Pressure cooking is enjoying a massive surge in popularity due to the availability of inexpensive electric pressure cookers on the market. They're very easy to use, and they're perfect for cooking beans, whole grains, rice, and pot roast — any food that needs to be braised or boiled will cook much more quickly in a pressure cooker due to the increased temperature.
Despite stove-top pressure cooking's convenience, however, it remained a relatively uncommon cooking method. Older stove-top pressure cookers could be difficult to use, and they could even be hazardous. Thankfully, electric pressure cookers go a long way towards alleviating those problems. To learn more about how electric pressure cookers compare to the older stove-top ones, read on.
Advantages vs. Stove-Top Pressure Cookers
The biggest advantage of electric pressure cookers is that they're safer. Many people avoid stove-top pressure cookers due to the risk that they may explode if used improperly — if the pressure in the pot builds up too much, it could cause the pressure cooker to explode.
As a safety feature, electric pressure cookers constantly monitor the temperature inside of the pot. The temperature will rise as the pressure inside the pot increases. If the temperature gets too high, it typically means that the pressure is climbing too high as well. Once the electric pressure cooker senses the high temperature, it will automatically shut off in order to prevent a potential explosion due to high pressure.
In addition, many electric pressure cooker models also have a safety valve that will release pressure if it becomes dangerously high. Between the constant monitoring of temperature and the added safety valve, the risk of an electric pressure cooker exploding is minimal.
Temperature monitoring also makes an electric pressure cooker much easier to use than a stove-top pressure cooker, which is another advantage. When you're using a stove-top pressure cooker, you need to heat the contents of the pot until it reaches maximum pressure and begins to emit steam. After that, you need to slightly reduce the temperature of your burner until steam stops escaping the pressure cooker. Because of this, it's impossible to use a stove-top pressure cooker unattended — you always need to be present in order to control the temperature of the burner.
With an electric pressure cooker, all you need to do is to set the timer. It will automatically control the temperature of the heating element underneath the pot in order to maintain the required pressure.
Disadvantages vs. Stove-Top Pressure Cookers
One disadvantage of using an electric pressure cooker is that the heating element doesn't get very hot. If the electric pressure cooker uses a non-stick pot, the problem is even more apparent — the non-stick coating can degrade at high temperatures, so the heating element will be limited in how hot it will get before it automatically shuts off. The underpowered heating element means that it's difficult to get a good sear on food before you pressure-cook it.
If you're cooking pot roast, for example, it's important to sear all of the sides of the meat very well before you begin to cook it. Stove-top pressure cookers are able to do this better due to the fact that the burners on your stove will reach a much higher temperature than the heating element in an electric pressure cooker.
Thankfully, this problem can be easily circumvented by searing the meat on your stovetop before placing it inside your electric pressure cooker. You'll need to wash an extra pan, but you'll get a better sear from your stovetop.
Overall, electric pressure cookers are a great upgrade to traditional stove-top pressure cookers due to their ease of use and added safety features. If you're still using an old stove-top pressure cooker or are afraid of pressure cooking food due to the risk that a stove-top pressure cooker might explode, an electric pressure cooker is a great purchase. They're not that much more expensive than stove-top pressure cookers, and they're much simpler to use. It's one of the best cooking appliances that you can buy if you're trying to make cooking more convenient, as the higher temperature and pressure allow you to cook food more quickly than boiling it.
Contact a local supplier of cooking appliances to learn more.