All About Pressure Cooker Racks and Trivets

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 Most pressure cookers come with a rack or trivet. Racks may be made of aluminum of stainless steel, or in the case of electric pressure cookers they are just plastic.

Except for the plastic type, all metal racks and trivets are easily interchangeable regardless if they are aluminum or stainless steel. Racks and trivets come in all sizes and are generally made from stainless steel, although some inexpensive manufacturers will cut costs and supply aluminum racks, while others use wire racks. Some racks are wide enough to cover the bottom of the cookers, a good thing to have, others are so small they are almost worthless. Some racks have a rim or legs that raise the surface much higher than others and this is a desired feature, while others are scarcely 1/8 inch high and do not do a good job. Electric pressure cooker often use small plastic inserts.

 

Add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to the water to keep aluminum from discoloring,

This is a discolored aluminum rack in an aluminum canner. Note that the rack covers most of the bottom.

Whatever type of rack you have this is an important and very useful accessory to your pressure cooker .A rack or trivet serves many purposes. By raising foods off the bottom of the cooker you can minimize the chance of scorching foods. Don't limit it just for meats, use racks in soups, beans and stews as well. Racks are particularly useful for aluminum or stainless steel pressure cooker that do not have the added benefit of a 3 -ply bottom to guard against scorching foods. Racks are a necessity if you must cook on an electric stove for the some reason. A full pot will take longer to come to pressure so the chances of your food scorching is higher than with a partially filled pot and a rack will protect most of the food it this should happen. Use a rack when cooking thick sauces such a spaghetti sauce for the same reason.

If you are cooking a recipe that uses accessories, such as in my PIP recipes, pudding and cakes cooked in a mold, or cheesecakes or casserole in a dish, then you should use a rivet. Foods that are to be steamed should be placed on a rack and raised ABOVE the level of the water. When cooking several items that can be stacked, such as individual custard cups, use an additional rack over the top of the first layer of cups, and then stack the second tier on top.

If you need a replacement contact the manufacturer, racks or trivets are very inexpensive. You may also find that it is possible to use racks from other manufacturers as long as the replacement fits the width of your cooker. Cooks may want to replace an aluminum rack with stainless from another company as long as it will fit inside your cooker.

 

Some inexpensive brands don't come with a rack or trivet. You may have a substitute right in your kitchen, take a look at some of these suggestions.  If you need to use two rack to lift food higher out of the water or place on top of bulky foods like greens or cabbage a saucer may do the job for you.

Alternatives for Racks and Trivets

Example

Description

To steam foods for longer than 20 minutes, like dense puddings, several cups of water may be required. In order to keep foods above the waterline use 3-4 small, empty tuna or pet food cans. Clean the empty cans, punch a couple of holes in the bottom to allow steam to escape and then invert the cans in the bottom of the cooker. Place the rack on top of the cans and then add your food.

Another alternative to a rack is a collapsible steamer basket. Made of stainless steel, these handle baskets will fit the smallest to the largest pressure cookers. they have little feet and will add at least 1 inch or more of clearance. Some of these baskets have two tiers, but you can easily stack two separate baskets one on top of the other to team different foods at the same time.

The is a sturdy, stainless steel wire frame rack that comes with some brands of pressure cookers. It has small feet to raise it about 1/2 inch. The problem with this type of rack is that small foods such as shrimp, green beans and other cut veggies, fall through the framework.

Way back in the olden days, in the early history of pressure cookers, metal racks were a luxury not included with most brands until after World War II. Enterprising cooks used what was on hand to improvise a rack by using a heavy ceramic, stoneware, or earthenware saucer or small plate. Place the saucer in the bottom of the cooker to lift foods above the water level.

Some ornamental trivets can also serve as substitute racks.

Another handy item to have on hand for steaming in the pressure cooking is a set of small, stacking,bamboo steamers. These have a base rim that will lift the tray about an inch off the bottom. An excellent choice for steaming fruits and vegetable.

Smaller stainless steel or copper wire baskets may also substitute for a rack in steaming all manner of foods as well as recipes that call for a separate dish that van be placed inside..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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