Typically when we want something for our home we just purchase it ourselves. However, with Christmas on the horizon, I decided to hold off on a small purchase to allow Diane’s family to gift us our new Basic Essentials 5 qt. Pressure Cooker. I already own a pressure cooker but it is a biggie, designed for the 5 person family I used to cook for. My meager meal preps for two people look rather lost in the huge cooker.
Recommend this product?
I prefer a stove top pressure cooker over an electric one. No, I don’t know why, but I always have. Since it is so seldom used, I didn’t need an appliance that was way over priced but just a basic one, which make the Basic Essentials brand perfect for our home.
My older cooker is extremely heavy and difficult for me to use because of the weight and the fact it only has one handle. This new cooker is a lightweight aluminum one with two handles, making it easy to transfer from the cook top when the product is complete. It has triple safety valves and an auto lock system. I had to constantly fight with my other cooker to get it to lock.
Many people shy away from pressure cookers and I understand why. I’ve seen up close and personal what can happen to something that isn’t attended to properly. Removing exploded food stuff from a ceiling … not pretty at all. In addition, it can be a bit dangerous if it accidentally explodes. After 20+ years of using a pressure cooker, I have yet to view an explosion that wasn’t man made [or woman made] by improper handling. I’ve not seen a cooker explode under normal working conditions and I find them completely safe and reliable.
What you are cooking determines the length of time required for operation. Since these reduce the cooking time by as much as 70%, you can well imagine how it could facilitate a fast and tasty meal. the idea of the cooker is that the pressure inside the sealed container is actually higher than the boiling point of water, causing the item to cook faster. Because it is steam cooking, it tenderizes even the toughest cut of meat in a natural way and leaves it moist.
After your cooker reaches the maximum internal pressure, the safety valve on the top begins to vibrate slightly, making a small hissing sound. This is the point from which your item is actually cooking and how you should judge the length of cooktime. After reaching the cooktime required, remove the cooker from the heated area and let cool naturally.
Don’t mistakenly think that I mean the item is cooling, it remains hot and succulent inside the cooker. What is cooling is the built up steam in the cooker. After it reaches normal temperature and all the steam has been released, the second safety valve, which is a pop-up type, lowers to the top of the lid and you know it is safe to open it and get to the grub. If you aren’t the patient type, you can quick release the steam by placing the cooker in the sink and letting warm, not cold, water wash over the lid, helping it to cool quicker.
Do not open the lid until the pop-up safety valve has completely lowered to the lid top, it is your only sign that the steam has properly escaped. Even with that, I caution you when you open it to aim the lid away from your face to prevent the remaining steam from hitting you directly in the face.
This unit comes with a limited lifetime warranty. I highly suggest you inspect the pop-up valve and the seal ring before each use. Both are easily replaced when needed, at a fairly inexpensive price. Cleanup is really easy. It can be placed in a dishwasher but you must remove the seal ring first. In fact, you should remove the seal ring each time you use the unit and clean both it and the lid thoroughly with hot, soapy water. If you do not want to place the pan in the dishwasher, it can be completely immersed in the sink.
The use and care manual included with the cooker covers frequently asked questions, how to replace the seal ring and pop-up valve, and basic cooking times for different meat products. It is practically the only way I cook a roast anymore and about the only way you can make a round steak presentable, to say nothing of the killer fresh green beans and taters … yum.
If you’ve got all day to simmer an item, then go ahead and use that slow cooker, but if you want a delicious meal fast, try a pressure cooker.
My gratitude to the 3-some at H&G for this quick addition, especially Dawn who is always so prompt