Cooking with some form of liquid is the most fundamental aspect of preparing food with a pressure cooker. Most pressure cookers work by building steam inside the sealed pressure pot. As such, water or some form of cooking liquid must always be used for pressure cooking. What you may or may not know is that the amount of water that you use in your pressure cooker matters and can make a world of difference to your cooking results.
How Much Water Is Needed For Pressure Cooking
Putting too much water in your pressure cooker can drown your food, therefore overcooking it. Adding excess amounts of water can also cause the pressure in your pot to build to dangerous levels. As a rule of thumb, when using your pressure cooker, you should never allow the total amount of cooking liquid inside the cooker to go beyond the two-thirds line.
The minimum liquid required for pressure cooking refers to the least amount of liquid or water needed for your pressure cooker to create enough steam that will allow it to build and maintain enough pressure for cooking your dishes through. When using a pressure-cooking recipe, always ensure that your recipe calls for the minimum amount of cooking liquid required by your pressure cooker for it to work properly.
Why do pressure cookers need water?
Pressure cookers work by keeping steam enclosed in a contained space, which then raises the liquid in the cooker above the boiling point. If there is no presence of steam, a pressure cooker will not work appropriately. Most recipes that call for pressure cooking will at least require you to use one cup of cooking liquid unless the recipe specifies otherwise.
How much water is needed for pressure cooking?
When using your pressure cooker, you should always make sure to add at least 2 cups of water or any other cooking liquid otherwise, you risk putting your pressure cooker at risk as it will not pressurize properly without sufficient amounts of water.
If you are cooking foods that expand easily such as rice, dried vegetables, and beans, you have to exercise a lot of caution. The amount of water to be used inside a pressure cooker will also vary based on the size of the pressure cooker itself. For example, you will always use a lesser amount of water in a 2-quart pressure cooker than you would add in a 10-quart one.
The age of your pressure cooker could also go a long way in determining the amount of water to be used for pressure cooking. Second generation pressure cookers typically recommend using at least half a cup of liquid while weighted cookers require at least one cup of water for every 20 minutes of cooking.
Aside from using water for pressure cooking, you can also use a cooking technique known as infusion cooking. Infusion cooking works by covering food in a well-seasoned and flavor enhancing liquid such as a broth or stock. Almost any liquid or a combination of liquids can be used for infusion cooking. Even when using the infusion cooking technique, you must always remember to add sufficient amounts of liquids in the cooker that will last throughout the cooking period.