Hey, cooking friends! By now, if you’re visiting this site, you’ve gotten wind that I love pressure cooking so much I wrote a book on it. “Modern Pressure Cooking” is a love of labor and passion of something my mother taught me at an early age. I’m so thankful for the gift of being efficient without sacrificing the true joy of cooking and making delicious meals.
Along the way over the last 10 or so years of blogging and writing food articles, many of you have asked really great questions about pressure cooking and how it works. It is really good for you? Does the food really better taste? Are they dangerous like my grandma used to warn? Since the book came out, the questions have quadrupled — a great sign more people are exploring it -– and gotten even better; with some scientific angling to the queries. Pressure-cooking is all about science so those questions; in particular, give me great fodder for conversation and more evangelism, as I call it. But, since all questions are important and will help you become a pressure-cooking enthusiast, I’ve created a FAQ guide that will answer and address the most critical questions a lot of you have asked. I hope you find it helpful and will be inspired to purchase and cook lots of deliciousness in an olla de presión.
Are pressure cookers still dangerous? Can you address my giant fear of them exploding?
This is the most asked question from every generation cook I’ve ever spoken to or worked with. Modern pressure cookers are not dangerous at all. I say this with conviction and excitement knowing that the past 12 or so years I’ve spent “lobbying” for pressure cooking to make a comeback have finally been worth it. It is true that vintage style and model cookers had a risk factor attached to them, but a lot of the “explosions” you’ve heard about were caused by user-error. The regulator or “jiggler” on older models is a removable part that could have injured anyone who tried to pry open a cooker while pressure was still in it. The revolutionary technology supporting modern pressure cookers eliminates the fear factor altogether. New cookers, whether stovetop or electric have safety features and locks which do not allow a user to open it under any circumstance unless 100% of the pressure is released. The regulator on both styles are not made of stainless steel or aluminum and thus don’t carry the weight of a metal part thrusting up in the air with tremendous velocity. Most are made out of plastic.
Do keep in mind that releasing pressure can require you to turn the pressure valve to one of three positions. Depending on the release method, very hot steam will hose outward. Always, always point the line of the stream away from your body and face. Never place your hands in the line of the steam release valve. See the following questions for suggestions for purchasing a modern cooker.
See the rest of the guide by clicking below.
(Images are of a few of my vintage and modern pressure cookers, including an electric one. Photographed by Ken Goodman Photography.)