and is more tender if the pressure is kept up, the heat low and the food cooks longer. Beans especially. Same pressure cookers then as now.
October 7, 2010, 2:37 pm

Glyn Tucker
Used a pressure cooker when camping - a big Kurn Ricon. Cook chicken stew for seven, drop into a bowl of cold water to depressure, water hot enough to wash dishes. As a rule of thumb divide standard cooking time by three.
July 6, 2014, 2:32 pm

Abhi Alvi
I am using pressure cookers for last 10 years. Here are few tips from an oldie. If you are using an old style one, put the weight valve on after you see steam whooshing out of the vent nozzle. Always check the vent for any clogging. If you are boiling small grains like rice, keep the level low otherwise a single grain can rise up with the foam and block the vent and create serious malfunctions. Last and the best is - when you take the lid off, immediately wash the rubber gasket with cold tap water and keep it in the fridge (- but NOT in the freezer). It'll lengthen its life span significantly.
May 27, 2015, 12:22 pm

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