How to Care for Pressure Cookers

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When you want to cook tasty and healthy food fast, pressure cookers top the list. Not only can you cook meats, fish, chicken and casseroles in minutes, but you can use the freshest ingredients and prepare meals from scratch with minimal effort. If you’re in the market for a pressure cooker, you’ll have to learn how to use it and take care of it properly. Take these simple steps to effectively clean, maintain and store your pressure cooker so that it lasts for many years.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • Plastic scrubber
  • Mild dish washing soap
  • Dishwasher
  • Non-abrasive cleaner
  • Oil

Cleaning

Place the bottom of your pressure cooker in the dishwasher unless the manufacturer says not to. For best results, wash the bottom unit by hand using a sponge or a soft scrubber soaked in mild dishwashing soap.

Remove hard food spots with a cleaning pad or a plastic scrubber brush. Clean your very dirty pressure cooker with a non-abrasive cleanser such as Bon Ami. Stay away from using abrasive cleansers that can scratch your pressure cooker.

Wash the gasket, pressure weight, and other parts that can be removed from the lid separately in hot water with a sponge or a non-metal scrubber with a mild dishwashing soap. Use a toothbrush to clean the inside of the weight.

Add a cup of cold water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid to your pressure cooker and let it get hot over a low flame to remove burned-on food. As the pot heats, you’ll be able to loosen the offensive food by working it with a plastic or wooden spatula in the hot soapy water.

Maintenance

Give your pressure cooker a thorough cleaning and inspection once a year. Check the gasket, knobs and handles for cracks, loosening, or other signs of age. Replace rubber or silicon parts as necessary.

Clean the inside of the pressure regulator weight and the vent pipe on old-style pressure cookers with a small brush or pipe cleaner. Remove the entire valve assembly on newer pressure cookers and wash all the parts by hand in hot soapy water. Dry the parts on a clean towel and then put it back together.

Tighten handle and lid screws if they become loose and replace them as necessary. Add a drop of oil to the handle screws to give them a longer life.

Storage

Store your pressure cooker with the lid placed upside down on top of the cooker bottom. Put the gasket on top of the lid and lay the weight down on its side.

Place the gasket and weight of your pressure cooker in a tightly locked Ziplock bag with a bit of baking soda and put the bag inside the pressure cooker. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda inside the bottom of the pressure cooker to eliminate moisture and odor.

Close the lid, and store your pressure cooker in the manner described in Step 2 if you’re not going to use it for a long time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dry your pressure cooker completely before storing it away.
  • Use a good metal polish to add shine to the outside of your stainless steel pressure cooker.
  • Wash a pressure cooker that’s been in storage for a long time before using it again.
  • If the inside of your pressure cooker becomes scaly, clean it with vinegar.
  • Don’t use scouring pads made from metal or steel wool to clean your pressure cooker.
  • Avoid soaking the pressure cooker lid in water as it’ll damage the safety valves.
  • Don’t put your pressure cooker in a hot oven.

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