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Recommended pressure cooker?

kiwijen Jan 5, 2007 02:06 PM

I'm interested in buying a pressure cooker and was wondering if you had any recommendations for a relatively low cost model? Say, under $150? If you have a more pricey one to recommend, can you explain what additional features justify the cost?

Thanks!

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  1. Magnapro RE: kiwijen Jan 5, 2007 02:17 PM

    Garage sales, I have several bought like new condition cheap.
    Presto is common and reliable,many sizes. But as are many brands. I have found several with spare gaskets etc very inexpensive. You can spend more but you don't have to. Save your money. Pressure is pressure!!

    1. c
      cheryl_h RE: kiwijen Jan 5, 2007 02:32 PM

      I have a Hawkins Futura pressure cooker. I've had it for at least 15 years and can't remember where I got it or how much it costed back then. It's served me well. I packed it up when I moved to Boston 11 years ago and forgot all about it until a year ago. I found it in the basement, gave it a good cleaning and it still works perfectly. Didn't even need a new gasket.

      1. d
        dikaryon RE: kiwijen Jan 5, 2007 06:30 PM

        While old-fashioned, rocker-style pcs (Presto et al) are easily found at thrift stores and can be made to work just fine with new gaskets or seals, modern ones are worlds easier to use, and well worth the money. Pressure is pressure, but ease of use and safety are ease of use and safety too.

        We love our Magafesa, but replacement parts are hard to find for some reason. Cooks Illustrated recommends the Fagor Duo 8 QT, which can be had for about $100 (see Amazon). Once you reailze how useful a pc will be in your kitchen, you'll know it was money well spent.

        A

        1 Reply
        1. re: dikaryon
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          georgia_jan RE: dikaryon Feb 25, 2007 03:35 PM

          I am looking for a seal for my Magafesa pressure cooker. Anyone know where I can purchase one?

        2. monkeyrotica RE: kiwijen Jan 5, 2007 07:18 PM

          I highly recommend the Presto 8 quart cooker. $80 off amazon.com

          http://www.amazon.com/Presto-8-Quart-...

          I needed to replace my Fagor 8 quart because the plastic handles fell off. They were glued on, not bolted. With all the expansion and contraction, the glue just doesn't hold up. The Presto handles are bolted. And 8 quarts is just right for my needs: anything smaller and you don't have enough room for the pressure to build on larger meals like roasts (can't fill it up more than halfway full), anything larger and it's too awkward.

          1. Joe MacBu RE: kiwijen Jan 5, 2007 09:03 PM

            Many pressure cookers do not reach the standard 15 psi used for pressure cooker recipes. Since the main reason for getting a pressure cooker is to save on time, try to find one that actually reaches 15 psi.

            I've had the Fagor Elite 8qt and 4qt set ($100 on Amazon) for a few months and they work very well. They also serve as a normal stockpot and sauce pan. They come with a 10 year warranty.

            http://www.amazon.com/Fagor-Elite-Pre...

            4 Replies
            1. re: Joe MacBu
              m
              markethej RE: Joe MacBu May 5, 2007 08:47 PM

              I SECOND te Fagor recomendation. I've had one a couple of years and love it. Also bought one for my sister.

              1. re: markethej
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                pyovino RE: markethej Jan 14, 2008 05:24 PM

                I've used a Presto for years, but just got a Fagor Rapid Express. I'm having a really hard time getting the timing right for veggies. I never had this problem with the Presto. The directions in the Presto manual were for the most part correct.
                Does anyone know how cooking times compare with these pressure cookers?
                With my Fagor, first, my broccoli was raw. The next time it was mush. 
                I feel like it's going to take a long time to figure out cooking times!

                1. re: pyovino
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                  sueatmo RE: pyovino Jan 15, 2008 01:59 PM

                  I've had a Favor for several years, after using older American pressure cookers. Lorna Sass has written a very good book about using the newer cookers, Pressure Perfect. I too had problems adjusting at first. This book, read right from the beginning, was a tremendous help. I recommend it.

                  1. re: sueatmo
                    p
                    pyovino RE: sueatmo Jan 16, 2008 05:43 PM

                    Thank you, sueatmo!

            2. RShea78 RE: kiwijen Jan 5, 2007 09:08 PM

              All American Cooker/Canner, hands down. (No gaskets) Mirro and Presto models go through gaskets way to often to suit me.

              http://www.pressurecooker-outlet.com/...

              If anyone is from the US having a nearby rural community, you may have better luck at Rural King or Farm type of retail stores.

              -----

              1 Reply
              1. re: RShea78
                KaimukiMan RE: RShea78 Dec 6, 2007 01:52 PM

                I don't think they make Mirro anymore (although mine is 15 years old and never had a problem with the gasket)

              2. jdm RE: kiwijen Jan 6, 2007 01:26 AM

                I second the FAGOR recommendation. I use mine daily.

                1. johnb RE: kiwijen Jan 6, 2007 01:17 PM

                  I have two Sitram PC's, small and large. I don't know what they cost these days, probably expensive. However, FWIW the gaskets seem to last forever. I just did about 7-8 lbs. of pot roast in the big one, with veggies, for Xmas dinner. The newer one has a low and high pressure setting. They are very heavy so make great pots for everyday pot use--in fact, that's why I bought my first one (about 35 years ago) and got the pressure ability as a bonus.

                  Generally, most advise avoiding old garage-sale PC's, (the kind with a separate weight to hold the pressure in). They aren't safe. Get a newer one that has safety relief valves. As you can tell, these have been around for quite a while anyway. Also, spring for a copy of Lorna Sass' book, "Cooking Under Pressure."

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: johnb
                    paulj RE: johnb Feb 25, 2007 04:18 PM

                    Even relatively old PCs with a rocker weight have a pressure relief valve; it's that rubber gasket in the lid with a metal insert. If the pressure gets too high (say the weight vent gets blocked), this rubber gasket will pop out. When replacing the main gasket, it would be wise to replace this safety plug as well.

                    Amazon lists this: 'Pressure Cooker Automatic Air Vent, For All Presto Cookers & Cooker/Canners Manufactured From 1957 To 1977.'
                    and a
                    'Pressure Cooker Over Pressure Plug, Made Of Neoprene (Similar To Rubber), &Pushes Into Place, Used On Cookers & Canners After 1977. '

                    paulj

                  2. m
                    Miss Priss RE: kiwijen Jan 6, 2007 02:08 PM

                    Another vote for Fagor in the under-$100 category. All of their current models are stainless steel rather than aluminum (therefore fine for acidic foods), have aluminum/stainless sandwich bottoms, reach 15 psi, and allow automatic pressure release. New gaskets are widely available. One advantage of the developed-weight type of cooker (like Fagor) over the jiggling-weight type (like the smaller Presto models) is that somewhat less liquid is lost during cooking, which makes it easier to gauge how much to use. The automatic-pressure-release feature is also an advantage; as far as I know, this can't be done with the jiggle-top types. A disadvantage is that it requires a little more experience to know when full pressure has been reached and to be sure it's being maintained. Unlike monkeyrotica, I haven't had any problem with the handles on my Fagor; they're affixed by screws, but perhaps monkeyrotica means that these screw into a fitting that's glued to the pot--I haven't disassembled it to look!

                    Anyway, all that being said, I also have a Kuhn Rikon (different size) and consider it to be worth the extra cost. The spring-valve system emits hardly any steam, so you lose hardly any liquid; the pressure indicator is very clear, so there's never any doubt about the level of pressure in the pot; you can release the pressure quickly on the stovetop; and the sandwich bottom is unusually thick--to scorch anything, you really have to work at it! This isn't a perfect PC either, but in my opinion it's about the best you can do in the US for under $200. The equally pricey WMF is also said to be very good, but I have no experience with it.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Miss Priss
                      StriperGuy RE: Miss Priss Apr 23, 2008 07:47 AM

                      I had a rotten experience with a Kuhn Rikon. The lid on mine jammed horribly through no fault of mine. Had to whack it open with a wrench. I had 10 people waiting for dinner.

                      When I tried to return it, the guy who is the head of US distribution for Kuhn Rikon was incredibly rude and a total jerk on the phone. I said I wanted to replace the one I had as it was dangerous. He categorically refused. I can't even say on line what a jerk he was.

                      I through it in the trash and bought a Presto that I have been VERY happy with:

                      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

                      1. re: StriperGuy
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                        Miss Priss RE: StriperGuy Apr 23, 2008 05:03 PM

                        Very sorry to hear about your bad experience. I contacted K-R's customer service division a couple of years ago and was completely satisfied with the response, but the problem was less serious than yours and I wasn't asking to return the item, so the situation was quite different. Well, at least you now have a cooker you like--and at an excellent price! My next one may be a Presto.

                        1. re: Miss Priss
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                          FelafelBoy RE: Miss Priss Apr 24, 2008 10:48 PM

                          It's always sad to hear of bad customer service things.

                          I have learned that unless the person on the other end of the phone has a high tolerance level for receiving anger and/or has been trained professionally and gone through desensitization trainings, being confronted by a very unhappy customer can evoke unhelpful responses.

                          I wonder what the csr's response may have been, if he had heard something like, "this is what I experienced, I know the quality of your product is very high which is why I am so upset with what I have experienced, what are my options here?"

                          My guess is that the person may have been a bit more understanding and perhaps willing to accommodate you more. I don't know, but given human nuture, most people feel better helping others.

                          When I looked at KR's models, although I had read that they are the best on the market, I noticed that their handles were not as large as those from other models such as Fagor. I like to have something to grip when I am moving the cooker and not having to be concerned with my skin touching a hot surface.

                          Hopefully you will be happy with your Presto. You may also want to consider Fagor. I wonder if your situation with the KR was covered by the warranty and why the csr didn't refer to it (unless I missed something in your original post).

                          1. re: FelafelBoy
                            StriperGuy RE: FelafelBoy Sep 10, 2011 10:15 AM

                            Your insinuation that I was anything other than polite is way off base.

                            The Kuhn Rikon guy was not a customer service person, but in fact the head of U.S. distribution. Why I ended up getting forwarded to him I have not idea.

                            He was rude and obnoxious beyond reason. I would NEVER buy another Kuhn Rihon product.

                        2. re: StriperGuy
                          j
                          jim2100 RE: StriperGuy May 27, 2012 07:58 PM

                          How would you have handled a similar warranty claim?

                          "I had a rotten experience with a Kuhn Rikon. The lid on mine jammed horribly through no fault of mine. Had to whack it open with a wrench."

                          1. re: jim2100
                            StriperGuy RE: jim2100 May 28, 2012 06:54 AM

                            Send the client a new pressure cooker. If you are the "Mercedes Benz" of Pressure cookers, and someone has a total lemon that obviously had a manufacturing problem, send them a new one. The good will alone is worth is.

                      2. j
                        jim2100 RE: kiwijen Jan 7, 2007 01:45 PM

                        Hi

                        I bought a new PC at Wal Mart several years ago for about $35.00
                        while experimenting with it I thought it was going to blow up and go through the ceiling. I first read about accidents happening and how careful one must be. I shut it down and took it right back. The next day my PC cook book came. It said for the safest easiest to use PC, Get the Swedish PC made by Kuhn Rikon, Here at Amazon.com
                        I have been very pleased with it. I have never felt nervous about using it. And it hardly takes any liquid at all, because it doesn't let much of any steam escape. You will be very pleased with it.
                        http://www.amazon.com/Kuhn-Rikon-6-Pi...>

                        1. p
                          personalcheffie RE: kiwijen Jan 7, 2007 05:29 PM

                          I can't believe no one has mentioned or experienced the electronic, programmable pressure cookers. This is the only way to go! No scorching, no watching, just set it and forget it.

                          This QVC brand is identical to Faberware, Russell Hobbs, Salton. They come in 6 and 8 qt sizes. I cannot find a link to post the machine!

                          1. 2m8ohed RE: kiwijen Jan 9, 2007 02:42 AM

                            I have a Maxim electronic programmable PC. I really like it! Bought it about 6 years ago after a bad "explosion" with an old (really old, like passed down from Mom) Presto cooker left me with serious burns on both arms. The electric cooker has been great. Only drawbacks are (1) it takes up a LOT of space, (2) not so good for browning - it does have a browning setting, but not as hot as stovetop cooking, (3) pot is not as big as many standard PCs. That said, I use it all the time and it can also be used as a rice cooker. It can be programmed in advance, which is also nice.

                            1. j
                              JackTheLurker RE: kiwijen Feb 7, 2007 11:26 AM

                              I have a Fagor, which if I had only one pressure cooker would be the one, but I also have a Farberware electric.

                              As much as I dislike the Farberware's teflon cooking surface, I love the fact that it's "set-and-forget", so I can do other things knowing dinner will be ready in 30 minutes. I only use it for recipes that don't require quick pressure release, though, since its method (manually releasing the steam in short bursts) is a pain.

                              1. a
                                alphafood RE: kiwijen Feb 8, 2007 09:05 AM

                                Pressure cookers are truly great cooking tools. Something everyone should have. I use mine almost daily.

                                A note on buying an old used one: don't. Old pressure cookers don't have the safety features that modern ones have such as multiple safety valves and, especially, a locking mechanism that prevents the lid from being opened while it is still under pressure. Stories of exploding units of yore were not a result of the unit itself actually exploding, but someone opening the lid before the pressure had been released. Can't do that with a modern pressure cooker that meets UL safety requirements. Spring-type safety valves on new P/Cs also eliminate the pressure plugs found on old units. The pressure plugs on the Prestos would sometimes release your dinner all over the ceiling. Old P/Cs also don't have dual pressure settings or quick release valves. With modern units, you don't have to drop the pressure by running cold water on the lid as with old ones.

                                Fagor handles aren't glued on; like with all P/Cs, their brackets are spot welded to the pot, and the handles are screwed into the bracket. I'd find it hard to believe that there are any pressure cookers that use bolts to fasten handles. For techie types, screws and bolts are not the same thing.

                                Kuhn Rikon is a Swiss company not Swedish. As an aside and I may be alone on this, but it is also nice to support retailers other than Amazon and Wal-mart as this creates more jobs in the economy for bookkeepers, accountants, administrative staff, small business people, etc.

                                Electronic pressure cookers operate at pressures below 15 psi and, therefore, take longer to cook and cost more to operate. You can't brown food effectively in them, and they don't last as long as regular types because of their electronics. They generally have unhealthy and easily scratched non-stick coatings. Various manufacturers are being sued over the health effects of non-stick coatings on cookware. I'd recommend doing some research on that issue.

                                Came across the website ( http://fastcooking.ca ) on Google. They sell Fagor, but it also has a lot of detailed info on pressure cookers in general including recipes, cookbooks, history, etc. The page “What to look for in a pressure cooker” is quite informative.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: alphafood
                                  monkeyrotica RE: alphafood Feb 8, 2007 09:28 AM

                                  My mistake. I meant to say the handle brackets were welded to the pot.

                                  But I can confirm that there are two smooth "rivet" type bolts that goes from the inside of the cooker to brackets on the outside. The plastic handles are attached to them.

                                  http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P...

                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
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                                    alphafood RE: monkeyrotica Feb 9, 2007 09:05 AM

                                    Very interesting. I wonder how durable that will be. The rivet goes through a hole in the pot body which means that the rivet itself has to seal the hole so that the pressure is maintained inside.

                                    1. re: alphafood
                                      monkeyrotica RE: alphafood Feb 9, 2007 10:34 AM

                                      If it makes it to the end of the 12-year warranty, it'll be $80 well-spent. My weld-handled Fagor broke after 6 years use, less than a year out of warranty. Yet both were made in China. I guess, as in America, quality control can vary widely from company to company.

                                    2. re: monkeyrotica
                                      m
                                      Miss Priss RE: monkeyrotica Feb 10, 2007 07:24 AM

                                      Interestingly (maybe), I have a pressure-cooker cookbook from the 1970's that depicts an open Presto pressure cooker whose helper handle seems to be riveted on. The photo doesn't show how the other (long) handle is attached.

                                  2. xnyorkr RE: kiwijen Feb 9, 2007 11:15 AM

                                    Do pressure cookers ever blow up? I hate to sound silly, but they scare me.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: xnyorkr
                                      monkeyrotica RE: xnyorkr Feb 9, 2007 11:39 AM

                                      The pressure locks on recent cookers make them impossible to open unless pressure has been reduced. Another reason why we don't buy old pressure cookers. Even in the case of a bad gasket, the worst that would happen would be that pressure wouldn't build up in the first place. Considering the savings in time and resources (you're cooking cheaper, tougher cuts of meat; less energy used to heat the food; and you can do things like steam corn on the cob with a half cup of water in 8 minutes instead of half an hour using gallons of water), the benefits far outweigh the risks.

                                      1. re: xnyorkr
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                                        Miss Priss RE: xnyorkr Feb 10, 2007 07:50 AM

                                        I totally agree with monkeyrotica. True, leaving the thing unattended while it's on high heat could eventually cause it to release excess pressure via the safety devices, which would expel steam from the pot and might conceivably force out some hot food as well (depending on the model), but that's very different from "blowing up". A modern pressure cooker, properly operated, is a great thing; I love mine. But I wouldn't urge anyone to use a piece of equipment that really scares them, especially if it's not necessary. Cooking should be enjoyable, not frightening.

                                        1. re: Miss Priss
                                          monkeyrotica RE: Miss Priss Feb 12, 2007 04:28 AM

                                          I find the little pressure cooker "hiss" one of those comforting kitchen sounds, like the "ding" of the waffle iron or the crackle of deep frying chicken or the sizzle of bacon. Close your eyes and it sounds like rain falling outside.

                                          My Presto user guide warns against overfilling with cooking liquid (pressure won't build up), leaving unattended while all the cooking liquid evaporates, and making sure the vent holes are clear of obstructions, and that the gaskets aren't worn out. Apart from that, it's pretty maintenance-free. It's not a set-it-and-forget-it appliance like a crock pot or one of those rotisserie ovens, but to me the benefits far outweigh the miniscule risk.

                                        2. re: xnyorkr
                                          yayadave RE: xnyorkr Feb 12, 2007 09:00 AM

                                          The two replies by monkeyrotica and the one from Miss Priss are spot on in every respect. Including the "hiss-hiss."

                                          1. re: xnyorkr
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                                            Jimmy Buffet RE: xnyorkr Dec 22, 2007 06:08 PM

                                            It would be hard for one to blow up. The rubber safety plug would blow before the cooker went. It might scare the dickens out of you.

                                            My grandmother was using a pressure cooker back in the late fifties when the exhaust vent clogged. The pressure cookers back then had a metal plug instead of the rubber safety plug. The metal plug blew and embedded in the ceiling. Grandma never used a pressure cooker after that.

                                          2. k
                                            klinger109 RE: kiwijen May 3, 2007 02:24 PM

                                            I have six pressure cookers (3 are Presto and 3 are Fagor). I purchased the Fagor because the have an extra handle to make lifting the pot easier. Both companies are reliable and both pressure cookers do an excellent job. I would not spend $150 to purchase a pressure cooker. Both companies have websites if you ever need replacement parts.

                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: klinger109
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                                              FelafelBoy RE: klinger109 Nov 24, 2007 08:38 PM

                                              I am just starting to look into getting a pressure cooker, primarily for cooking beans, instead of relying on the canned kind. I also understand that a pc is used all the time by cooks in India, and since I like Indian food, this piece of equipment might help me with my attempt to make Indian food more authentically.

                                              I noticed two sizes of Fagor pressure cookers at a store I was in today. The first one I saw, which was on display, looked HUGE, to me - it was a 6 qt size. I couldn't imagine it being used for a small recipe, such as cooking red kidney beans for a two to four serving recipe for vegetarian or turkey chili, or a 1 cup amount of chick peas. The 4 qt. size looked more appropriate for that kind of cooking.

                                              I can't fathom using that huge 6 qt. cooker for beans! I cook mainly for one person (me) and the amount of beans I'd be cooking wouldn't be more than 1 or 2 cups at a time.

                                              I could see using the 6 qt pc for cooking a small chicken or turkey parts. I already use a roaster pan which I seal with a lid for steaming chicken - same idea as the pc, but at a lower temperature; I put a small amount of boiling water in the pan, then the chicken, and seal it with the lid and put the pan in a 375 degree oven for an hour.

                                              If I have to wait at least 20 minutes for the pc to cool down, I'm not saving that much time from what I normally do when I cook a chicken or rice. I'd see the time savings for cooking beans. (The only meat I eat, which is not often, is chicken and fish.)

                                              I wonder if the smaller 4 qt pc size would be adequate for my desire to be able to cook beans in the amount of 1/2 to 2 cups? If I bought the taller 6 qt pc, there would be more space inside the container to take time to heat up, defeating the purpose of using the pc in the first place to save time for the cooking process. While a 50% increase in storage space doesn't sound like much, the 6 qt pc looked TWICE as tall as that of the 4 qt pc.

                                              I was told to not put beans directly in the water poured into the pc but rather to place them in a bowl away from the water. I have a steamer basket with little legs that raise the basket surface about two inches away from the bottom surface of a pan. Would I, and should I, use such a basket for foods such as beans, and what would happen if I didn't? Would their skins break apart or would they just turn to mush?

                                              (I have an electric stove, in case that makes a difference in cooking time in evaluating my questions.)

                                              From what I have read, the "new generation" of pc, like those made by Fagor, are more to my liking, in that, unlike an older model I had from another company, the gasket was bad, and during cooking, the pc emitted alot of steam into my kitchen. The new generation pc is supposed to keep more of the steam in due to the spring valve mechanism vs. that of the jiggler type. I wouldn't want to add more steam to my kitchen, particularly during the summer, since I don't use AC.

                                              I wonder if other people have found that the Fagor pc, that is, the Splendid model, is able to minimize steam coming out. The company's website says that steam DOES come out by the handle during cooking. I hope it's just a minimal amount. I can't see using this if it is continually spewing out steam during the cooking process.

                                              I noticed that there is a Fagor Express model also, which looks identical to the Splendid model except for its more contoured body. Fagor makes a model called Casa. It's less expensive and models I looked at didn't secure the handle when the knob dial was turned to do so. I have heard that Presto and Mirro are not as current with technology as that of the top three brands - Fagor, Kuhn Rikkon, and the other company with a name like Malega something or other. I don't need to buy just any brand just to save a few bucks, but I'm not ready or willing yet to spend the amount that buys the best - Kuhn Rikkon. From what I have read, the Fagor offers the best value. (And yet, I'm sure that many of our friends from India can vouch for the success they have had with the pressure cookers they and their parents have used for years.) I am not familiar with the quality, endurance, and efficiency of the units made by Manttra.

                                              One poster on this thread mentioned the advantage of using a pressure cooker to steam corn on the cob in 8 minutes or so versus a half hour elsewhere. I have a pan that I boil water in, then place a steamer basket in it with corn on the cob. I put the cover on, and in about4 to 5 minutes, the corn is done. The kernels are tender. Maybe you are dealing with extra tough corn kernels. Kernels when fresh can be squeezed and have liquid burst out from the pressure of just a mild finger squeeze. With this kind of tenderness, steaming in just a normal pot of boiling water should take no longer than a few minutes.

                                              How do people reconcile the "speed" of the cooking time by uising a pressure cooker with the need to wait at times an additional 20 minutes for pressure to come down and for the lid to be opened? It would seem to me that once the cooking time has been completed, there is additional cooking taking place during the "cooling down" period. One method suggested for opening the lid is by running cold water over the pc, but according to the website of Fagor, the other methods are recommended except for vegetables.

                                              And last ... Fagor sells a model line called "Duo" which allows for two pressure settings, 8 psi and 15 psi. Even they say, that the one setting of 15 psi is adequate.

                                              1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                paulj RE: FelafelBoy Nov 24, 2007 08:58 PM

                                                On your older PC, if the gasket is good (it can be replaced) there shouldn't be any steam release around the edge. There may be some steam release under the rocker weight, but if this rocking gently, this shouldn't be significant. You may be 'simmering' at too high of heat.

                                                I believe Fagor uses a spring type pressure control, which releases very little steam. But I don't have one myself.

                                                I have an older 4qt Presto, and new 1.5 qt Hawkins (Indian brand). The 4 qt is adequate for cooking for 2-3 people, but a 6 gives you more options, especially if you want to use an insert for grains, beans, or puddings. None of the books talk about large pots requiring longer heat up times. I bought the small one for camping, and have to be careful not to put too much in it (about 3 cups). The largest insert that I can use in my 4qt is a 4 cup metal mixing bowl. I set that on the trivet that came with the pot, or a slightly higher one from my rice cooker.

                                                Check the missvickie pressure cooker web site for more ideas on their use. Also look at a Lorna Sass book. While an insert can be used for beans, it is not necessary. A bit of oil is enough to control foaming.

                                                With many foods you can use a quick pressure release. With older ones, like my Presto, that is done by setting it in water, or running tap water over the edge. I believe with the Fagor you can turn a knob to release steam (though that fogs things up). Some things are better with a natural pressure drop, for example, beef is supposed to be more tender. But even with those, you can let the pressure drop naturally for about 10 minutes, and finish the job with a water or steam release.

                                                paulj

                                                1. re: paulj
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                                                  FelafelBoy RE: paulj Nov 24, 2007 10:02 PM

                                                  paulj - when you say that for a quick pressure release, you set your pc IN water? I have always read that running tap water is gently allowed to fall over the cover. Would either method not affect the structural integrity of the cooker material? I mean, the thing is very hot, and then suddenly, cold water makes contact with the surface. What if the user just allows a small amount of water to make contact with the surface, and lets the pc adust in its own time to the new temperature?

                                                  I wouldn't want to put the very hot pc in my sink. I'd think the temperature of the bottom of the pc would do something nasty to the surface of the sink. I'd rather rest it on steamer racks, or whatever they are called, that I would put in my sink and then set the pc on THAT.

                                                  You mentioned a 4 cup metal mixing bowl. Does the bowl have to be of a certain material strength to withstand the heat? Come to think of it, I think that I, too, have some mixing bowls, but I would never have guessed that they could be put to this use. I don't have "trivets." The leg supports I have are affixed to the small steamer baskets I have. I wonder if a person could make up "trivets" by constructing some sort of support either made out of aluminum foil or empty tin cans (from tuna fish) to raise the mixing bowl above the surface of the bottom of the pc.

                                                  The older pc I had was given to me by my Indian neighbor who moved out. The pc was no larger than a 2 qt size.

                                                  I have a fire alarm near my kitchen (in my small rented apt.), and I wonder if I exposed the heated pc to cold water resulting in alot of steam, if that might set off the fire alarm!

                                                  By the way, the fastcooking.ca website in one of its sections lists a much shorter cooking time for foods cooked with the natural pressure release method, so I guess it is taking into account the extra time needed for the pc to cool off during which time foods continue to cook. Other methods used to release the pressure requre longer periods of time, but the release of steam takes shorter periods of time.

                                                  The cooking of beans for 2 to 3 servings sounds like a 4 qt size would work, but in looking through the fastcooking.ca website for recipes, I see that there are ways to do soup and if one wants more than a few servings, I'm not sure the 4 qt size would work. Ideally, having a 4 AND a larger size pc is ideal - one for smaller amounts of food, such as cooking just a small amount of vegetables, and the larger size for larger bodies of food.

                                                  The time needed to cook tougher beans in a pc is amazing if the beans have been presoaked overnight. If not, they still give up a fight, even when being cooked by a pc!!

                                                  1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                    paulj RE: FelafelBoy Nov 25, 2007 08:36 AM

                                                    Yes, the food continues to cook while the pressure drops, so cooking times should take that into account. I notice often when I take the lid off after a quick cool, the liquid is still boiling.

                                                    Come to think of it, my Hawkins does release more steam than the Presto. The weight is designed to lift and release a lot of steam if pressure builds up. So there is a fine line between the slow rock and the wider swings of pressure. I've read that there is another Indian system that relies on a several whistles or bursts of steam to maintain pressure.

                                                    Does the lid of your's fit inside the pot with a gasket on its top edge? That's the Hawkins style. The lid, and the opening, are elliptical.

                                                    I've not read of any cautions about rapid temperature changes due to fast cooling. At 15psi the internal temperature is around 250F; this is only 40F above normal boiling. These temperatures shouldn't be a problem with metal mixing bowls or pudding molds either, especially since they are often stainless steel.

                                                    The thing to watch out for when running water over the pot, is that you don't want it to leak inside when the pressure drops. On the Presto, I take care to keep the water stream away from the safety valves, which release when the pressure is released. Given the lid design, I tend not to use the running water approach with my Hawkins - it is hard to run water over it without contacting the lid joint. Instead I just fill a slightly larger pot or shallow bowl with some water, and set it in there.

                                                    Also given the weight design, I can safely release pressure rapidly on the Hawkins by lifting the weight a notch with the end of spoon or stick.

                                                    I've read that the pressure release mechanism of the European brands is designed specifically to release steam away from you.

                                                    paulj

                                                    1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                      s
                                                      sueatmo RE: FelafelBoy Nov 25, 2007 04:50 PM

                                                      FelafelBoy: I own and use a Fagor, 6 qt. and find that it works fine for the two of us. I have used a small, older Presto, and it felt cramped. If I were cooking beans, I would cook the entire package at once, and use the beans for several meals. (Cook once, eat twice.)

                                                      On cooling the pressure cooker fast or slow, it depends on the recipe. If you need a fast pressure release, that is you want to stop the cooker from cooking immediately, then put it in the sink, tilt away from you, and let cool water run over the lid and down the sides. Cooks have been doing this for generations, and it will work fine.

                                                      Get hold of this cookbook, checking it out of the library, if you don't want to buy it yet: Pressure Perfect, by Lorna Sass, c2003. Consult it for proper use of any new pressure cooker you might buy.

                                                      I use my cooker on an electric glass-topped stove, and have used my old cooker successfully on an old-fashioned electric burner. Back the heat off as soon as you see the pressure regulator move up. You will get a little steam and noise, but that is normal for the Fagor, as well as the older cookers with the rocker regulators.

                                                  2. re: FelafelBoy
                                                    s
                                                    smiley1437 RE: FelafelBoy Nov 25, 2007 09:17 AM

                                                    With regard to sizing - remember that you can only fill a pressure cooker to about 2/3rds full, so that 6 qt can never have more than 4 qt of liquid in it. The 4 qt can never have more than about 2.5 quarts of liquid.

                                                    As for why the recipe recommends putting your beans in bowl, it is mostly because you can't stir your beans in a pressure cooker while it's under pressure - so, if a piece of food is right against the bottom there is a chance it can stick or burn - that's why you'll see recipes that recommend putting your beans in a bowl, it'll make sure that no beans are on bottom so you'll be less likely to break a lot of skins, scorch them, etc.

                                                    This is also a good reason to get a sufficiently large pressure cooker - you'll likely be putting bowls or pans INSIDE it, so size accordingly.

                                                    As for needing to wait 20 minutes to release pressure, the new pressure cookers can quick-release, so you don't need to wait if you don't want to. Note that there are some foods that get a strange texture or will break apart under a quick-release, for such items you should do a natural release (most recipes will tell you which way to go).

                                                    1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                      scubadoo97 RE: FelafelBoy Nov 25, 2007 11:14 AM

                                                      ""I wonder if other people have found that the Fagor pc, that is, the Splendid model, is able to minimize steam coming out. The company's website says that steam DOES come out by the handle during cooking. I hope it's just a minimal amount. I can't see using this if it is continually spewing out steam during the cooking process.""

                                                      Felafelboy, I have a Fagor Elite 8 qt and I cook for 2 people on average. I stopped buying chickpeas for hummus and cook my own. The 8 qt will hold the typical bag of dried chickpeas in the grocery. This makes about as much as 3 cans of cooked chickpeas. I don't think a 6 qt would be too big for one person since you can do so many other things in it as well and you never want to fill more than half way. You can put the beans directly into the pot without any problems at all. For the steam that escapes around the handle, you can minimize that by turning the heat to a very low simmer so that you maintain the pressure of 15 psi and the yellow indicator remains in the up position. More heat only results in more steam escape without changing pressure or temperature. This is easy to achieve with a gas range.

                                                      1. re: scubadoo97
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                                                        FelafelBoy RE: scubadoo97 Nov 25, 2007 05:31 PM

                                                        Seems like the 4 qt size would have limited uses. It's just that on first look, the 6 qt pc looks so tall. Given that it can be filled up only 1/2 way, that does make a difference, especially for soups.

                                                        I noticed that the diameter of the base is 9 inches across. My electric stove consists of three small burners and one large one. The large one's diameter is about 7 inches across. I wonder if the smaller size (7 inches vs. 9 inches) would affect cooking time at all. I guess one's the pressure is built up, it wouldn't make much of a difference.

                                                        I do have some smaller metal mixing bowls that would fit in the 6 qt pc, as well as a steamer basket that has support legs. One of the mixing bowls has a base that the bowl sits on, so that base would lift it off the bottom surface.
                                                        The other bowls are simply round bowls which I would have to secure in some way, otherwise they'd probably be rockin' and rollin' during the cooking.

                                                        I read in one of Lorna Sass' cookbooks on pressure cooking, that a makeshift trivet can be made out of rolled up aluminum foil that is shaped in the form of a ring, which serves as a base for a bowl placed on top of it.

                                                        I once cooked chick peas in a pot and the process took hours. The difference in taste of the hummus made from the fresh canned chick peas didn't seem to justify the added length of time it took for the fresh version. But if the pc can do the job much faster, I would be willing to use the fresh chick peas.

                                                        I understand that a bowl would not be needed for making other Indian dishes, where sauteeing of onions and other ingredients are done first, and then other ingredients are added next.

                                                        A steamer basket would come in handy for steaming some vegetables. The only vegetables that I might consider doing in a pc versus in a more traditional pot would be tougher greens such as kale, which takes me about ten to 15 minutes in a sealed pot of continually boiling water. Corn on the cob takes me under five minutes, and broccoli barely a few minutes, so a pc would not be needed for them.

                                                        The greater number of cookbooks I saw in my local bookstore devoted to "slow cookers" vs. that of pressure cookers amazed me! I saw maybe three books devoted to pressure cookers (one was from the "dummy" series) vs. at least twenty if not many more devoted to "slow cookers." I know that crockpots were the rage and maybe even more popular today.

                                                        Of the two stores I have been to, one had Fagor Splendid pc in the 4 and 6 qt size, as well as the Casa brand (Fagor's cheaper brand) 6 qt size, and the other had Fagor Duo' 6 qt, 8 qt, and 10 qt selection. I think the larger department stores carry the Denmark (?), Mirro, and Presto brands.

                                                        1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                          scubadoo97 RE: FelafelBoy Nov 26, 2007 08:53 AM

                                                          The Fagors are nice pots and I don't think you could go wrong. Again I would go with a 6 qt over the 4. I have done short ribs, lamb shoulder steaks for a lamb curry and lots of beans and I am so far very impressed with the results of the PC for these jobs. I love the idea having black beans or braised meats on the fly. I can do these in short order when I get home from work and have dinner on the table in an hour or so. Opens up a a lot of possibilities for dinner without a lot of planning.

                                                          1. re: scubadoo97
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                                                            FelafelBoy RE: scubadoo97 Nov 27, 2007 08:41 PM

                                                            I forgot to ask if anyone has used the pc for beets, and if the color leaves a tough stain to remove! I have read of ways to clean pc (using Bon Ami is supposed to be helpful), and I think cooking beets would present the toughest color to clean.

                                                            Supposedly, cakes and other similar type foods, such as cheesecake can be cooked in the pc. The width of the interior space of the Fagor pressure cookers is7 7/8 inches. That's not much space for a bread pan!

                                                            I have read soup recipes for pressure cookers that serve four that require about 6 to 8 cups of liquid. The maximum number of cups for liquids in a 4 qt pc is about 8. If solid foods are added to the liquid, there is room for an additional 2 2/3 cup, I figure (the maximum number of cups for solids is 10 2/3, using the height restriction of 2/3 full). So, a 4 qt pc can be used to make soup, but for a 4 serving recipe, the limit of food content will be nearly maxed out. I'd think the 4 qt size would be fine for smaller dishes for one or two servings. The thought of making fresh soup in about ten minutes, though, in a small cooker, excites me!! (Almost like the VitaMixer's ability to make soup in minutes.)

                                                            1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                              paulj RE: FelafelBoy Nov 28, 2007 03:25 PM

                                                              To cook at pressure you only need enough water (that includes juices that might be rendered out) to produce and maintain the steam. The exact amount will depend on how long you are cooking it, and how well the cooker retains the steam. But regardless we are talking less than a cup.

                                                              If you figure on a cup of liquid per person, then a 4 person batch only needs 4 cups, well within the 1/2 full limit of a 4 qt cooker. If you need a larger batch you can use more solids and flavorings during pressure phase, and adjust the liquid quantity afterwards.

                                                              As an example, the Hawkins cookbook calls for 200 ml (less than a cup) when cooking a steamed pudding (in a mold) for 18 minutes.

                                                              I believe the 'missvickie' site has spring form pans that can fit in pressure cookers.

                                                              paulj

                                                              1. re: FelafelBoy
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                                                                FelafelBoy RE: FelafelBoy Dec 10, 2007 10:07 PM

                                                                For what it's worth - my latest research ...

                                                                A bowl of soup is the equivalent of about two cups of liquid. (not much per my appetite). If one is extra hungry for soup, we are talking 4 cups of liquid.

                                                                Using a stock/steamer pot that is about 7 1/4 wide (just a little bit less wide than the 7 7/8 pressure cooker pot width), 4 cups of liquid fill the pot up near a level of 1 1/2 inches high. Each two celery stalks raise the level another 1/4 inch, as do two carrots. Add one large potato, another 1/2 inch level in the water height. An 8 oz. bag of uncooked beans (about 1 1/2 cup) raises the level another 1/4 inches.

                                                                For a soup made in a 4 qt pressure cooker having a height of 4 1/4 inches, the liquid level is to be no higher than 2 1/8 inches. If a soup's ingredients called for nothing else than plain liquid and one or two vegetables, this pot should work, but I'm thinking that the addition of SEVERAL ingredients would raise the level above the cautionary level advised by pressure cooker manufacturers.

                                                                On a cold day, I have no trouble consuming two bowls of soup. My minimum recipe for two servings (one for the next day) would justify a minimum of at least four cups of liquid. If dry beans were part of the mixture, they are going to double in size compounding the confusion here with measurement!

                                                                When soup is being cooked, how much water is lost (when a "second generation" pc, such as a Fagor model) during cooking at high pressure, for every 5 minutes? (The figure I got from one of the books was to use one cup of liquid for every 10 minutes of cooking. I didn't know if that meant that the entire amount would be aborbed/evaporated, and if that would apply to a recipe involving soup.)

                                                                I don't know if the "climate change" (or "global warming" as some people prefer to describe the current weather phonema) spokespeople have taken into account the items I have. Should ice melt to the extent some of them are predicting causing water levels to increase, they may want to consider the kind of scientific research I have done using carrots, celery, potatoes, and bags of beans. They may need to adjust their figures.

                                                                Should climate change in the future affect sea levels as adversely as some predict, I will be less concerned with the liquid level in my pressure cooker.

                                                    2. h
                                                      heWho RE: kiwijen Nov 28, 2007 09:37 AM

                                                      I'm kind of coming late to the party here, but I'd like to throw in a quick plug for the Cuisinart electric pressure cooker I recently acquired. It's under $150... ok, it's a penny under ($149.99 at W&S), but it's a marvel. You simply put your food in, set the timer and temp (high or low), and let it do its thing. After the food is finished you can have it quick-release the steam or you can just let it come down to temperature (or a combo of the two). It's like a reverse crock-pot. I believe you can also have it start on a timer, but I haven't tried that out yet.

                                                      The one big advantage here is safety. There's no danger of gathering too much pressure or releasing too quickly.

                                                      18 Replies
                                                      1. re: heWho
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                                                        FelafelBoy RE: heWho Nov 30, 2007 08:41 PM

                                                        A Manttra model and the Fagor Duo model offer two pressure settings, (high and low, though the Manttra's high setting only gets the pressure to 12 psi) with the low setting getting the pressure to 8.5 and 8 psi respectively. If you had a pressure cooker with just the one setting and wanted to pressure cook a particular food, be it a pudding or a more fragile food at a lower pressure setting, is it recommended to simply pressure cook the item at a time frame of 25% less or would you fine tune bringing the pressure cooker up to a little less than full pressure?

                                                        A previous post said that unlike the jiggler/rocker pressure indicator mechanisims of some pressure cookers, the Fagor uses a springlike yellow button that indicates the pressure. Am I correct in understanding that the button needs to be in the up position all through cooking indicating that there is sufficient pressure? If the button is initially popped up as pressure is reached and then the pc is moved to another burner of a lower temperature, wouldn't the yellow button pop DOWN? If it moves down, how do you know if sufficient pressure is being maintained on this kind of a pressure cooker (given that you will not have any of the whistle and/or rocker indications, namely, no audio feedback signals)?

                                                        1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                          scubadoo97 RE: FelafelBoy Dec 1, 2007 05:21 AM

                                                          When you move the PC to the lower burner there will still be enough heat to maintain the pressure. I can set mine to a very low simmer after pressure is achieved and not lose pressure at all. I set mine so I get a minimal amount of steam being released from the over pressure valve. More heat just results in more steam being released so you are losing water which is something I don't want to do.

                                                          1. re: scubadoo97
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                                                            FelafelBoy RE: scubadoo97 Dec 2, 2007 05:23 PM

                                                            Lorna Sass in her book, "Pressure Perfect", recommends that prior to the first use of one's pressure cooker, that the user tests his/her pc by doing a test run with 4 cups of water where the pc is brought to full pressure and allowed to cook for 20 minutes, then brought down to cool through the quick release method using cold water released on top of the pc, the remaining water poured into a measuring cup to determine how much water the pc released as steam. The water is returned back to the pc and the process is repeated two more times, since according to her, a different amount of water may be released as steam in subsequent cooking.

                                                            I'd never think of testing the pc for this puprose, but I guess this method would give you a better indication of how much water would be needed per cooking time. For those of you who have used a Fagor 4 qt or a 6 qt (I assume that the models will work the same wherever they are bought), have you determined exactly how much water is lost per five minutes of cooking time?
                                                            This testing is useful in informing the cook what the minimum amount of water is needed per time before scorching takes place. (I don't think Lorna Sass took into account situations where fluid is coming out from the food itself, which would affect the time/water ratio.)

                                                            I have just skimmed two of her books, and many of the recipes are meat oriented. I know she has a vegetarian book, so I will probably look into that in the future. Most of the Indian cookbooks I have been reading at the major bookstores (and there are some excellent books in the "bargain" section of the major bookstores) do not refer to pressure cooking, but I'm sure the beans came from pressure cooking. I understand that the cooking time would just be reduced by 2/3. Some Indian recipes call for various steps in which spices are cooked, and foods added at various stages. So many south Asian Indians use pressure cookers, that I'm not concerned that these recipes can't be converted in a meaningful way.

                                                          2. re: FelafelBoy
                                                            h
                                                            howboy RE: FelafelBoy Dec 2, 2007 11:26 AM

                                                            I'm single, and I use a Fagor 6 qt...love it. I'd also recommend this site:

                                                            www.missvickie.com

                                                            It's a great site devoted to using PCs

                                                            1. re: howboy
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                                                              FelafelBoy RE: howboy Dec 2, 2007 05:39 PM

                                                              Have you used your 6 qt for just a one serving dish, and doesn't the small amount make it more difficult?

                                                              Have you made soup in this pc?

                                                              Have you tried to substitute shorter cooking times for recipes that call for a "low" pressure setting (at 8 or 8/5 psi) and been successful?

                                                              There are limited accessories for this sized pc. Presto and I believe Manttra include a trivet and steamer tray. Fagor does not for the 4 and 6 qt models.
                                                              I have seen a few of the accessories for this pc. I have two small metal mixing bowls which I could place on a steamer basket I have (which doesn' t have the inner pole in the middle so it allows me to rest something in its base without obstruction). Many stores now carry small mixing bowls with a RUBBER base to keep the bowl more stationary on a counter top, but not helpful for placing inside a pc!)

                                                              What do you use for a trivet? How do you remove your bowls out from the pc?
                                                              I saw, I think it was on the Missvickie site, a handle one can make out of aluminum foil wrapped under a bowl and over the top, to help the cook remove the bowl.

                                                              I became aware of something by reading part of Lorna Sass' book that I wouldn't have thought of ... if you have to remove the cover for a short time to do an additional step, and then have to cover the pot again, Sass says to place the cover upside down on a heat resistant surface. I realized the reason for this ... after some minutes of cooking time, even though the cover can be released, it is probably very hot, and placing it face down on a countertop could damage the counter top. Would you place it on a baking steamer tray for cooling? Since it's so hot, would you still need oven mitts to turn it around to grab the cover handle top? I know these questions may sound elemental to you, but since you have already gone through these steps, it would be useful to hear of your experience!

                                                              How long does it take for your 6 qt to come to full pressure with a cup of water in it?

                                                              Have you cooked beans (like kidney beans or chickpeas) in it? After a night of soaking, does the pc cook these in 10 to 15 minutes (along with time needed for the natural release method of another 20 minutes)?

                                                              1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                paulj RE: FelafelBoy Dec 2, 2007 06:32 PM

                                                                In my 4qt Presto as standard folding leaf steamer basket fits, and I have used it for cooking squash and sweet potatoes. Also for heating frozen Chinese buns. It is too tall, though, to use with a 5 cup mixing bowl.

                                                                The foil lifting strap does not need to be elaborate - just a piece of heavy duty foil (wide) folded several times to make strip about 3 inches wide, and wide enough to fit under the bowl and rise several inches above the bowls rim.

                                                                I haven't done a test for steam loss. Tonight a cooked 3 mediums size potatoes (about 3 servings of mashed), diced, with 1/2 c or so of water (I didn't measure). After cooking (3 min), I drained off about 1/4 c, and mashed them in the pot. I used less water to cook the potatoes in the PC than I would have used in a sauce pan.

                                                                When I take the lid off the PC I often set it upside down on top of another pot - that is, with the steam vent pointing down. The Presto PC has long plastic handles, so I have no trouble handling either the pot or lid. The Hawkins PC has metal in the handles, which is exposed in a few spots. That metal does get hot, though not enough to burn. I suspect the Fagor lid is equally easy to handle.

                                                                Once the water in a PC has come to a boil it does not take very long for pressure to build. I've never bothered to time it.

                                                                paulj

                                                                1. re: paulj
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                                                                  FelafelBoy RE: paulj Dec 10, 2007 08:56 PM

                                                                  In re-reading these pressure cooker posts, I finally got what you said about using another pot as a resting place for the hot lid of the used pressure cooker. Ingenious solution!! It allows the steam to be "absorbed" into another space versus going into the surface of a counter top. I may have eventually come across that solution, but given that it took my years to find a fast and simple way to rinse out the inside of a blender without putting it into the sink, I'm not sure if I would have come up with this solution that quickly.

                                                                  I had forgotten that the Fagor model does have a long handle with which to grab the lid, making it easier to maneuver both right side up and upside down. With my comparison shopping, I had merged its design with some other manufactures that have much smaller handles for their lids.

                                                                  The book, "Beyond Pressure Cooking", uses the simple techinique of either pc'ing beans first, then throwing them back in with the other ingredients to be cooked after the onions, and garlic are sauteed, and sometimes some spices, and then pk'ing the mixture. For more fragile legumes like lentils, it's just a simple two step procedure of sauteeing first, then adding the other more solid ingredients to be pc'd along with some liquid like chicken, beef, or vegetable broth. Sometimes, more tender vegetables like spinach are added after the lid has been removed and allowed to cook for a few minutes. (I'd think for a one or two serving meal, being able to add such vegetables would be much easier to do in a small 4 qt cooker than a taller 6 qt or taller one, unless the cook is preparing a meal for at least 6 servings.

                                                                  For meats, the book directs to brown the meat, then remove, then follow the procedure mentioned earlier. I don't have the soup technique down. My guess is that it would just be sauteeing some onions, garlic, adding some spices for a very short time, then adding so many cups of water, bay leaf, some chopped vegetables, cover the lid, and cook.

                                                                  1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                    paulj RE: FelafelBoy Dec 10, 2007 11:12 PM

                                                                    A minor point - when using the pc, sauteeing onions doesn't seem to be quite as necessary. Obviously if you want to develop color and flavor do so, but if you just want to soften them, the pc seems to do that fine without the sautee step. It may be that onions soften best at a temperature somewhat above boiling point of water, hence the common sautee step (where the fat gets hotter than water).

                                                                    Browning the meat is also for flavor and color. You can simplify the pc use by skipping the browning, and using flavored liquids and sauces to give color and flavor (e.g. soy sauce). With a deep pot like a pc, turning the meat to get it browned on all sides can be a bit of a pain. Plus, if you aren't careful, you can crowd the meat. When this happens it starts to stew in its own juices rather than brown.

                                                                    paulj

                                                                    1. re: paulj
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                                                                      FelafelBoy RE: paulj Dec 21, 2007 11:23 PM

                                                                      An update - for convenience and focusing on my most immediate interests (cooking a small amount of beans and making individual Indian dishes, like dals), I opted out for the smaller 4 qt Fagor.

                                                                      To my surprise, I thought it was made in Spain, as was marked on the Casa brand made by the same company, but I believe this model, made for Macy's (Elite brand) was made in China. I thought this was the case when I read through the manual, which is very good and detailed, and noticed two misspelled words which indicated a non-English speaking source and a lack of a minimum word editor's input before publishing.

                                                                      I did a test run as instructed by L. Sass in her "Pressure Perfect" book, and heated up 4 cups of water. I was amazed how quiet the cooker ran when it was pressured up, and that little yellow button did pop up. I switched burners to a setting of "low" (from warm, low, 3,2,high), and it was running quietly and with hardly any steam coming out, and then I heard some spurting and saw water coming out near the handle, so I had to lower the heating temp down to the warm setting to keep things under control. After 20 minutes, I took the cooker to the sink and poured a little bit of cold water over the lid. I was surprised that within 30 seconds, the yellow button dropped down, and I was able to remove the lid. I could have sworn I measured out about 4 cups of water to put into the cooker. After 20 minutes, my measuring cups showed that I now had MORE than 4 cups of water!! In any case, I think only a minimum amount of water was loss during the 20 minutes of cooking.

                                                                      I was very impressed with the quietness of the cooker and the small amount of water and steam that came out during cooking. I will have to keep an eye on the heat settings on my old electric stove from my experience with this test run. Maybe just keeping the setting on "warm" will be sufficient to keep the cooker at pressure.

                                                                      When I emptied out the water, I did notice two small black spots on the metal surface that weren't there prior to the first run with just tap water being brought to pressure. I didn't feel any surface roughness, but rather it looked like some color reaction as a result of who knows what. I did notice a small amount of white powder left on the surface of the metal interior, which may be from the calcium deposit from my water. It is on the hard size. I thought maybe the calcium combining with some imperfection in the steel itself may have caused the discoloring. I took a little dishwater detergent (mild) and used a sponge to clean it. It helped a little. The manual does refer to adding some lemon juice and water and bringing the cooker to pressure for 15 minutes in cases of discoloring. I wonder if you have ever had such need for this. I just wonder what chemical process would cause stainless steel to discolor.

                                                                      Have you ever heard of this discoloring just from the heating of tap water in a new cooker? When I got the cooker out for the first time, it's surface looked brand new. I didn't want to wash the interior as the guidebook instructed "before the first use." (I assumed this meant for preparing food that was to be consumed. I understand the need to say that for health reasons.).

                                                                      The manual also instructed using vegetable oil, such as Canola Oil, on the gasket after use. I will follow that instruction when I use the cooker for actual food preparation. I understand the reason for that is probably so that the gasket doesn't dry out. The manual refers to the gasket as "the rubber gasket" but the order form refers to "silicone" gaskets, and the gasket that came with this cooker does look exactly like the gaskets I have seen at one store in particular with the same model number and is labeled as a "silicone" gasket. This material looks different from the material used in the gaskets I have seen in new pressure cookers made by other companies, such as Presto and Manttra, and Denmark.

                                                                      Do you oil your gasket after each use?

                                                                      I was surprised to read in the Manual recipes for soup for this sized cooker. I did some measurement and found that the cooker could be filled half way with the inclusion of 6 cups of water, 3 carrots, 2 stalks of celery and one whole potato. I didn't know how high the water level would be with the inclusion of such vegetables in that quantity, so it may be possible for me to experiment with soups at least on a smaller scale.

                                                                      I know why the 6 qt is recommended for soups and for larger amounts of meat. The manual does state that a 3 lb. chicken will fit in this cooker.

                                                                      Interesting finding that my stove took about 7 minutes to bring 4 cups of water in the cooker to pressure. I reminded myself that if I had a cooker made of aluminum only, of a thinner material, that the water would come to a boil much faster, but the additional time needed for boiling is the price paid for a better bottom that will be less likely to burn food.

                                                                      I noticed, too, that when I lifted the cooker to move it from one burner to another, as well as bringing it over to the stove, the position of my hand on the lift handle caused steam to come out somewhat, due to the pressure imbalance I was placing. I guess I should have used the support handle during the transportation. I felt safer jand strong enough to just handle the cooker as I did!! In reading through the manual, it struck me as not coincidental that the shorter handle is called the "support handle!"

                                                                      I'd appreciate your feedback on the small "black spots" I saw from the initial cooking. Perhaps you had it, too, and if I should just overlook it as some insignificant characteristic of the metal/steel composition rather than something that might worsen in time.

                                                                      I was impressed with the cooker from this first run, and look forward to eventually using it to cook beans in the near future. From there, I may venture out to more complicated things.

                                                                      1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                        scubadoo97 RE: FelafelBoy Dec 22, 2007 05:16 AM

                                                                        FB, I have not had the dark spots that you mentioned in mine. I also have the Elite from Macy's but it's the 8qt. I do rub a little oil on the gasket before putting it away. My cooker has a disc bottom. That increases the time to bring water to boil but allows it to retain heat better with less over heating of the sides of the pot.

                                                                        1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                          paulj RE: FelafelBoy Dec 22, 2007 09:38 AM

                                                                          I just did the 20 minute test on my cookers. The old rocker Presto (new gasket) lost 150ml out of 1000, the small Hawkins (Indian rocker style) lost 50ml out of 750ml.
                                                                          paulj

                                                                          1. re: paulj
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                                                                            FelafelBoy RE: paulj Dec 23, 2007 09:26 PM

                                                                            paulj - from your test, the Indian rocker style design is more effective in keeping steam from escaping than the Presto "old rocker" design. What is different in their design if they are both rocker-type valves?

                                                                            Do you oil your gasket after each use? And if you oil it, but don't use your cooker for awhile, couldn't bacteria build up on the gasket's surface?

                                                                            I had heard that the spring valve design of the Kuhn-Rikkon models are the best for keeping almost all the steam in, followed by the Melag... model, followed by the Fagor models. From what I experienced, I was truly amazed at how little steam was emitted. I was also surprised at how heavy the cooker was to lift!! I hope to be equally impressed (and surprised) when my first attempt at cooking beans comes out better than canned beans. I intend to include a garlic clove and a bay leaf. Maybe a small piece of kombu to tenderize the bean, but maybe the first time around I'll leave out the kombu to see how tender the beans get on their own without assistance from the kombu.

                                                                          2. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                            s
                                                                            sueatmo RE: FelafelBoy Dec 22, 2007 12:43 PM

                                                                            Oh good, you bought a cooker. I have had my 6 qt. Fagor for several years. I have never oiled the gasket. I think I will now; your post reminded me that I should. But please know that you don't have to do this every time you cook.

                                                                            And I could swear that my Fagor can be filled 3/4 full unless I am cooking beans, which foam. I add a little oil to the beans as well.

                                                                            And I never use 2 burners. I have found that if I back the heat off to med as soon as the yellow knob rises, my cooker does fine. I have a glass top stove. It did take me a few uses to find that procedure.

                                                                            Have fun with your cooker! Feed yourself well.

                                                                            1. re: sueatmo
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                                                                              FelafelBoy RE: sueatmo Dec 23, 2007 09:46 PM

                                                                              sueatmo - 3/4 full! You are brave. Every cookbook and site I have visited have instructed to never fill a cooker more than 2/3 full.

                                                                              I assume by 3/4 full you are referring to a solid food, such as a roast or chicken with a small amount of liquid in the bottom of the cooker to produce steam.

                                                                              What do you use your 6 qt for? Have you made soup in it, and do you have any advice for me with making soup in my 4 qt. As I posted before, I found that the 1/2 filled level was reached in this sized cooker by adding 6 cups of water, 3 carrots, 2 stalks of celery and 1 whole potato (which if I omitted, could be replaced with the more common food added to food - an onion ... for 6 cups of water, I doubt an onion the weight of a potato would be appropriate, allowing me room for some other veggies, of lighter weight, like parsely and other veggies.)

                                                                              Do you normally make enough in your 6 qt cooker for at least several servings so you have plenty of leftovers, enough to freeze? What about the times where you just make one serving, such as cooking just 1/2 cup of dried beans? Have you found the small amount a bit awkward to deal with versus a larger amount in the cooker? (To speed up things, I have even thought of using my small sauce pans that just have a thin copper bottom to cause water to boil faster, and then put that in the cooker!)

                                                                              If you do make soup, how much liquid is lost during the cooking process, in other words, if you pressure cook the soup for about 30 minutes and start with 8 cups of liquid, how many cups do you have at the end of the process? I might assume little difference due to the liquid that is extracted from the vegetables. If I'm not doing a broth, I intend to use an immersion blender to liquify some veggies in the liquid such as carrots when I get adventurous enough to try a carrot ginger soup.

                                                                              The manual instructs not to use the cooker for oats and some other peas that might clog the valve. Ditto with sliced apples for making applesauce. Have you tried these? I have heard that due to the heavy disc bottom, that this kind of cooker CAN cook these kinds of foods without problems.

                                                                              Your stove sounds more modern than mine and the change in temperature as a result of manual intervention on your part may come faster than that of my stove. I was surprised to see that the cooker started spurting steam after some minutes on the "low" setting. I think if I kept it on the same burner, it might start overreacting during the time of the temperature drop and I'd have to move the cooker to another burner anyways.

                                                                              Do you ever have to clean the operating valve on the lift handle? The manual instructs to always check it before use. There was also some mention of unscrewing valves occassionally for cleaning?

                                                                              Did your manual also refer to rubber gaskets? Aren't you left with the impression that these gaskets are made of silicone, and that the reason for less steam coming out during cooking is due to the tight fit and the good construction? I had thought that given the opening for steam to escape in the lift handle and in the operating valve (there is an opening to let steam out by using the quick release technique), that steam would come out when the cooker came to pressure, but it only did, when it exceeded the minimum amount needed to stay at pressure. Once I lowered the temperature on the burner, the yellow button still stayed up but hardly any steam came out.

                                                                              When taking your 6 qt cooker over to the sink for cold water quick release, and if it is filled near to the top with liquid, when you tilt it "at a 45 degree angle" (as instructed), have you ever had times where the angle allowed inside water to start leaking out the side? In my first attempt at doing this technique, I held the cooker with one hand on the lift handle and used the other to release cold water. I had no idea how hot the cooker was and I didn't know if the bottom of the sink would object to being zapped with extreme heat. I had even thought of placing the cooker on a steamer/baking tray to protect the bottom surface of the sink. Next time I intend to use both handles during the moving.

                                                                              1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                                paulj RE: FelafelBoy Dec 23, 2007 10:55 PM

                                                                                In the context of pressure cooker seals, silicone and rubber are not mutually exclusive. A silicone O ring is actually a type of silicone rubber, one which has good higher temperature properties.

                                                                                It the seal is in good shape, there shouldn't be any steam escape around the rim. The only escape should be via the pressure control mechanism, and that should be next to nothing with the spring loaded variety.

                                                                                Given the lid seal is good enough to keep steam from escaping, it shouldn't let any liquid escape either. Still, I'd avoid tilting the cooker so much that the liquid would come up to the rim level - if for no other reason that is will easier to clean.

                                                                                I just set the Presto in the sink (metal) in a comfortable position, and run a gentle steam of water over the outer edge of the lid, making sure that it stays away from the valves. Due its lid design, I don't run water over the Hawkins, instead I set it in a shallow pan of water. The weight design on the Hawkins also allows me to lift it slightly, and let steam escape in a controlled manner - almost as good as the steam release valve on the European designs.

                                                                                1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                                  s
                                                                                  sueatmo RE: FelafelBoy Dec 26, 2007 07:52 PM

                                                                                  Well, I think I remember that the manual said, 3/4 full. Perhaps I can rummage around and find it to double check. I fill the pot with whatever I want--beans, soup, potatoes. (I use the basket for potatoes.)

                                                                                  You know, I've used cookers for years, and I just didn't worry about how or what to fill it with. I just make sure there is room at the top, and truthfully, I haven't filled it much past 1/2 very many times.

                                                                                  I would never cook cereal in a cooker. I did try rice once, and I hated the result. I do add a little oil to the beans, though.

                                                                                  On the temp changes needed to slow the cooker down, just pay attention to the pressure regulator. When it comes up move the cooker over, or turn it down, whatever works for you. Mindfulness is the key here.

                                                                                  I've looked at the valve, but I've never cleaned it. I've never unscrewed anything on my cooker.

                                                                                  My Fagor puts out steam after I lower the temp. If the cooker is sort of sputtering, or not making noise, it needs to be on a hotter burner. My Fagor makes noise when it cooks; it makes a steady psssssst sound that you can hear from an adjoining room.

                                                                                  I've never had water spillage on a quick pressure release in the sink. I just put the pot in the sink, and run cold tap water over the top. I don't tilt the pot until I can take off the lid. It is true that liquids will still be quite hot, even boiling, but this operation is easily done

                                                                                  6 qt cookers come with a helper handle and so are easier to lift to the sink.

                                                                                  I remember that it took several weeks to get the hang of my Fagor. If you use it a few times, using it will become easy.

                                                                                  Persevere!

                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                    f
                                                                                    FelafelBoy RE: sueatmo Dec 27, 2007 09:42 PM

                                                                                    sueatmo (per dec 26,2007 11:52pm post) - the 4 qt Fagor pc also has a support handle as well as the longer lift handle.

                                                                                    My pc when moved to another burner after coming to pressure (with the yellow button popped up), barely made any sound nor did it spew out steam. If the yellow button wasn't in the up position, I would have barely known that it was cooking at pressure. Only when the pressure built up from my electric stove burner's setting at the "low" position did I see increasing steam and water beginning to come out near the pressure regulator valve area by the lift handle. I turned down the setting to "warm" without a loss of the up position for the yellow pressure indicator button.

                                                                                    Interesting that you said you put almost anything into your pc except for cereal, which I take you meaning grains like oats and as you mentioned, rice. I think if such grains were put in another bowl, filled with liquid and covered, the result might be satisfactory.

                                                                                    When you use your pc for soup, have you found an INCREASE in the liquid level after cooking, and do you cook dried beans in the liquid at the same time, or do you cook the beans first, and then do your cooking in steps? I have ideas to use my immersion blender for simple soups, based on a simple broth and adding a few simple ingredients (due to the limited space in my 4 qt pc). The thing I am unsure of at this point, is how the liquid level will change once the cooking is completed. I forgot my physics lessons - that if a solid food displaces the liquid level by a certain amount, if the total volume will change when that solid changes form. (Somewhere in this is the idea of energy conservation, that all that happens is a change of form. I trust actual experimentation and proven track records over Einsteinian theory - I don't think he ever used a pressure cooker and let his cooking contribute to the development of his theories on the nature of the universe.

                                                                                    1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                                      s
                                                                                      sueatmo RE: FelafelBoy Dec 28, 2007 01:14 PM

                                                                                      OK I never took physics. LOL. And I don't pay much attention to whether the liquid increases, or decreases. I'd have to say it seems to stay the same, even though it is losing steam steadily.

                                                                                      I cook beans in liquid from scratch. I've recently discovered that the cooker does not tenderize all beans consistently, so I've gone to a short-term soak beforehand. This is against all pc wisdom, by the way. Since you have a 4 qt., I would just cook 1 cup of beans at a time. (I usually cook 1 3/4 c. at a time.) You'll still have plenty. It does seem to me that some beans put out a lot of starch into the cooking liquid, and some beans don't as much.

                                                                                      Use Lorna Sass's cookbook for cooking times and liquid amounts. She is pretty reliable

                                                              2. j
                                                                Jimmy Buffet RE: kiwijen Dec 26, 2007 11:29 AM

                                                                The only thing I don't like about pressure cookers is that some of them - I have two conventional Prestos - require either a normal pressure drop or a run under cold water to check on the condition of the food. So thats added time to cool, added time to reheat and rebuild pressure if needed.

                                                                After reading some of the posts here, though, I am guessing that I could always depress the plug on the top (that lifts under pressure) with a wooden spoon to release pressure IF I'm not cooking foods that would foam, like rice or beans.

                                                                Avery l-o-n-g handled woden spoon, btw. Is this a correct assumption?

                                                                22 Replies
                                                                1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                  paulj RE: Jimmy Buffet Dec 26, 2007 12:29 PM

                                                                  Are you talking about the plug that rises as it starts to build pressure, and keeps you from opening the lid until it falls? I have on occasion released pressure by depressing it with something like a long handle wood spoon. It works, but I don't really like releasing all that steam, even if I can keep it away from me.

                                                                  A pressure cooker isn't the best for items where you need to check several times for doneness or taste. That is especially true for fast cooking vegetables; all the more so if you want them crisp. Fish is also a problem.

                                                                  Also some meat, especially beef, is better with a natural pressure drop - at least that is Lorna Sass's teaching. With white rice, Lorna's method of 3 minutes of pressure, and 7 of sitting seems to work well.

                                                                  With most items it probably is better to cook it them 90% doneness, and then finish with the open pot. During open pot phase you can reduce or dilute the sauce, or thicken it, adjust seasoning, and add quick cooking items.

                                                                  paulj

                                                                  1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                    scubadoo97 RE: Jimmy Buffet Dec 26, 2007 05:30 PM

                                                                    The Fagor gives 3 options. Natural release, cold release of steam release. When doing the steam release get your jewlery out for a good cleaning. I use mine to clean the back of the range top wall.

                                                                    I was making black beans the other night and after 30 min did a cold release because I was in a hurry to check on the doneness of the beans. Usually I would have cut the heat at 30 min and let it do a natural release which would take another 15-20 min. Some were quite done and some a little firm. I was able to cover and bring back to boil in less than a minute before it got back to pressure and then cut the heat and let it do a natural release.

                                                                    Since a lot of cooking is done on the spur of the moment I usually don't do the soak the night before. Never did it when cooking beans on the stove either.

                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97
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                                                                      sueatmo RE: scubadoo97 Dec 26, 2007 07:56 PM

                                                                      scubadoo97 is right. It does not take long to bring the cooker back up to pressure after doing a quick pressure release. Sometimes, it is even preferable to finish the cooking without pressure.

                                                                      1. re: sueatmo
                                                                        j
                                                                        Jimmy Buffet RE: sueatmo Dec 27, 2007 03:45 AM

                                                                        Yep, thats why I would like to be able to do a quick pressure release with my Prestos - so I can bring them back up to speed quickly. I think'll try the long handled wooden spopon pressing down on the pressure plug.

                                                                        1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                          s
                                                                          sueatmo RE: Jimmy Buffet Dec 27, 2007 06:39 AM

                                                                          The Fagor has a dial which releases steam; you cannot open the pot until the pressure has been brought down.

                                                                          I personally wouldn't monkey around with the pressue plug on an American cooker. I would run cold water over the lid.

                                                                          1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                            yayadave RE: Jimmy Buffet Dec 27, 2007 08:32 AM

                                                                            But it only takes a minute in the sink, JB. Why mess around with an awkward procedure? And steam burns are nasty.

                                                                            1. re: yayadave
                                                                              j
                                                                              Jimmy Buffet RE: yayadave Dec 27, 2007 09:14 AM

                                                                              I appreciate the input but I still may try it. I'll try about a four foot yardstick. When I do the cool down in the sink, if I have to reinitiate cooking, it takes too long...

                                                                              I also wonder if just couldn't take a pair of long tongs and lift the regulator off of the pipe. Steam would go straight up.

                                                                              1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                scubadoo97 RE: Jimmy Buffet Dec 27, 2007 09:46 AM

                                                                                would it not be nearly the same temp when the pressure indicator goes down? I got mine back up to pressure in less than 60 sec with a cold water release.

                                                                                1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                  s
                                                                                  sueatmo RE: Jimmy Buffet Dec 27, 2007 01:12 PM

                                                                                  I'm not sure if you are serious or not, but I've been told that pressure cooker explosions are scary, and probably dangerous. Truly, I'm not sure what you would gain from doing this.

                                                                                  1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                    paulj RE: Jimmy Buffet Dec 27, 2007 08:27 PM

                                                                                    I'd stick with temporarily depressing the lid interlock plug. If you release this plug, it closes (unless pressure is all gone), and stops the flow of steam. In contrast, if you pulled the weight, you probably won't be able to replace it if there is a problem. I don't think a yard stick would work; it is too flexible. But I think the cold water stream is faster and less messy.
                                                                                    paulj

                                                                                    1. re: paulj
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                                                                                      FelafelBoy RE: paulj Dec 27, 2007 08:52 PM

                                                                                      If beans are not soaked overnight, they can be brought to pressure in the cooker for fiveminutes, allow the cooker's pressure to drop naturally, then drain and rinse the beans, cook as you normally would if the beans were soaked overnight. Seems like a fast way of cooking the beans without soaking overnight and having to cook for the extra time.

                                                                                      I may have cheated by using extra fresh kale which may have come out very moist and mouth watering in the pot I used to use for steaming the vegetable. In that pot, I get tender kale about half the time. I don't time things nor do I measure out the water. I normally steam the kale for about 10 minutes at high heat, and test the tenderness a few times.

                                                                                      In the 4 qt pc, I added one cup of water, added alot of chopped kale into the steamer basket (and forgot about not filling the cooker beyond 2/3 high), waited until I saw the water in the cooker boiling, then added the steamer basket with the kale, put on the lid, within about 30 seconds or longer the yellow button popped up, and to be on the safe side, I let the kale cook about 6 to 7 minutes vs. the 5 which is the recommended time. I poured cold water over the cover which extended the cooking time for another 30 seconds plus. I removed the lid and found kale that was still green and as tender as steamed spinach.

                                                                                      I thought it was just a coincidence that it came out that tender. Next time, I will not go beyond 5 minutes of cooking time. The liquid in the steamer basket was green, so I wondered how much nutrition and flavor had seeped out of the kale leaves. A friend told me that he DRINKS that broth. Another idea is to save that liquid to be used in a vegetable soup broth or perhaps save it in a frozen form for future use.

                                                                                      Now I know why some people have more than one pressure cooker. If a person is steaming vegetables, and cooking another dish, two are needed (assuming you want the ingredients separated). In this case, I had made alot of canned turkey chili (with some freshly sauteed vegetables) and like to make alot of steamed kale which I put on top of rice, and then pour the chili over the kale. Eventually, I will get up to making all of the turkey chili in the pressure cooker (in which case, I will have to go back to using the other stock pot with the steamer basket to steam the kale the old fashioned way). I think some dishes lend themselves to pressure cooking first, removing the lid, then finishing the dish with a longer simmer.

                                                                                      Perhaps there is a way, to cut up the kale into small pieces, add them to the chili mixture, and pressure cook everything at once. Given that the time to steam kale is five minutes, perhaps it is possible, as long as the beans have been pressure cooked first, then added to the mixture of already browned ground and seasoned turkey, tomato paste, and other vegetables. I've got the routine down with my canned chili with freshly sauteed vegetables. I will need to learn a new technique if doing everything fresh.

                                                                                      1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                                        paulj RE: FelafelBoy Dec 27, 2007 10:05 PM

                                                                                        If you are using the kale in the soup, I don't see a lot of point to using the steamer basket. In fact I'm not sure it needs to be cooked separately - unless the kale cooking water is bitter and you don't want it in the soup.

                                                                                        I do use a basket for things like pumpkin or sweet potatoes - but that is because I want to minimize water absorption.

                                                                                        When I recently made an Italian pumpkin soup, I just cubed the squash, PCed it with a modest amount of water, and puree it with the immersion blender directly in the pot. Added a bit of cream, grated cheese, adjusted seasonings, and, 'presto', soup.

                                                                                        paulj

                                                                                      2. re: paulj
                                                                                        j
                                                                                        Jimmy Buffet RE: paulj Dec 28, 2007 08:25 AM

                                                                                        >> I'd stick with temporarily depressing the lid interlock plug. If you release this plug, it closes (unless pressure is all gone), and stops the flow of steam. In contrast, if you pulled the weight, you probably won't be able to replace it if there is a problem.

                                                                                        Good point. I'll try that.

                                                                                        sueatmo, I appreciate your concern but I don't think I will need to worry about an explosion if heat has been removed from the cooker and if I am releasing steam from a pressure cooker that has been filled probably about a third full with nonfoaming food. I had considered getting a new cooker - a Fagor - just for the pressure release feature but with two cookers in my home, I can't justify the cost just for that feature if I can do the same thing -safely - with the ones I have.

                                                                                        The Kuhn-Rikon, even more expensive that the Fagor, has a release valve that they state can be pushed down with a spoon to release pressure. I am hoping that depressing the lid interlock plug on the Presto will do the same.

                                                                                        Hmmm... a lot of hypothetical hoping here on my part. I may do a few experiments - safely natch - and report back....

                                                                              2. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                f
                                                                                FelafelBoy RE: scubadoo97 Dec 27, 2007 09:27 PM

                                                                                scubadoo97 - per my other post, have you ever tried the fast pre-soak by pressure cooking the unsoaked beans for five minutes first, followed by draining and rinsing, and THEN, pressure cooking?

                                                                                Your idea of combining jewelry cleaning via the steam release tells me that you are are creative multi-tasker! The very process of combining ingredients in a pc for cooking at the same time is, by its very nature, a multi-task, for multitaskers.

                                                                                1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                                  scubadoo97 RE: FelafelBoy Dec 28, 2007 06:12 AM

                                                                                  FB, I was really just joking about cleaning jewelry. I use the steam wand on my espresso machine for that ;) As to the pre-soak, what's there to gain from the 5 min pre-cooking? I understand some feel that the soak water contains enzymes that increase flatulence so that's why they drain but as far as cooking time why not just add 5 min to the total time.

                                                                                  1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                    paulj RE: scubadoo97 Dec 28, 2007 08:18 AM

                                                                                    According to Lorna Sass's timings, a 1 minute pressure pre-soak cuts the main pressure time by about half (exact numbers vary with bean type).

                                                                                    She also argues that the presoak reduces the water soluble sugars that cause flatulence, though Alton disputes that (just watched his bean episode last night). Alton favors the (regular) presoak, but argues against tossing the soaking water.
                                                                                    paulj

                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                      scubadoo97 RE: paulj Dec 28, 2007 01:11 PM

                                                                                      If the 1 min. pressure pre-soak cut the cooking time by half it must require a natural release which would take about 15 min or so. In effect you have cooked the beans 15 min under pressure. Most bean recipes I've seen require a natural release.

                                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97
                                                                                        paulj RE: scubadoo97 Dec 28, 2007 05:03 PM

                                                                                        No, it is a fast release.
                                                                                        paulj

                                                                                      2. re: paulj
                                                                                        s
                                                                                        sueatmo RE: paulj Dec 28, 2007 01:26 PM

                                                                                        I've seen AB's segment on beans awhile ago, and had to interrupt it last night. Doesn't he feel that the cause of bean gas is the difficulty of digesting the fiber of the beans? If I remember correctly, it would not make much difference whether soaking liquid is discarded, or not.

                                                                                        Having said that, I have always discarded the soaking water.

                                                                                        As I said in a previous post, I've started to use a short soak on some beans even with the PC, and I don't know why that should be. I've started taking a few beans out of the package, and saving them, as well. Things have improved.

                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                          f
                                                                                          FelafelBoy RE: sueatmo Jan 1, 2008 08:44 PM

                                                                                          Are you sure that a one minute cooking requires 15 minutes of cooling down before the lid can be released? Lorna Sass' books refer to a 10 minute waiting time for natural release, but also is dependent on the amount of content inside the cooker.

                                                                                          If a person is only cooking for one minute, you will not need much liquid to cover the beans, assuming you are using only 1 or 2 cups of beans.

                                                                                          If beans are pressure cooked for 5 minutes, then using the natural release method as instructed by the miss vickie site directions, the ten minutes or so of waiting for the cool down period certainly beats hours of waiting for the more traditional pre-soaking process. I'd toss the water it has been cooking in for the first cycle as suggested by miss vickie. As was said before, there are starches and other items in that water that might make digestion less easy. She suggests using a small amount of baking soda for this purpose if one has very hard water, otherwise, the baking soda might change the texture of the beans, for the worse.

                                                                                          Kombu is said to help tenderize the beans during actual cooking, also.

                                                                                          I have a "soup mix" consisting of split peas, lima beans, some grains, and a separate packet for seasoning. The instructions say to simmer for 2 hours. I may try to pressure cook this mixture. I plan on throwing out the seasoning packet as it consists of partially hydrogenated oil and some other items I can do without. I can add my own seasonings.
                                                                                          Interestingly, bean cooking directions say that split peas take about 10 to 13 minutes, whereas lima beans are to be cooked only for about 4 minutes (if pre-soaked). Oil is to be used with the lima beans to keep them from frothing where the skins can clog the valve. (I read in two different sources of potential problems with lima beans.) If two different kinds of beans are in such a soup mix, I'd think erring on the side of longer cooking time for such "soup mixes" would be fool proof, assuming one doesn't mind "mushy" broth. I don't mind such a consistency. I'd rather cook the soup mix for about 20 minutes than have it simmering for 2 hours.

                                                                                          A previous post referred to the Presto 8 qt pressure cooker, obtained from the Amazon site. The cooker looks like a "second generation" model and looked good. I did read a review from one poster that said that the cooker felt lighter than the older Presto model, which in the reviewer's words, was an enhancement, making the cooker easier to handle. But I wonder, if it is lighter, and is stainless steel, might the lighter weight be reflected in a bottom that may not have the same multiple layers that the Fagor pressure cookers have. The Fagor pressure cookers ARE very heavy. Pressure cookers made only of aluminum feel very light. I'd think an 8 qt pressure cooker made of stainless steel should not feel light.

                                                                                          1. re: FelafelBoy
                                                                                            s
                                                                                            sueatmo RE: FelafelBoy Jan 4, 2008 01:47 PM

                                                                                            I'm not sure what you are referring to, but Lorna Sass's instructions for beans, including the time to allow before release, work generally very well for me. Perhaps, because my water is slightly hard, beans don't cook uniformly, unless I soak them a bit first.

                                                                                            Please tell me what kombu is. I don't know it.

                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                              paulj RE: sueatmo Jan 4, 2008 03:04 PM

                                                                                              Kombu is a dried seaweed that is commonly used with dried fish flakes (bonito) to make dashi, the basic stock in Japanese cooking. Generally it is soaked in the hot water (for about 10 minutes), but not boiled.
                                                                                              paulj

                                                                              3. h
                                                                                howboy RE: kiwijen Dec 27, 2007 10:54 AM

                                                                                This just in:
                                                                                The PC you should NOT buy.

                                                                                http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP...

                                                                                1. j
                                                                                  Jimmy Buffet RE: kiwijen Dec 28, 2007 05:30 PM

                                                                                  Now here is a brand I've not heard of. $53 for a 12 quart cooker?

                                                                                  http://www.goodmans.net/item.asp?n=MA...

                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                    Jimmy Buffet RE: kiwijen Dec 31, 2007 09:52 AM

                                                                                    Sueatmo, I've been thinking a lot about your advice...you got me to thinkin' that its not worth blowin' myself up or a bad scald all in the name of pressure cooker impatience to monkey around with bypassing safety systems.

                                                                                    So I ordered one of these last week:

                                                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Presto-8-Quart-...

                                                                                    Had a $25 Amazon reward certificate. With free shipping, this cooker only came to about $34.

                                                                                    My old aluminum Presto will hit the junk shelf to be used to prepare agar slants for homebrewing...

                                                                                    Happy Pressure-Cookin' New Year

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                      yayadave RE: Jimmy Buffet Dec 31, 2007 11:31 AM

                                                                                      Tis a ting of beeee-uuuuty!!

                                                                                      1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                        s
                                                                                        sueatmo RE: Jimmy Buffet Dec 31, 2007 07:59 PM

                                                                                        An 8 qt! I'm envious. Please let us know what great things you come up with in that. You could make gallons of stock. And an immense amount of chili. Oh you are going to have fun.

                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                          j
                                                                                          Jimmy Buffet RE: sueatmo Jan 1, 2008 09:26 AM

                                                                                          Yes, and safely too! I figured that the best beans in the world cooked in a timely fashion would be of no use to me if I was on a ventilator.

                                                                                          1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                            yayadave RE: Jimmy Buffet Jan 1, 2008 11:22 AM

                                                                                            Well, ventilator might be a little extreme. But it's hard to spoon yer beans with your hands wrapped in bandages and that Ungentine smell sure ruins the taste. Also, I think it's probably a big move up because you went from aluminum to stainless.

                                                                                            1. re: yayadave
                                                                                              j
                                                                                              Jimmy Buffet RE: yayadave Jan 1, 2008 05:19 PM

                                                                                              MMmmmpff!!

                                                                                      2. g
                                                                                        gsdegrecia RE: kiwijen Dec 31, 2007 10:23 AM

                                                                                        After much consideration, I purchased a Fissler, which is available in a variety of sizes. I bought the large, with the smaller version useful for small quantities. Comes with two lids. Second lid, vented or closed. Only one pressure lid. Expensive, but worth every eurocent. Available in the US. I noticed a Fissler sign on Olympic Blvd in Koreatown, in LA.

                                                                                        1. j
                                                                                          Jimmy Buffet RE: kiwijen Jan 3, 2008 06:33 PM

                                                                                          My Presto 12 quart arrived. It is an odd beast and not what I expected from the photo.

                                                                                          The lack of a bobbling regulator in the photo made me assume that this cooker has an internal spring. It does not. The "control knob" on one of the handles of the cooker is the pressure regulator - the usual Presto weighted rocker. All they did was move the vent pipe and regulator to the edge of the lid and incorporate it into the handle.

                                                                                          The handle cradles the regulator so that it doesn't rock and hiss in bursts. However, Presto has configured the rocker - and outlined the procedure in the instructions - such that it can be loosened in order to release steam quickly. All of the steam exits via the vent pipe.

                                                                                          The cooker is designed such in the event of a quick steam release, burns from steam are minimized but certain foods could still move up the pipe and clog it during a quick steam release. In that respect, it is no different from a Presto of twenty years ago.

                                                                                          However, this is a beautiful cooker and I look forward to using it. For $38 it was an absolute bargain. It would have been a good buy at $68. But looks can be deceiving...

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                            s
                                                                                            sueatmo RE: Jimmy Buffet Jan 4, 2008 01:55 PM

                                                                                            I agree that you got a great buy. Hmmm, I thought weighted rockers were done with. But you did get a good buy, and I imagine it will give you good service. Keep us posted.

                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                              j
                                                                                              Jimmy Buffet RE: sueatmo Jan 4, 2008 06:08 PM

                                                                                              Lorna Sass refers to it in her book (which I got at the library thanks to my renewed interest in pressure cookery) as a developed-weight pressure regulator - "a jiggle top in disguise since the regulator sits on top of the vent pipe but gets locked into position before cooking begins. The regulator lifts up slightly when pressure is reached but it rarely jiggles."

                                                                                              1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                                paulj RE: Jimmy Buffet Jan 5, 2008 08:55 AM

                                                                                                Which doesn't sound all that different from the European spring based control. In one the steam pressure works against the weight of the regulator, in the other against the force of a spring.
                                                                                                paulj

                                                                                                1. re: Jimmy Buffet
                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                  sueatmo RE: Jimmy Buffet Jan 15, 2008 02:00 PM

                                                                                                  Just curious. How is the new cooker?

                                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo
                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                    Jimmy Buffet RE: sueatmo Jan 16, 2008 05:57 PM

                                                                                                    Su, haven't had a chance to use it yet. Gonna make some lentils this weekend and I will issue a full report...

                                                                                            2. w
                                                                                              Warren Goodman RE: kiwijen Jan 6, 2008 09:00 AM

                                                                                              Kuhn Rikon is an exceptional brand.
                                                                                              Got it 15 years ago and it's great; gaskets occasionally need replacement
                                                                                              (available on internet-- culinaryparts.com--and 800-543-7549)
                                                                                              Extremely reliable and safe.
                                                                                              I highly recommend it.
                                                                                              Also recommend Lorna Sass's book.

                                                                                              1. paulj RE: walidsamir Sep 10, 2011 09:30 AM

                                                                                                15 psi is something of a standard in the USA, but in Europe 10 or 12 is more common. Also electric cookers tend to have lower setting. It's not really a matter of quality (though the cheapest ones in the USA might have the lower setting), as expectations. Yes, times will be a bit longer with the lower pressure, but the time savings are still real.

                                                                                                25 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                  RevImmigrant RE: paulj Sep 14, 2011 08:23 PM

                                                                                                  I have a WMF Perfect double I bought in Germany 10 years ago. It has one lid and two bottoms. It's excellent. You can't remove the lid until the steam goes down as a safety feature.

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                    reesd RE: paulj May 25, 2012 06:43 AM

                                                                                                    I have a presto 4qt, and I am really liking it so far. It runs at 15 PSI ("High"), but I have been wondering if its possible to use a different, lighter pressure regulator to get it down to 8 PSI ("Low"). That would give me both pressures like some of the more expensive pressure cookers. I haven't been able to find an alternative pressure regulator on the web though, am I missing something that keeps this from being a reasonable idea?
                                                                                                    Here is the pic - http://www.gopresto.com/products/prod...

                                                                                                    1. re: reesd
                                                                                                      StriperGuy RE: reesd May 25, 2012 08:51 AM

                                                                                                      I always feel that the low pressure defeats the same purpose. Anything you can do on low, you can do on high, just faster.

                                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                        reesd RE: StriperGuy May 25, 2012 09:22 AM

                                                                                                        I want to hard/soft boil eggs :) - http://www.hippressurecooking.com/201...

                                                                                                        1. re: reesd
                                                                                                          StriperGuy RE: reesd May 25, 2012 09:43 AM

                                                                                                          Aaaah, I see said the blind man.

                                                                                                          1. re: reesd
                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                            Miss Priss RE: reesd May 29, 2012 09:50 AM

                                                                                                            Reesd, have you tried eBay? I vaguely recall reading, in an old pressure-cooking cookbook, that either Presto or Mirro made lower-pressure weights that could be ordered from the manufacturer.

                                                                                                            That being said, why not first try cooking the eggs on high pressure, for a shorter time? I can't guarantee that it'll work for you, but it worked for me.

                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                              paulj RE: Miss Priss May 29, 2012 09:54 AM

                                                                                                              The (European) sources that talk about using the pressure cooker for hard cooked eggs, recommend low pressure to reduce the chance of breaking the shell.

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                Miss Priss RE: paulj May 29, 2012 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                Yes, I knew that going in. I was curious about whether it could be done on high pressure, and didn't care whether or not the shells broke (they didn't).

                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                                  paulj RE: Miss Priss May 29, 2012 11:46 AM

                                                                                                                  In that case I'll have to try it myself. Do you recommend at time?

                                                                                                                  Speaking of times, Hip Pressure Cooking has an item about how different cooktops can affect the time. Taking a gas stove as the standard, they point out that an electric stove will take longer to heat up, and be slower adjusting to a simmer. And the faster reaction times of an induction burner might undercook your food if you use the 'gas' times.

                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                    reesd RE: paulj May 29, 2012 01:14 PM

                                                                                                                    I was wondering about that, decided to find the article. Here is the link - http://www.hippressurecooking.com/201.... For electric they actually recommend swapping to a pre-heated small burner once it hits pressure. Another gas plus, sigh...

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                      Miss Priss RE: paulj May 29, 2012 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                      I think I simply reduced the Hip Pressure Cooking recommended time by a minute or so. May have consulted another online source as well, but don't remember which one. And even though I didn't think the steam would move the eggs around, I made sure they were spaced widely apart so they wouldn't even be tempted to bang into each other.

                                                                                                                      Agreed, it's much harder to regulate the pressure when using an electric stove than when using a gas one. I have a gas stove at home and an electric one at my weekend place. I don't find that there's a big difference in the time it takes to heat stuff up (maybe because my gas stove is so ancient and feeble), but it's certainly much harder to adjust for a simmer on the electric stove. I sometimes use the two-burner method (keeping a second burner ready at a lower temperature), and sometimes just hold the pot in the air until the burner cools down a bit. Either way, it's a bit of a nuisance, but I've gotten used to it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                                        reesd RE: Miss Priss Jul 9, 2012 06:01 AM

                                                                                                                        Thanks! Two burner trick is a great idea and I have started using it regularly. I start the 2nd burner when the steam starts to escape (before it gets to pressure).

                                                                                                                        I also just tried a another method I found for pressure cooking eggs using full immersion in the pressure cook which worked very well (first try). My comments on that approach are here - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7773....

                                                                                                                        1. re: reesd
                                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                                          Miss Priss RE: reesd Jul 9, 2012 07:03 AM

                                                                                                                          Thanks, reesd. I read your linked post, and am ready to try the full-immersion method next time I make hard-boiled eggs.

                                                                                                                2. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                                  reesd RE: Miss Priss May 29, 2012 01:15 PM

                                                                                                                  I looked on ebay (and googled), but didn't see any.

                                                                                                                  I will try them high pressure, steamed them last time which actually cracked a few also. They sure peeled nice tho...

                                                                                                            2. re: reesd
                                                                                                              paulj RE: reesd May 25, 2012 10:00 AM

                                                                                                              I have not seen any reference to a low pressure weight, but it sounds feasible.

                                                                                                              For a custom one you might see if a machine shop would be willing to shave some material off the circumference of a spare weight.

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                reesd RE: paulj May 25, 2012 11:23 AM

                                                                                                                Exactly what I was thinking. Hmmmm, I wonder if its as simple remove 7/15 of the weight (46%) to reduce the downward force 7/15....

                                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                  StriperGuy RE: paulj May 25, 2012 11:41 AM

                                                                                                                  Heck you could just file it off yourself. Can't be that tricky. Not sure though if the relationship between pressure and metal removed is proportional however.

                                                                                                                  1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                    paulj RE: StriperGuy May 25, 2012 12:43 PM

                                                                                                                    Though a professional with a lathe could do it faster, and maintain its balance.

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                      StriperGuy RE: paulj May 25, 2012 01:00 PM

                                                                                                                      Of course, I'm just being a do it yourselfer duffus.

                                                                                                                    2. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                      jim2100 RE: StriperGuy May 27, 2012 08:09 PM

                                                                                                                      I just wonder if when it explodes will it do so at 7/15's of the explosion? (46%)

                                                                                                                      I first bought a $30.00 something cooker from Wal Mart. Got it home and started it to cook. It never seemed to make any noise. As time went by I kept thinking of it going through the ceiling, or sideways through the wall. I turned it off, took it back and ordered my Fantastic Kuhn Rikon http://bit.ly/LVGXTi

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      1. re: jim2100
                                                                                                                        StriperGuy RE: jim2100 May 28, 2012 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                        Presto makes awesome cookers at 1/2 the price of Kuhn Rikon. And all of the parts are replaceable which is NOT true of KR.

                                                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                          Sid Post RE: StriperGuy May 28, 2012 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                          ?

                                                                                                                          Kuhn Rikon parts are replaceable. Harder to find yes, but available easily via mail order CONUS.

                                                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                            j
                                                                                                                            jim2100 RE: StriperGuy May 28, 2012 05:38 PM

                                                                                                                            Duromatic Pressure Cooker Replacement Parts

                                                                                                                            All replacement parts may be obtained in the USA and Canada directly from:

                                                                                                                            Shar's Kitchen

                                                                                                                            www.sharskitchen.com

                                                                                                                            (800) 714-3391

                                                                                                                            - OR -

                                                                                                                            Factory Direct to You

                                                                                                                            www.factorydirect2you.com

                                                                                                                            (866) 233-6587
                                                                                                                            Note: Please have your item number(s) ready before calling.
                                                                                                                            The item number can be found on the bottom of your pressure cooker (a four-digit number beginning with a 3) when ordering parts.

                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                              jim2100 RE: StriperGuy May 28, 2012 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                              Duromatic Pressure Cooker Replacement Parts

                                                                                                                              All replacement parts may be obtained in the USA and Canada directly from:

                                                                                                                              Shar's Kitchen

                                                                                                                              www.sharskitchen.com

                                                                                                                              (800) 714-3391

                                                                                                                              - OR -

                                                                                                                              Factory Direct to You

                                                                                                                              www.factorydirect2you.com

                                                                                                                              (866) 233-6587
                                                                                                                              Note: Please have your item number(s) ready before calling.
                                                                                                                              The item number can be found on the bottom of your pressure cooker (a four-digit number beginning with a 3) when ordering parts.

                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                            2. re: jim2100
                                                                                                                              paulj RE: jim2100 May 28, 2012 12:46 PM

                                                                                                                              "I just wonder if when it explodes will it do so at 7/15's of the explosion? (46%)

                                                                                                                              I'm not sure if this is meant as a weak joke, or reflects a misunderstanding of how or why a PC might malfunction.

                                                                                                                              One problem in the past was people tried to open the PC while there was still pressure. But everyone now has some sort of lid interlock to prevent that. Presto added that in the last 1970s. While not foolproof, you would have to make a concerted effort to get around it.

                                                                                                                              The other potential problem arises if the pressure regulating stem gets clogged, letting pressure build up beyond what the regulator is designed for. In that case the pressure release plug will 'blow'. That pressure is somewhat higher than the operating pressure. (and won't change if you lighten the weight).

                                                                                                                              In Presto's design the plug is in the lid, so when it releases, you get a stream of oatmeal shooting to the ceiling. In my Fagor, it is a gap in the rim of the lid, so the main gasket gets pushed into it, and excess pressure is released horizontally in a less spectacular manner. I've had more problems with that feature on my Fagor than I ever had with my Presto.

                                                                                                                    3. t
                                                                                                                      toddster63 RE: kiwijen Jul 7, 2012 11:54 PM

                                                                                                                      Here's the bottom line about what pressure cooker to buy: Kuhn Rikon. Period.

                                                                                                                      I lived with a cruddy Presto for a few years, and then a Fagor for another couple of years—both were okay, but had many problems and foods never were WOW. I finally came to the conclusion that pressure cookers were over-rated and inconsistent machinery.

                                                                                                                      Then I got a Kuhn Rikon, and OH, MY GOD! Now I see why many (and so many Europeans) rave about pressure cookers! Rissotto to streamed samon, my Kuhn Rikon has produced just great food and it's so easy to use! A gross under statement is that it IS a better product than the Fagor—truth is it runs circles around regular pressure cookers. I still can't believe the difference!

                                                                                                                      I know $200 and up is a lot for these Swiss cookers—but jump off the fence and just buy one—it's worth it, trust me and my experience...!

                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: toddster63
                                                                                                                        StriperGuy RE: toddster63 Jul 8, 2012 06:36 AM

                                                                                                                        Totally disagree, i've owned both, used my presto yesterday and it couldn't work better.

                                                                                                                        The Kuhn Rikon gets a lot of hype for no reason. It's just a pressure cooker.

                                                                                                                        The one I got was a gift, it broke, and $200+ for a pressure cooker is just a waste of money. The Presto is great for 1/3 the price.

                                                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                          Sid Post RE: StriperGuy Jul 8, 2012 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                          I own 2 Kuhn Rikon and 2 WMF Perfect Plus, plus a few other various brand pressure cookers. I find the Perfect Plus to be worth the money because they cook better and are easier to clean.

                                                                                                                          A $10 wal-mart pot from china will warm soup but, a nice tri-ply pot at ~$30 won't scorch nearly as easy. While not as easy to demonstrate, the same holds true for pressure cookers.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Sid Post
                                                                                                                            paulj RE: Sid Post Jul 8, 2012 08:55 AM

                                                                                                                            'cook better' - that's pretty vague.

                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                              Sid Post RE: paulj Jul 9, 2012 05:04 AM

                                                                                                                              Okay, don't scorch chilli as easily. Cook better is a tad subjective but, I find them easier to regulate pressure and they seem to distribute heat better.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Sid Post
                                                                                                                                paulj RE: Sid Post Jul 9, 2012 07:33 AM

                                                                                                                                That sounds like a function of the pot bottom, presumably multiply stainless steel. Another possibility is that you can bring it to pressure, and keep it there, with a lower heat setting.

                                                                                                                                My Fagor seems to have good heat distribution in the base. However I'm not happy with the startup heat requirement, but that may reflect a problem with the gasket or valve.

                                                                                                                                I haven't done chili in a PC, at least the thick saucy kind using ground beef. I can see using the PC to tenderize chunks of tougher meat along with some chile seasonings, but I'd do any thickening and final seasoning without pressure. Then I can stir as needed to prevent scorching.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Sid Post
                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                              jim2100 RE: Sid Post Jul 8, 2012 09:48 AM

                                                                                                                              Hi Sid,

                                                                                                                              Here is why you like the WMF;
                                                                                                                              "WMF has been making high-quality kitchenware in Geislingen Germany since 1853, "
                                                                                                                              It's not just a pot like you say.
                                                                                                                              Jim

                                                                                                                              http://bit.ly/MeG3Ok
                                                                                                                              http://bit.ly/MeGzfr

                                                                                                                              1. re: jim2100
                                                                                                                                Sid Post RE: jim2100 Jul 9, 2012 05:06 AM

                                                                                                                                Yes, the ergonomics for me are superior. The Kuhn Rikon are great but, the WMF PerfectPlus is just plain and simple "easier to use and maintain".

                                                                                                                                1. re: Sid Post
                                                                                                                                  reesd RE: Sid Post Jul 9, 2012 05:57 AM

                                                                                                                                  Could you give more details on the ergonomics? I'm new to pressure cookers and just don't see what can be improved over closing it, watching it steam, and opening it that is worth that extra cost. What does else does it improve ergonomically?

                                                                                                                                  Practically I can see its possible it has better pressure regulation, and that seems to me to be a real benefit. Heat distribution could be better for browning also (after all these are pots).

                                                                                                                                  I can buy that less steam is released, but I'm not sure how much that matters for most dishes. I don't see how safety is an issue, all modern pressure cookers (including Presto) have an emergency release valve.

                                                                                                                                  Also, here is a good summary of the non-shill reviews - http://www.consumersearch.com/pressur...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: reesd
                                                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                                                    jim2100 RE: reesd Jul 9, 2012 06:52 AM

                                                                                                                                    Here;
                                                                                                                                    http://csear.ch/PFyUMe
                                                                                                                                    "Safety is a key concern with stovetop and electric pressure cookers"
                                                                                                                                    "Despite safety features such as steam quick-releases and over-pressure vents and valves, a smattering of users continue to report problems with the lid exploding off during use. Therefore, it's important that you don't overfill a pressure cooker and continue to keep an eye on the steam output during cooking. Although stovetop pressure cookers are most prevalent, a few manufacturers offer electric models with convenient digital controls."

                                                                                                                                    "Owner-written reviews at both Amazon.com and Macys.com say the Fagor Duo's lid is easy to attach and lock in place, although a few report the handle broke off."

                                                                                                                                    " However, it lacks the bells and whistles more expensive pressure cookers boast -- namely a low-pressure setting, steam quick-release valve and steamer basket. "

                                                                                                                                    "Cookbook author Lorna Sass is among the professional cooks that favor the Swiss-manufactured Kuhn Rikon pressure cookers, which range in sizes from 3.5 to 12 quarts"

                                                                                                                                    Although this appears also:
                                                                                                                                    we aren't sure it's worth paying double for the Kuhn Rikon 7-Quart Pressure Cooker (*Est. $220).

                                                                                                                                    "There are quite a few professional reviews of pressure cookers. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute tests an expansive lineup of 14 stovetop pressure cookers models and five electric models. Editors of Fine Cooking magazine (available to subscribers) evaluate eight pressure cooker models. Cooks Illustrated magazine (available only to subscribers) compares four electric models to their favorite stovetop pressure cooker. Australia's Choice magazine (available to subscribers) tests seven stovetop and one electric pressure cooker. These models and recommendations are also available at New Zealand's Consumer magazine (available to subscribers). Cookbook author Lorna Sass recommends one brand of pressure cooker in an article by The Washington Post, while TheNibble.com reviews another brand of pressure cookers. Reviews at Amazon.com, Macys.com and Cooking.com provide an owner's perspective."

                                                                                                                                    1. re: reesd
                                                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                                                      Miss Priss RE: reesd Jul 9, 2012 07:19 AM

                                                                                                                                      Reesd, rather than thinking of it as less steam being released, think of it as more liquid being retained. This means you can reach and maintain high pressure with just a small amount of liquid, plus the juices that the food itself releases during cooking. The end product requires less reduction, and for certain foods I think the results are more flavorful. For example, when braising vegetables in my Kuhn Rikon, I usually add only about 1/4 cup of liquid. That being said, I wouldn't discourage anyone from buying another brand or type of cooker. Everyone's needs, preferences, and budgets are different.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                                                        reesd RE: Miss Priss Jul 9, 2012 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                                        Good point Miss Priss.

                                                                                                                                        I think paulj's thought about startup heat time may be applicable also. My Presto definitely vents some steam (through popup and rocker valve) before it finally gets to pressure. That is heat being lost which means time to pressure being lost. I'm sadly stuck with an electric stove so I am already waiting longer than gas for full pressure :(.

                                                                                                                                        All that said, I'll stick with the Presto for now while I get the hang of this pressure cooking thing. And at the Presto's prices it seems to clear to me that every kitchen should have a pressure cooker. The energy savings alone are worth it, and the time savings are great.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: reesd
                                                                                                                                          paulj RE: reesd Jul 9, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                                          The water loss issue applies, I think, more to vegetables with a short cooking time, than meats with a much longer time. I don't use my PCs much for vegetables, except maybe squash for soup, because the time savings aren't significant. With meat I always end up with more liquid than I started with, even with the Presto.

                                                                                                                                          A steamer insert should get around the minimal water issue in venting PCs. After all if you are cooking vegetables with the barest minimum of added water, you are in effect steaming them.

                                                                                                                          2. j
                                                                                                                            jim2100 RE: kiwijen Jul 8, 2012 12:39 AM

                                                                                                                            Here is a good link for you to read. http://missvickie.com/library/2ndgene...
                                                                                                                            I bought a cheaper pressure cooker as stated here in this thread and returned it and paid much more than I ever thought that I would. It doesn't matter how often i use it. Rather I know that I have the best money can buy and it is the safest one I could buy.
                                                                                                                            Somewhere I read to test it first, by putting a certain amount of water in and then measure the water that remains after the test. You could use just a half a cup of water in the Kuhn Rikon and you will have a half a cup of water when you are done. You never hear it hiss, because it is not releasing any steam as it cooks. That is a very reassuring feeling while it is cooking. If you read my original post I felt unsafe with the cheaper one from Wal mart, then returned it and ordered the K/R, and never looked backed. check out this recipe on You Tube. I have done it now at least five times since I saw it 4 or 5 weeks ago. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r24ZI2...
                                                                                                                            Here is an ad for the K/R. First how's this? ""The Mercedez-Benz of Pressure Cookers" - New York Times"
                                                                                                                            Here

                                                                                                                            "The Mercedez-Benz of Pressure Cookers" - New York Times

                                                                                                                            Specializing in pressure cookers for over 50 years, Kuhn Rikon offers the broadest line of pressure cookers in the world, creating shapes and sizes you won't find anywhere else. Made in Switzerland and covered by a 10 year warranty.

                                                                                                                            Fast: Everything cooks in 1/3 the time of conventional methods
                                                                                                                            Healthy: Cook high-fiber low fat foods in record time
                                                                                                                            Economical/Ecological: You save 70% of energy normally consumed during cooking. It pays for itself in energy savings
                                                                                                                            Safe: Integrated lid-locking system and no fewer than 5 safety steam-release systems make Duromatic the standard of safety worldwide

                                                                                                                            Kuhn Rikon Duomatic Duo Set. 6 pieces.
                                                                                                                            Regular price: $320.00
                                                                                                                            Sale Price: $239.00
                                                                                                                            Here http://www.chefsresource.com/1588.html

                                                                                                                            Get the best and you will never look back. And try the ribs. I am going to do them tomorrow again. It has been 100 degrees here for about a week and I have emphysema and could not get out to the store to get the ribs. but the temperature has just dropped and I have tomorrow off, and ribs it will be again. really tasty. Oh it is barbecued ribs in thirty minutes.
                                                                                                                            Good Luck
                                                                                                                            Jim

                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: jim2100
                                                                                                                              Bada Bing RE: jim2100 Jul 8, 2012 01:35 AM

                                                                                                                              Never thought of doing ribs in a PC. What technique do you use with it?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                j
                                                                                                                                jim2100 RE: Bada Bing Jul 8, 2012 02:45 AM

                                                                                                                                Hi Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                First I have a kid at work that is always saying Bada Bing, He is 25 or so. I will be 70 on my next birthday.
                                                                                                                                Here is the link for the recipe.
                                                                                                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=...
                                                                                                                                It was up there in previous post. I have been listening to opera since I made the above post.
                                                                                                                                Here; https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v...
                                                                                                                                Enjoy both.
                                                                                                                                Jim
                                                                                                                                Gary, In..

                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                              2. re: jim2100
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                                                                                                                                iris RE: jim2100 Jul 10, 2012 07:53 AM

                                                                                                                                I'm looking at the Kuhn Rikon Duomatic Duo set. Can anyone advise about the practicality of the 5.25 quart pressure cooker - is it big enough to feed 6 or 8 people - i.e. hold enough chicken or stew without overfilling? Or is the 7 quart (not in the set) necessary?

                                                                                                                                1. re: iris
                                                                                                                                  StriperGuy RE: iris May 6, 2013 07:45 AM

                                                                                                                                  I had a Kuhn Rikon that broke on me and the customer service was horrible.

                                                                                                                                  5 quarts is also quite small, definitely not big enough for food for 8.

                                                                                                                                  I absolutely LOVE my 8 qt. presto and it is half the price of the Kuhn Rikon:

                                                                                                                                  http://www.target.com/p/presto-8-qt-p...

                                                                                                                                  I use it several times a month. Beautiful piece of kitchen gear, really reliable.

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                                                                                                                                toddster63 RE: TinCity May 5, 2013 09:00 PM

                                                                                                                                My friend has a Presto, and it seems to work well, but dang that thing is loud! YOU REALLY HAVE TO SPEAK UP TO HAVE A CONVERSATION IN THE KITCHEN while that Presto is hissing and splattering and whistling and carrying on. It reminds me SO MUCH of my grandma's pressure cooker from 1946. It seems more geared toward an exhibit at the Smithsonian than in the modern kitchen.

                                                                                                                                Whereas my modern Kuhn Rikon is silent. While it's cooking in my kitchen you can have a conversation while whispering...!

                                                                                                                                It's all a matter of getting what you pay for. Personally, i'd rather pay the Europeans a few more dollars for a quiet pressure cooker (made from modern designs) that the neighbors don't have to hear and that will allow me to answer the phone without—"HELLO?! HELLO?! PLEASE SPEAK UP, THE PRESSURE COOKER IS ON AND I CAN'T HEAR YOU! HELLO?! DID YOU HEAR ME?! HELLO?!"

                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: toddster63
                                                                                                                                  paulj RE: toddster63 May 5, 2013 09:06 PM

                                                                                                                                  If a Presto is too loud, you need to lower the heat. A slow rock of the weight is sufficient.

                                                                                                                                  In some ways I prefer that audible chuff. I can go into the next room and read Chow, and still keep track of the operation of the PC. It's taken me some time to get used to the too-quiet operation of the Fagor. It is harder to tell, by sound, whether the heat is too low, or too high.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
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                                                                                                                                    toddster63 RE: paulj May 5, 2013 10:27 PM

                                                                                                                                    Yeah, my Faogr took a little more tuning and watching and attention to work well—sold it! To me a pressure cooker is about saving time, NOT about being tied to the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                    The Kuhn Rikon is so much easier. For most recipes after it is heated to the second red line appearing, you turn the burner down to low-low-lowest. set the kitchen timer and walk away. If it makes any noise whatsoever (meaning it's over pressurized), I go and pay attention to it (has only happened twice over the years).

                                                                                                                                    When I am doing a large maxed out load (carnitas), it needs a bit more heat for that much (6-8 lbs.) meat, so it gets set to low-medium, a tad higher than low.

                                                                                                                                    Also have never ever had the Kuhn Rikon spew food out of the top escape valve (where the steam exits) or get anything on it's pretty polished lid—ever. All the other PC's I've used at one point spew food gunk out on the lid, and then I have to worry if the valve got clogged from the food gunk, and so take it all apart, clean it and make sure it is all good to go. Ugg, work...!

                                                                                                                                    I think it's great that everyone wants to love their under $75 PC bargains and more power to 'ya. But there is a reason the Kuhn Rikon cost almost $200, and you can really see it when you have lived with all kinds of PC's. So don't fool yourself that it's just overpriced Euro-nonsense. It really is a superior, easier to live with and operate pressure cooker. Period.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: toddster63
                                                                                                                                      scubadoo97 RE: toddster63 May 6, 2013 06:16 PM

                                                                                                                                      Never had that problem with my Fagor. Very easy to lower the heat to sustain pressure and walk away

                                                                                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97
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                                                                                                                                        Miss Priss RE: scubadoo97 May 7, 2013 09:15 AM

                                                                                                                                        I agree. Once my Fagor Elite has reached full pressure and I've turned down the heat, it rarely needs any adjusting. Same with my Kuhn Rikon. But if I leave the kitchen while the cooker's at pressure, I still stay close enough to hear any sounds that may signal trouble.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                                                          scubadoo97 RE: Miss Priss May 7, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                                          I have a gas rangetop so once I set it to a low simmer and the PC is still hissing softly there has never been an issue which would require my attention. I often walk outside to attend to other things around the house with out a worry. Just have to remember the time frame for when to turn off the heat and do a cool down.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Priss
                                                                                                                                            StriperGuy RE: Miss Priss May 7, 2013 10:43 AM

                                                                                                                                            Same with the Presto. Once it is at pressure I turn it down low and essentially forget it until it is time to either turn off the heat, or quick cool it depending on what I am making.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: toddster63
                                                                                                                                          StriperGuy RE: toddster63 May 7, 2013 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                                          I've owned both, and totally disagree. The Kuhn Rikon is NOT as simple or as good a pressure cooker as the much cheaper Presto 8 Qt stainless model.

                                                                                                                                          I had a Kuhn Rikon break on me horribly within 8 months of buying it and the customer service (from the owner of Kuhn Rikon USA) was appalling. He basically told me to drop dead.

                                                                                                                                          Save $120 and get the excellent Presto product. Never had a clog, never had a problem. I know plenty of folks who have owned a Presto pressure cooker for 20 years and it just keeps steaming along.

                                                                                                                                          I am have no dog in this fight other than experience with the crappy overpriced Kuhn Rikon product. Have you ever tried a Presto?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy
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                                                                                                                                            Cam14 RE: StriperGuy May 9, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                                                                                                            Love my Kuhn Rikon, never found it crappy. The plastic top broke after a couple years of use, the USA company replaced it, no charge. Coudn't be happier.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy
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                                                                                                                                              toddster63 RE: StriperGuy May 9, 2013 02:21 PM

                                                                                                                                              The Prestos work fine, no doubt. A little harder to dial in, and MUCH louder than the KR's....

                                                                                                                                              If you want to debate how quiet the Prestos are, well then this conversation if over for me...! Prestos (or any Pressure cooker with the old fashioned steam valve cover) make quite a bit of noise in my experience, period. The design has been around for 75+ years and works well even non-updated, but they are NOT quiet.

                                                                                                                                              And I really rarely hear the KR with the very modern steam escape valve.

                                                                                                                                              I've also only heard great things about KR's US service...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: toddster63
                                                                                                                                                StriperGuy RE: toddster63 May 10, 2013 06:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                Sorry, but that is plain just not true with my presto when at pressure. Their is a feint his of steam escaping and that is it. No rattle, no noise, you would not even know there was something on the stove unless you stared at it.

                                                                                                                                        3. re: toddster63
                                                                                                                                          StriperGuy RE: toddster63 May 6, 2013 07:41 AM

                                                                                                                                          Your friend has the heat WAY too high.

                                                                                                                                          If you read the instructions, once it is up to pressure you turn the heat down until there is just a slow quite hiss of steam.

                                                                                                                                          The Euro ones are not at all any better than a presto.

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