About Pressure Cooker | Malta
Pressure cookers are one of those items that most people remember from their grandmother or aunts house; rattling around. making loud noises and shooting out steam until the food was cooked. Those where the first generation of pressure cookers, and the second generation has vastly improved upon the many features that had put people off using them.
What is a pressure cooker:
A pressure cooker is a type of sealed vessel that does not allow air or liquid to escape from it below a pre-set pressure. Just as keeping the lid on a pot allows more steam to remain in the pot and helps water boil more rapidly, the pressure cooker does the same but at a much more efficient level, due to a seal between the pot and the lid. Pressure cookers are primarily used to cook food faster than other methods, which also saves electricity/gas, thus reducing your energy bills and saving you money, as well as time.
Pressure cookers heat food quickly because the internal steam pressure from the boiling liquid creates wet steam which permeates the food. This wet steam has increased energy which transfers heat more rapidly compared to dry air, cooking food quickly.
Pressure cookers normally consist of the following parts (depending on model and manufacturer):
- Metal pan body
- Pan handles, one on each side to allow ease of carrying
- Lid handle, usually with a locking device button or slider which “clicks” shut
- Gasket (also known as a “sealing ring”) which seals the cooker airtight
- Steam vent with a pressure regulator on top (either a weight or spring device) which maintains the pressure level in the pan
- Pressure indicator pin, for showing the presence or absence of any pressure, however slight
- Safety devices on the lid
- Steamer basket
- Trivet for keeping the steamer basket above liquid
- Metal divider, for separating different foods in the steamer basket e.g. vegetables
Most pressure cookers are made from aluminum or stainless steel, with aluminum being the cheaper option – although it changes flavour when it comes in contact with acidic food and is less durable than stainless steel.
The gasket (sealing ring) is made of either rubber or silicone, forming a tight seal that doesn’t allow air or steam to escape. The only way for steam to leave the pan is through the regulator on the lid, while the cooker is pressurized. Modern pressure cookers have safety valves to provide backup escape routes for the steam to escape incase the regulator becomes blocked.
Pressure cookers are normally heavier than regular pots of a similar size, due to the force they must be able to withstand.
What is a pressure cooker used for:
A pressure cooker is basically the exact opposite of a slow cooker (click here for more information) – it cooks food in a fraction of the time it would take to cook in a regular pot.
A pressure cooker can be used to cook almost any food which can be cooked in either steam, or in water based liquids. This includes broth, wine and cream. Pressure cookers are great for quickly steaming vegetables and fish for a healthy and nutritious meal, as well as creating soups and stews. Pressure cooking can also quickly simulate the effects of long braising or simmering – an effect that normally requires hours of work, drastically reduced as made more convenient for busy and tired people.
Because a pressure cooker requires liquid to cook the food inside, it is not a suitable substitution for grilling or roasting foods, and will not achieve a crispy batter coating for example. However , since without the lid a pressure cooker is a heavy bottomed pan, it is a great multi purpose tool – allowing you to brown meat and caramelize onions, as well as sautéing and stir frying, either prior to pressure cooking or as a separate unit.
Pressure cooking is also ideal for many finicky desserts, such as custards.
For more recipes involving pressure cookers, click here
What are other uses for a pressure cooker:
Larger pressure cookers, also known as pressure canners, can be used for home canning of jams, preserves, pickled food and much more. The high pressure and steaming process ensures the jars are perfectly sealed and all the bacteria has been destroyed, thus ensuring you have a safe product that you can store in your cupboard, fridge or freezer without any concerns.
Home canning is an increasingly popular activity, after it fell out of favor with supermarket convenience. People are rediscovering the joys of making their own foods, and especially if you have any fruit trees in your garden or grow your own vegetables, canning is a great way to extend their shelf life (since getting a bumper crop of strawberries is pointless if half of them are going to spoil and get thrown out!).
Pressure cookers also make great sterilizers for items such as baby bottles, due to the high temperature that the steam uses. In fact, specialized pressure cookers called autoclaves are used by hospitals and medical facilities to sterilize surgical instruments and other equipment.
People traveling to high altitude places (such as mountain hikers) might consider taking a pressure cooker with them, as water has difficulty reaching proper boiling temperature the higher up you go. The pressure cooker might require a bit longer than it normally would to cook items, but its ability to reach high temperatures due to internal pressure allows you to cook food which might not cook in a regular pot at that altitude.
Where to buy a Pressure Cooker in Malta
You can buy a Pressure Cooker in Malta at Park Towers Supermarkets in St Julian’s and St Venera, as well as many other fresh products, consumables and anything else you may need. Park Towers Supermarkets stocks a wide variety of different brands, so there’s always something for everyone.
Park Towers Supermarkets | St Venera | San Giljan Malta
Park Towers – St Venera
(+356) 21480807 / (+356) 27480807