#AtoZChallenge: #Cooking Terms – Pressure Cooking

Pressure Cooking is a cooking method that uses steam under a locked lid to produce high temperatures and achieve a faster cooking time. The use of a pressure cooker is not the same as a pressure canner, though there are units that can work as both, usually referred to as a Pressure cooker/canner.   If you decide to buy such make sure that it has a pressure gauge, not just a pressure valve if you want to safely process low acid foods, meats or fish.

Pressure cookers rapidly cook meats, vegetables and other foods but may not maintain adequate pressure.  Also, they heat and cool too quickly to use them to safely pressure can foods.

Pressure canners have either dial or weighted gauges. Pressure canners are necessary to safely can foods such as meats and vegetables that are low in acid.

In an ordinary, non-pressurized, cooking vesse the boiling point of water is 100 °C (212 °F) at standard pressure.  In a sealed pressure cooker, the boiling point of water increases as the pressure rises, resulting in superheated water.

The concept of pressure cooking dates back to 1769 when French physicist Denis Papin invented a device called the “Steam Digester” in an effort to reduce the time needed to cook foods.  In 1917, the United States Department of Agriculture determined that pressure canning was the only safe method of preserving low-acid foods without risk of food poisoning.  It during this same time that homemakers began to discover the benefits of high speed cooking in pressure canners.  Through the years, improvements have been made to the design and functionality of both pressure cookers and pressure canners.

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Join me on an A to Z Journey of Cooking Terms throughout the month of April.

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