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You can use a pressure cooker with confidence if you remember to:

1. Read the instructions which accompany the model of pressure cooker you are using.

2. Always use liquid in pressure cooking because it forms the steam necessary to build pressure.

3. Use the cooking rack for steaming foods and for cooking several different foods at the same time without an intermingling of flavors. Do not use the cooking rack when it is desirable to blend flavors.

4. NEVER FILL THE PRESSURE COOKER OVER TWO-THIRDS FULL. If you are cooking rice or dried vegetables do not fill it over ONE-HALF FULL. Many foods expand while cooking and if the pressure cooker is too full the vent pipe could become clogged. If this should occur, pressure could not be released normally; the excess pressure would build and would eventually force the overpressure plug out of its cover opening.

5. Do not cook foods which tend to sputter and froth such as applesauce, cranberries, rhubarb, pearl barley, split peas, oatmeal or other cereals, noodles, macaroni, or spaghetti. They could block the vent pipe.

6. Hold the cover up to a light and look through the vent pipe to be certain it is open before closing the cover. Keep it clear with a small brush or pipe cleaner.

7. Be especially careful to close the cover completely. Cover handle must be directly over body handle so the pressure cooker can seal and pressure can build.

8. Keep your eye on the pressure regulator. When it starts rocking rapidly adjust the heat to maintain a slow, steady rocking motion.

9. When the pressure regulator begins to rock, start to count cooking time. Always use a timer. Foods cook very fast in a pressure cooker and even an extra minute can overcook many foods, especially vegetables.

10. Follow instructions in recipe for reducing pressure. Quick cooling is usually used for delicate foods such as custards and vegetables. For dense foods such as roasts and most stews, the pressure cooker is set aside and pressure is allowed to drop of its own accord.

11. Never remove the pressure regulator or open the pressure cooker until you are certain that pressure has been reduced. (See instructions which come with your pressure cooker for information on how to tell when pressure has been reduced.) Always remove the pressure regulator before opening the cover.

12. Experiment with your favorite recipes. To adapt them for pressure cooking, check a similar recipe in the instruction book for cooking time, amount of liquid, and method of reducing pressure. Generally, cooking time will be reduced by about two-thirds. When trying your converted recipe for the first time, use at least one cup of liquid.


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