Pressure Cooker Parts
Figuring out what you need in your kitchen can be overwhelming when you are simply thumbing through the catalogs and trying to sort it all out. Here’s a hint: you’re going to want a pressure cooker. It cooks well and quickly. An integral part of any kitchen, you can choose between two types of pressure cookers: a stovetop pressure cooker and an electric cooker. Determining which one is right for you focuses on how you think it’ll be most convenient for your own cooking needs.
A stovetop pressure cooker is the classic one, used since the 1940s. It’s still used in a lot of homes today and, realistically, haven’t gone through very many big changes since. Why fix what isn’t broken, right?
Stovetop Pressure Cooker Parts
A stovetop cooker is going to be used — you guessed it — right on your stovetop. It looks, for the most part, like a traditional pot with a nonstick bottom and a long handle for gripping. The parts of a stovetop pressure cooker include:
- A pressure regulator: The pressure regulator will help you adjust the pressure within the cooker as it cooks. The standard pressure to expect is 15 lbs, but you can get different maximums depending on the kind of cooker that you’re considering. The higher the pressure you can create, the “better” it’s going to be as far as cooking.
- The vent pipe: You’ll also have a venting pipe that typically has a cover or a lock on top of it (though you can have one that comes without one). When the cover sits on the vent pipe without moving or flapping, the cooker is not up to its pressure. When it starts to pop and flap to release excess air, the cooker is at its intended pressure that you’ve set with the regulator.
- The cover and sealing ring: The key to your cooker is the cover. A pressure cooker cover will seal tightly to the pot with the use of a sealing ring. This prevents removal of the top during the cooking process, and it keeps the pot itself airtight in order to get the pressure just right inside. The lid handle stays cool to the touch but locks in place to make sure that it can’t be removed while cooking.
- The body of the pot: The body of the pot looks like any other pot. It has a certain capacity, and it has a stay-cool handle. The bottom of the pot is typically nonstick, as mentioned, though some of the older ones may just be the standard steel materials.
- The cooking rack: Some cookers come with a cooking rack or a trivet. The rack holds the food off of the bottom of the pot. This prevents burning or sitting in grease or oil that comes out of the meal as it cooks. This is also designed to sit snugly in the bottom to prevent lost space or awkward fits of a mismatched set.
Another option is an electric pressure cooker. Its parts are similar, yet the form is entirely different. As far as popularity goes, this tends to be the preferred method of pressure cooking in the modern-day simply because it uses the help of a computer and smart ventilation in a lot of cases.
Electric Pressure Cooker Parts
- Pressure valve: This is where the steam comes out of the pot, much like the stovetop option. This can often be controlled in a quick release or a natural release. This is unique in that it will determine how much steam it releases at a time, allowing for more fine-tuned cooking.
- Float valve: This part is on top of most cookers where a gasket inside the valve will float up (as the pressure rises) and then seal to the cooker. When this valve is up, the lid cannot be opened. This is similar to where the handles lock together in the stovetop model.
- The cover and sealing ring: This silicone ring looks like a stovetop one, and it creates an airtight seal just like you’d expect, when in place. This is entirely removable for easy cleaning.
- The inner cooking/pressure pot: This similar to the pot of the stovetop cooker. It is usually nonstick and has a thin bottom, making lightweight. This is also completely removable from the exterior for cleaning.
- The external housing: This is the computer part of the cooker with the timers and buttons. It is electronic, and this is where the main differences come into place. You can often program this to different heats and pressures. You can set timers and even programs in certain meals that are preset. This can also be an effective tool for keeping the meal warm over time (such as classic crockpot). The features that you get will vary depending on the model and the generation.
You can find all sorts of resources online to help you determine whether a stovetop or an electric pressure cooker is right for you. Traditionally, those who grew up using stovetop ones often trust those more and prefer them. Those who enjoy the idea of following pressure cooker recipes will find that they’re almost exclusively done with electric ones, however.
As far as simplicity, there’s something to be said for stovetop cookers. Everything can be washed thoroughly and easily dissembled to repair, replace, or just a thorough cleaning after a messy meal. However, electric cookers are also convenient due to the programming and large capacity that makes it great for the modern family.
Most people don’t stop to learn about the different parts of their pressure cooker. Still, when you know what each part does and how it all operates together, you can have a better appreciation for how the cooker works as well as the importance of each one. Plus, knowing what’s wrong and what you need to repair or please is always a nice detail as well. This list of parts should help you out with that. Happy cooking!