Whether your favorite pressure cooker is manufactured by Instant Pot, Black & Decker or some other brand, it may quickly become your favorite tool in the kitchen due to its versatility and ease-of-use.
However, pressure cookers are also dangerous. Old-style pressure cookers weren't much more than a pot for the stove with a sealable lid, a lock and a valve to let off steam. Modern pressure cookers are usually a bit more complicated and electric -- but they're just as potentially volatile.
Here are some safety tips that everyone using a pressure cooker needs to remember:
- Don't overfill your cooker. Too much food in the cooker can cause an explosion. This is particularly a problem when cooking food that expands, like rice. Keep the food to the two-thirds line on the pot for most dishes.
- Watch for items that can block the release valve with foam. Food items that create foam when cooked include cranberries, pearl barley, rhubarb and split peas.
- Double check the seal on your lid. If the seal isn't in proper alignment, you can easily end up with a mess -- or an explosion.
- The lid is another thing that should always be checked before you start cooking. Make sure that the arrow and the "locked" icon are lined up and the lid is locked to avoid a messy -- and dangerous -- explosion.
- Do not open the lid again after it has started cooking. Modern pressure cookers can take about 10 seconds to start cooking. Opening the lid again before the cooker has completely depressurized can cause a blowout.
- Stay away from the steam. A steam burn can happen very fast, so don't let anyone near the steaming pot until it cools.
Finally, stay abreast of any recall news regarding your pressure cooker. There have been reports of everything from pressure cookers that pose a fire hazard to pressure cookers exploding.
Keep in mind that product liability laws put an obligation on manufacturers, distributors and retailers to make sure that products that go on the market are safe for consumers. If you're injured in a pressure cooker accident, make sure that you find out more about your legal right to compensation.