Posted by: lornasass | May 22, 2012

THE MARRIAGE OF PRESSURE COOKER AND COOKTOP

There may be occasional trouble in paradise… 

Go to this link and read the thorough “low-down” from Hip Pressure Cooking. 

Learn about the adjustments you need to make when you use a “pc” on an induction cooktop versus gas or electric.

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Responses

  1. I have read this article and while I applaud any attempt to make pressure cooking easier, results more consistent and encourage more people to try pressure cooking, I have a couple of concerns about what’s written.

    I agree that it’s likely that most pressure cooker recipes are written for pressure cookers working under ideal conditions and have probably been written for pressure cookers on gas cooktops. However gas burners are not universal or standardized in capability as they can differ in BTU ratings. For example in comparing just two, four-burner gas cooktops, the only burner BTU level they shared was one for 5000 BTUs. The remaining three burners of one cooktop had BTUs of 9100, 12000 and 17000 and the remaining three burners for the other cooktop had BTUs of 9500, 15000 and 15000. These BTU differences would make quite a difference in how quickly a PC would reach high pressure and how the burner would need to be adjusted to maintain it. One gets pretty close to infinite control of temperature on any gas burner, but that does not necessarily equate to precise control. One may or may not be able to “simply follow recipe directions and recommended cooking times as given.”

    I noticed that the author of the article advised a poster identified as “anonymous” that he/she choose a 2000 watt induction burner (minimum 1800 watt) if possible. I don’t know where anonymous lives, but the portable induction burners sold for home use in the US use a maximum of 1800 watts (though some have even lower wattage ratings) and require standard 110/120 volt electrical service. I suspect that in the US, a 2000 watt portable induction burner might require 220/240 volt electrical service. Such service is available, but it’s typically used for connecting appliances such as electric clothes dryers, water heaters and electric ranges. 110/120 volt receptacles and 220/240 volt receptacles don’t even look the same. What’s important is that you choose a portable induction burner that matches the requirements of your electrical service. That said, tests results obtained using 2000 watt induction cooking burners would likely not be the same as those using induction burners with a wattage of 1800 or less. It’s also important to note that portable inductions burners are not as capable as built-in induction cooktops and test data collected and advice given for one would not be applicable to the other.

    One need only read the recommended pressure cooking times for the same food from authors of a couple of different pressure cooking cookbooks to realize that cooking times are not carved in stone nor universally agreed upon. I think it still boils down to doing tests with your OWN pressure cooker and your OWN cooktop. Take notes on the results you get with your equipment and in short order, you’ll be getting consistently wonderful results. I think what we all can agree on is that pressure cooking is a great way to cook!

    • Hi Sigrid: I thank you once again for your thoroughness and I think I can also thank you on behalf of the readers of this blog. Wow, I never knew that there was this much range among gas burners, but now that you’ve shed the light it makes total sense. So cook tops are just like beans: very hard to predict–just like life itself!

      So, the best bet is to err on the side of under-cooking and finish off the dish with a few minutes of stovetop simmering. Happy cooking to all! Lorna

  2. You’re welcome, Lorna.

    I too was unaware of the differences in gas burners until I was looking for a gas range about 15 or more years ago. As usual if I’m making an expensive purchase I tried to do my homework. When I learned that not all gas burners were created equal in terms of BTUs I began asking questions wherever I looked. Sadly it was difficult to get much info from salespeople. One fellow even said, “You ought to be selling these, you know more about them than I do.” Unfortunately I now live in apartment with a typical basic electric range. I have recently purchased a portable induction burner though that I’ll be using to try to insure more consistent pressure cooking results.

    I agree, cook tops are just like beans (and life itself): very hard to predict. Your advice is spot on – err on the side of under-cooking and finish off the dish with stovetop simmering or even bring it back to high pressure for a few more minutes if it’s seriously undercooked.

  3. Great information from both of you! I didn’t know about the difference in heat in gas ranges either. And I’ve not experimented nor handled an induction burner.


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