Safety Systems on the Modern Pressure Cooker - Part 1

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Part 2


New vs Old

Fagor Splendid Stainless Steel 2-in-1 Muliti-Pressure Cooker 5 Piece Set - 918060803

Don't make the mistake of comparing today's modern pressure cookers with the old models used by your mom or your granny. The new 2nd generation pressure cookers are 100 percent safe and totally goof-proof and reliable. Not only will you find precision engineering in the new valve mechanisms, but the best qualities and durability of fine stainless steel professional cookware.

Some people are leery about pressure cookers because of the legendary tales about kitchen explosions. It's true, all true. Some really bad pressure cookers were made by unscrupulous American manufacturers right after WW II. These companies tried to stay in business by retooling their factories and switching from the production of wartime parts to cookware. See more about old, and vintage pressure cookers


Pressure cookers were extremely popular at the time and there was a huge backlog of demand, but very few companies actually had the know how to engineer and produce them. Unlike today's new pressure cookers that are stamped from a sinfle sheet of stainless steel, the old aluminum pressure cookers were manufactured using a metal casting process, and they were prone to defects and lacked most of the safety features found in the modern cookers.

US stores were soon stocked to the ceiling with boxes of new -- but defective -- pressure cookers... and thus a legend was born. What's worse, with the growing popularity of pressure cookery, some of those dangerous 60 year old malfunctioning models are being dragged out of basements and attics, and snatched up from garage sales, as unwitting bargain hunters try to put them back into service today. You can read more about the history of pressure cookers.

Safety Features

Just as there is a marked difference between modern pressure cookers and the type your grandma used, there is also a number of important safety considerations to consider between the various brands and models available today. See examples of safety features available with the old style 1st generation pressure cooker still being sold today, and the newer, modern 2nd generation pressure cookers.

Usually the higher priced units offer the most safety features, but a noted exception would be the electric models which have fewer redendant safety mechanisms than a competitively priced modern stovetop pressure cooker. If you think that buying an electric model will bring you more peace of mind because it seems more "modern" than a stovetop pressure cooker, then you may be surprised to find that isn't true. Read the owners manual carefully before you consider purchasing an electric appliance. The comparably priced modern stovetop models can offer as many as 5 and 6 different saftey features, and these are durable stainless steel, not cheap plastic parts.

With its precision spring valves and the multiple safety mechanisms, today's new pressure cookers are totally dependable and reliable, even in the hands of the most casual, novice cook. Don't worry about the old scareu stories about the day the lid blew off aunt Tilly's old pressure cooker. The modern pressure cookers are totally redesigned and completely reengeered using state of the art manufacturing, and they have a many more safety features than the old versions used in our grandmother's time, or the cheap, low end models still sold today.

Multiple safety features. There is a locking device that won’t allow the pressure lid to be removed until it's safe to do so. Dual pressure valves regulates the pressure, and there is a gasket release aperture that allows steam to be released. The flanges on the interlocking lid won’t allow steam to build up unless properly seated, and a spring loaded mechanism located inside the lid pushes the gasket away from the rim to prevent the pressure cooker from pressurizing unless the lid is properly closed and safely locked in place. There is a visual pressure indicator that clearly shows when the cooker is under pressure and indicates drop in pressure when the cooker is removed from heat and cools down to normal when there is no inside pressure and it is safe to open. Even if you left the pressure cooker over heat on high and wandered off, letting the pressure continue to build, it would just push out the gasket and make a mess on the top of your stove just like when you let an ordinary saucepan boil over.

After all that, you'll feel comfortable using a new and thuroughly modern pressurecooker for the first time, and the results will be amazing and delicious!

Read and understand your owners manual, as you become more familiar with pressure cooking experience will be your best teacher. Always do a visual inspection before cooking to be sure the lid is clean and in proper working order. To test your pressure cooker take it for a test drive before using it. If the only reason you bought ao pressure cooker was to make chicken like KFC, read the warnings and see if it's worth the risks

Don't Forget the Handles

Handles are part of the safety aspects of a good pressure cooker. I prefer models with a long handle on one side and a shorter one on the opposite because it is easier to position, lock and remove the lid. For safety reasons always select pressure cookers with handles on both sides of the pot because they're easier to lift and safer to carry when fully loaded.new1_thumb.jpg

I also like long handles which tend to be cooler than short ones. They will guard against burning your hands as they offer greater distance not only from the hot metal, for the hot stove burner because they aren't directly over the heat.

Improved Pressure Relief Valves

The new, modern pressure cookers are 100% safe, and these added safety measures make pressure cooking almost foolproof. No more noisy, rattling, hissing, spitting, jiggling pressure regulators! No more dangerous, unpredictable over-pressure plug that can explode and spray the contents all over your kitchen!

New modern pressure cookers are a closed system, and unlike the weighted, jiggle top models, very little moisture escapes. The modern pressure valves are spring loaded and may be in the form of a rising valve stem or a movable dial.

The new, modern pressure cookers use a series of safety mechanisms design to release pressure in the event of an over-pressure. If there is a buildup of pressure the excess steam is safely vented through a series of secondary valve systems

Fig1 - The first sign of too much pressure is an audible hissing from the valve stem and the appearance of venting steam.


Fig2 - Over-pressuring releases excess steam from escape holes at the base of the valve stem.

Fig3 - Should excess pressure continue, of the valve become clogged then steam is vented through a safety hole in the rim of the lid.

Fig4 - Finally high pressure will force the gasket out between the flanges under the rim of the lid.

Stainless Steel Construction Throughout

Stainless steel with a label of 18/10 (chromium steel/nickel steel) is best for durbility and a lifetime of heavy use. It is safe to use in cooking all types of foods because it will not react to high acid ingredients like tomatoes.

Stainless steel is safe to use on all types of stoves. This includes induction tops, and in an emergency, disaster or power outage you can use stainless steel cookers on any heat source from wood or coal fires, camp stoves and even outdoor BBQ grills. The base of stainless steel cookers can be washed in the dishwasher. Stainless steel does not react to foods, it will not pit or get those dark, ugly discolorations so common in aluminum.

You can also use any kind of cooking utensils without worrying about scratching the surface. Use any accessory in stainless steel cookers. Expand the usefulness of your cooker with many more recipes than you ever thought possible.

The Encapsulated Base

Often taken for granted, I enclude a heavy, 3-ply base as an important safety feature because it miniumizes the risk of sorching your food.

Top quality cookware uses a layered bottom that has an aluminum inner core sandwiched in between stainless steel to improve heat distribution. Different manufacturers all have their own trade names for this type of base, and regadless of the brand, this will enable you to safely cook for more foods and recipes than in any other type of pressure cooker.


Part 2


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Part 2