Care of the Pressure Cooker

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Cleaning the Pressure Cooker

Storing the Pressure Cooker

Annual Maintenance Checks

Dishwashers

Burnt Food

The Handles

Related Articles

Discolored Stains

Cleaning the Pressure Cooker

pc4.jpgMake sure your cooker is clean inside and out. Most stainless steel pressure cooker bottoms can be washed in the dishwasher unless the manufacturer states otherwise. When washing by hand use hot water and mild dishwashing soap and a sponge or cloth to clean the pot.

Do not use metal or steel wool scouring pad. Use plastic, non-scratching cleaning pads when needed to remove stubborn spots. For more intensive cleaning try a non-abrasive cleanser such as Bon Ami, but do not use the scratchy, abrasive cleaners. For best results on aluminum follow the manufacturers directions.

Make sure the inside of the pot is dry before putting it away. To shine the outside of stainless steel try Bar Keepers Friend, or another good metal polish.

Storing the Pressure Cooker

If you use your cooker several times a week just store in the cupboard with the lid inverted on top of the cooker bottom. Place the gasket on the lid, but not in the groove, and then lay the weight on it's side. This will help to prevent odors or molds, especially if you live in warm humid areas.

For intermediate storage or infrequent use, place the gasket and weight in a ziploc baggie and add a spoonful of baking soda. Place this inside the cooker. Add 1-2 tablespoon of baking soda sprinkled inside the pot to absorb moisture and odors. Close the lid. Store in a cool, dry place and avoid excessive, prolonged heat (like in a garage or outdoor shed) because heat will cause the sealing parts to deteriorate faster. Wash in warm soapy water before using again.

For long term storage or shipping follow the above and then wrap the cooker in plastic (a kitchen trash bag works well) and place in a cardboard box,using crumbled newspaper or packing peanuts. Seal the box with package tape.

Annual Maintenance Checks

At least once a year the entire cooker should undergo a deep cleaning and a thoroughly inspection.

Remove the gasket from the lid and examine tit closely. The gasket should be in good condition with no signs of cracking, tears or other deterioration such as gumminess or brittleness. Replace the rubber/silicon parts at the first sign of deterioration. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to order that spare gasket to have on hand when needed.

On old style pressure cookers, remove the pressure regulator weight and use a small brush or pipe cleaner to clean the inside of the weight and then the vent pipe. With a modern pressure cooker, the valve assembly needs to be completely removed, disassembled and the parts washed by hand in hot soapy water. Lay the pieces on a clean towel to dry and then reassemble. If your cooker has a nut under the lid, be sure that it is tightened as well.

Always check to see that all the attached parts, knobs and handles on the cooker base as well as the lid, are tight. Check the screws on the underside of the handles and tighten if necessary. Look for cracks on the handles and replace them if needed.

While your at it, don't forget to go through all your pressure cooker accessory pans and inserts and check that they are all in good repair.

Dishwashers

If your cooker is stainless steel the bottom can withstand the harsh detergents used by a dishwasher. Aluminum and coated aluminum should be washed by hand using hot water and dishwashing soap, unless your owners manual states otherwise. Use a sponge type scouring pad if needed, but no metallic pads. If you need to use a cleanser for those really stubborn spots use Bon Ami or another brand on non-abrasive cleanser. All types of lids should be washed by hand and not in the dishwasher.

Burnt Food

Remove burned on foods as soon as possible. While the pot is still hot, add about a cup of cold water, heating over a low flame. This is like de-glazing, as the pot heats up the burned on foods loosens. Start with a wooden scraper or a heat proof plastic spatula to loosen the burned food. Add a few drops of dish washing liquid. Use a long handles scrub brush for pot and pans, or a plastic 'scrubber' with a handle to remove the stubborn spots. Do not use harsh, abrasive scouring pads or cleansers. Bon Ami or some other none abrasive cleanser can be used on really stubborn spots. More...

The Handles

cooker0.gifThere are long handles cookers and short handled cookers. The long handles make the lid easier to open and close, and tend to be cooler since they are farther away from the heat source. The handle of a cooker generally breaks because the lid is not properly closed arrow to arrow. Another cause is when someone tries to use their muscles and force the lid open, and dropping will also crack or break handles. Turn the bottom over and look at the screw inside the handle, can become loose and the handle could come off if not properly maintained. Check for cracks on the underside of the handles and replace them is needed. To remove the handle first remove the screws on the underside of the handles. A drop of oil will gives them a longer life. Also be sure to check the attachment screws and tighten them periodically.

What Causes Dark Stains on Aluminum Cookware?

Over time, plain aluminum cookware will naturally oxidize, eventually turning to a dull gray color. Its affinity for oxygen makes it resistant to corrosion , but it also reacts with air to quickly develop a thin oxide coating. This hard, dark gray coating is found on all bare aluminum surfaces, and it also transfers easily from the tarnished cookware to countertops, sinks and other surfaces, adding to your clean-up chores. Even if you conscientiously scrub off the oxidization, the gray discoloration will quickly form again.

A commercial process called "anodizing" uses this naturally occurring process, thickens it and often adds colors to produces a very hard finish on aluminum cookware. Non-stick finishes also serve to protect the surface.

Alkali products will also discolor bare aluminum. Don't use bleach or even mild alkali cleansers like baking soda on bare aluminum. Medium strength alkalis such as ammonia, cause dark stains too. Washing soda, also called sal soda, or sodium carbonate will also stain aluminum.

Bare aluminum develops black stains from contact with acid foods which can actually eat away the surface of soft aluminum cookware and eventually cause deep pitting. Don't get all squeamish about acid foods -- if you're into canning, you know what I'm talking about -- this is just normal stuff like tomato products, most types of fruits, and just about every sort of food we eat is acidic to some degree. In fact, egg whites, baking soda, and milk are the only non-acidic (alkaline) foods we humans can safely eat. Acidic foods can cause dark, blackish discoloration in both aluminum cookware and the food that is in direct contact with the metal. Even allowing such foods to stand in the pot after cooking will result in stains that are difficult to remove.

How To Remove Dark Stains from Aluminum Cookware

Stains or discolorations can be lightened, or possibly removed, by boiling a solution of two to three tablespoons of Cream Of Tartar, plus the equal measure of either lemon juice or vinegar, to one quart of water, for five to ten minutes in an uncovered pot. Then scrub the pot with a soapy, non-abrasive cleanser on a plastic scouring pad. Repeat if needed.

Cream Of Tartar is the common name for potassium hydrogen tartrate, a mild acid salt that is a byproduct of the grapes used in the process of making wine. Cream Of Tartar has a number of uses in cooking, but it's probably best known for its ability to add volume to egg whites for that mile high lemon meringue pie you remember your grandma baking. You'll find small tins of Cream Of Tartar shelved with the spices, or sometimes grouped with bakery products at your supermarket.

To prevent stains in aluminum always add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to the water in the pressure cooker.

How To Remove Lime-Scale from Aluminum Cookware

Find out more about the care and cleaning of all kinds of cookware.

Related Articles

Try the Troubleshooting Chart to identify problems and find solutions.

Find out how to clean the spring valve assembly on a modern pressure cooker.

Find out how to clean and care for the pressure cooker lid.

Find out how to clean and care for the pressure cooker.

Find out how to clean and care for the pressure cooker valves.

Find out how to clean and care for the gasket.

Find out more about the care and cleaning of all kinds of cookware.

 
 
 

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