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Fresco pressure cooker is driving me crazy

Full disclosure. This is for a job I'm doing. I have to use a 6-litre Fresco pressure cooker. So I bought the thing, read all the instructions (HA!) put the meat into the cooker and placed it on the burner. After heating for a little while, the "opening preventing valve" popped up, indicating that pressure was building in the pot. Good so far.

Now, there are two pressure settings - I set it on high. So the thing starts shooting out steam from the "pressure limiting valve" (the thing where you set the pressure). I turn the heat down. But now I can't tell if it's actually at the right pressure or not. There's still some steam coming out - but not as much as before. The instruction booklet tells me that at some point the "pressure limiting valve" will pop up and "start to work". I have no idea what that means. Nothing popped up and nothing looked like it was especially working.

Any pressure cooker experts out there who can possibly guide me? I'm intrigued and, at the same time, terrified by this thing. The instructions were written by someone whose first language is not English, and frankly they shouldn't be writing instruction booklets for potentially dangerous cookware.

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  1. This is not a common brand, at least not in the USA. Where is it from? Are there instructions on line? Or least a picture?

    1. I'd assume that the "opening preventing valve" is the interlock that prevents you from opening the cooker under pressure. Sounds like that is working as designed.

      Is the cooker the type that there is some type of weight that either jiggles or allows a wisp of steam to come out at pressure? Or are you thinking you have a post that pops up at either low or high pressure?

      I'd assume that the "pressure limiting valve" is the post type (?) Doesn it have one or two markings to indicate a low and/or high pressure? Or is it just a go/no go indicator of pressure?

      Try cooking a couple of potatoes or something else that only takes a brief time to cook. See if it works according to the time charts supplied with your book or according to one of the charts online like Miss Vickie's.

      I don't think you have to worry about any major malfunctions just cooking something for 2-3 minutes or so... but be sure there don't appear to be any blockages (food related) in any of your valves, etc.before you begin.

      Write back and tell us what you learned.

      3 Replies
      1. re: EdBakesBread

        It's one of those newfangled ones without a jiggly weight. I have - and feel very comfortable with - an old one like that. But this thing is ridiculous.

        So going directly to the pressure limiting valve - it's a sort of dial thing that has two settings. One setting has a picture of a pot with a few dots in it. The other setting has lots of dots in the pot. I am assuming more dots, more pressure. I set it to high pressure.

        In the middle of this dial is another part which I assumed would be the thing that would pop up or do a little dance or something when working at correct pressure. I have even tried fiddling with it from underneath to see if it does more at all. I can't seem to make it do anything.

        I think I will take your advice and cook a few potatoes. That seems harmless enough and I should be able to see if it's working or not. Thanks for that idea. I will report back, if I'm still alive.

        1. re: Nyleve

          should of stuck with an aluminum Presto model.... :)

          1. re: Nyleve

            The dial on my Fagor has 3 positions. One lets me remove it for cleaning. Another vents steam. The third is the normal pressure setting.

            I use the vent position only if I don't want to build up pressure, or if I want to release it after cooking.

        2. I'm not an expert, but I did read the instructions on my Fagor Duo carefully when I got it (all the books say to study the manual!), and yours sounds like a pretty similar design. My pot has four pressure valve settings, two for pressure (15psi, which is standard, and 8psi), release, and remove-for-cleaning. And the little yellow button which pops up and locks the lid. And no jiggle top.

          So you put the lid on your food and turn the heat on. Eventually the button pops up. My manual says the pot's got pressure, but not full pressure, at this point. A while later steam starts shooting out of the valve. Now I start the timer and lower the stove heat until steam's just barely coming out of the valve. The pressure valve setting is limiting the pressure inside the pot to 15psi by releasing the excess through the valve, so I know I have 15psi in the pot because there's a little excess being released. When cook time's up I release the pressure by whatever method the recipe says to (cold-water-in-sink is fastest, pressure-release valve setting is most convenient, let-it-sit-on-the-stove-till-it-unlocks keeps meat from toughening but of course is the lengthiest). And of course I make sure the steam's always blowing away from everyone I care about and I always open the lid away from me to avoid steam burns, and before every use I check my valve isn't blocked and my gasket's oiled.

          Experts should feel free to tell me I misread my manual, but I did read it carefully, and my results have been fine so far.

          5 Replies
          1. re: tcd

            Actually this is really helpful. I will give the dang thing another go this morning. I got scared off when there was a ton of steam coming out so I shut it down. But there was still some steam coming out and I wasn't absolutely sure how much steam I should be comfortable with. I'll go for just a bit of steam that the little button thingy stays up but the whole business isn't blowing like crazy. It does sound like your unit has a similar operation to mine. Thanks so much - I really appreciate your comments.

            1. re: Nyleve

              Success success success! Thanks to tcd - it was exactly as you said. I just got scared because it's not clear exactly when it's at the right pressure. But what you described is exactly how it works. I made pulled pork (meh - but good in a pinch) and chili (good). Tomorrow more experiments. Thank you!

              1. re: Nyleve

                I'm fairly new to pressure-cooking (I have a Fagor with only one pressure setting) and it does take a little experience to distinguish between a "friendly hiss" and an "angry hiss" from the valve!

                1. re: Jeri L

                  On a Presto it is easier to distinguish between a gentle rocking, and vigorous one.

                  Fagor suggests that if you have electric stove, to use two burners. One on high to bring it to pressure, low-medium to maintain it. This makes 'turning down' the heat faster.

                  1. re: paulj

                    Yeah - I would say that the real issue with this particular pressure cooker is that there's no clear way to distinguish between, as Jeri L says, a nice friendly hiss and an angry one. That's what threw me off. I somehow expected there to be a moment when you know it's doing what it should be - but there isn't one. I am using a gas stove but even so there's a real lag between turning it down and seeing the result of the lowered heat. And the semi-English manual just made things worse. Oh well - now I've got the hang of it.

          2. Hi, I think I have the same pressure cooker. Is it this one? http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse...
            The instructions make no sense to me whatsoever... I see two settings for the pressure, one is like a capital I and one is like a pot with steam. From what I learned by trial and error, I think the I is the setting for cooking under pressure and the other one is the setting to release steam. I keep the pot at a temperature necessary to keep the red thing popped up. The instructions indicate there are two pressure settings, but I think there is only one...
            Nyleve, is that the one you have, and are you using it the same way?
            I'm mostly typing this so that we poor souls with the same pc and the same set of incomprehensible instructions can make sense of this!

            1 Reply
            1. re: mym

              It's not the exact same model, but close. I finally did figure it out to the point that I can use it without donning a hazmat suit and putting the animals outside for their own safety. My model has a "switch" (if you can call it that) with two pictures - one is a pot with a few bubbles and the other with a lot of bubbles. I have come to assume that the many bubbles setting is high pressure. That's what I use because I can't imagine why on earth anyone would ever use low pressure. So I put the food inside, shut the top and let it heat on medium-high until the red thingy pops up. Then I lower the heat slightly and let it come to full pressure, which you can tell because it starts to hiss loudly. That's when I turn the burner down as low as possible that there's still a slight hiss, and the red thing stays popped up. At that point I begin timing. It seems to work well but honestly - the instruction booklet is a parody of itself.

              You may have a slightly different cooker - which is why the single pressure setting (you really only need one). But I don't suppose the Fresco company felt any great need to supply different instructions for the various models because, anyway, why bother? Good luck!