How to Release Pressure
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There are three methods for releasing the pressure
in your cooker. Recipes will indicate which release
method to use at the end of the cooking process.
Cold Water Release Method
Fastest method, used to immediately stop the cooking
process by lowering the heat AND the temperature.
If an immediate release of pressure AND temperature
is desired, the
pot is carried to the sink and cold water run over the
lid (but not the valve). Always position the cooker
in the sink so that it is tilted at a slight angle.
Let the cold stream of water run over top of the lid,
but not directly over the vent pipe or valve, letting
it rundown the side of the cooker to cool it quickly.
If your faucet is too short to allow water to run
over the top of the cooker use the sprayer attachment
if available, otherwise partially filled with sink with
cold water before setting the cooker in it.
This method is mainly used
for food with very short cooking times, or where it is essential
to stop the cooking process as fast as possible. Use
this method for serving fresh, tender-crisp vegetables,
or delicate seafoods. Owners of electric pressure
cookers do not have the cold water option, and
that limits some of the foods and recipes they
Owners of the old style, first generation
cookers must use this method to add ingredients or check
for doneness, but it will take
longer for the cooled pot to come back to pressure.
This may result in certain
foods being over cooked.
using the cold water release
method there are a couple
of things to keep in mind.
The first is safety - carrying
any large pot full hot food
can be dangerous because
it is heavy and hot. All
pressure cookers should
have two handles for easy
lifting and carrying, but
it yours doesn't, use an
oven mitt for extra
support when transporting
the pressure cooker to the
sink. Always look to see
that you have a clear
path with nothing on the
floor that might trip you,
and make sure no children
or pets are underfoot. People
of small stature, or those
with physical limitations,
may find it easier
to slide the pressure cooker
along the countertop from
the stove to the sink.
run water directly over
the pressure release vent
or valve when using the
cold water release method.
Direct the water to the
outer edge of the lid so
that it runs down the side
of the pot. A variation
on this method is to fill
the sink with several inches
of cold water and then sit
the pressure cooker in the
cold water bath.
the pressure cooker
is removed from heat the air
molecules inside the pot
begin to cool and contract,
and if the vent opening is
blocked by the stream of
water, then no air molecules
can get inside to replace the volume. The air inside
the cooker rapidly contracts as it
cools so there is less air pressure inside the pot
outside. This creates a
very powerful vacuum that can actually cause the lid
(or the weakest area of
the metal) to collapse as
the vacuum sucks it down
inside the pot. I
know from experience that
this can happen. I
inadvertently allowed water
to run straight over the
pressure regulator on a
stainless steel cooker,
and then I heard a
loud "POP". When
I looked at the cooker the
lid was actually concave,
with a dished in depression
of about 1 inch in its center.
Quick or Touch Release Method
Quick, but not as fast as the cold water release,pressure
cookers with this option
can vent the pressure without lowering the heat
of the food.
People often confuse the quick release with the cold
water release, but they are actually two distinctly
different methods. there is a special release valve on some new pressure cookers
that allows for the rapid release of pressure by just turning
a knob or pushing
a button. This is a great feature and this method is suggested if you wish to interrupt
the cooking process to add some further ingredients
or check food for doneness. By releasing the steam this
way you can quickly open the pressure cooker without
cooling off the pot and stopping the cooking process. When
you're finished, the pressure cooker can be returned
to pressure very quickly.
Do not use the quick release method for foods that increase in volume,
froth or foam, or those that are mostly liquids, like soup
or broth because
the contents could foam, or boil up and vent through
the release valve.
Owners of jiggle top models
are cautioned never to tilt, lift or tip the pressure
regulator weight in an attempt to lower the pressure
quickly. If the weight accidentally slips or comes off the
vent pipe the contents of the cooker can be vented through
the opening in the vent pipe.
Natural Release Method
This is the slowest method to gradually drop the pressure and
the temperature to finish the cooking process.
A third method of releasing the pressure is to remove
the pressure cooker from the heat source and to allow
the pressure to subside naturally. If you are cooking
beans, potatoes, or other foods which have a skin that
you wish to remain intact, this is the preferred method.
Use the this release method for foods that increase in volume,
froth or foam, or those that are mostly liquids, like soup
or broth. Most meats and other long cooking recipes are finished
this way to complete the cooking process.
If you own an electric model, keep in mind that the
heating element will retain heat and that will prolong
the cool down period which may result in foods that
There is no hard and fast rule to determine how long
the cooling process will take. Factors such as the construction
of the base and the type of metal used, the volume and
type of foods being cooked, will affect the amount of
time it takes for the pressure to drop. An appropriate
length of time would be 15 minutes, but be patient if
it takes a bit longer and wait for the pressure to drop.
However, if you are in a hurry and can't wait any longer
than that, then use the cold water release method to
completely drop the remaining pressure.
food inside the cooker continues to cook
throughout this slow cool down process.
This method is commonly used for finishing large cuts of meat; foods that foam, froth or expand during cooking; and foods that are mostly liquid, such as stock or broth. The natural release method should not be used for
delicate vegetables or fish, or any food or recipe with very short cooking times.