5 risks of a pressure cooker

Have you heard of the dangers of pressure cookers? Do not worry. In this article we explain what they are and how to prevent them.

Last update: December 28, 2021

There are kitchen utensils that are very useful for preparing food with long cooking processes, such as grains or tougher meats. However, there are a number of risks associated with a pressure cooker that you must take into account to prevent accidents.

While is true that modern pressure cookers are much safer than before, it is important not to lower your guard. In fact, throughout history there have been deaths of people due to accidents with this type of device.

Used well, they are a safe medium. It is better to follow the instructions to the letter and avoid them being in contact with children.

How does a pressure cooker work?

A pressure cooker, also known as pressure cooker or whistling pot, is a airtight container usually made of aluminum or stainless steel. Being hermetic, it does not allow air, liquid or food to escape. This brings the water to the boiling point quickly.

This pot has a pressure limiting valve because it allows steam to be released and a constant pressure to be maintained, as does the temperature. For this reason, it is also known as whistling pot, since when releasing the steam it makes a sound similar to that of a train.

Today’s pots have booster or safety valves, that guarantee better performance. Food cooks very quickly and food softens without much effort. It is often used to cook beans, chickpeas, lentils, and meats to make stews.

Risks of a pressure cooker

The most common accident when using a pressure cooker is that it explodes when opened, due to the accumulation of steam that was not expelled. However, there are also other damages that can be suffered when using a pot of this type.

For example, the Government of Colombia states that pressure cookers can present a risk of lead poisoning if, at the time of manufacture, the technical safety requirements are not met.

Stews can be prepared in a pressure cooker to speed up the process and tenderize the meat.

1. Explosion due to excess water

A pressure cooker should not be filled to more than 2/3 of its capacity, because it could explode due to the excess pressure that would be generated. Also, the valve could be plugged.

However, it is convenient that it has a minimum of 200 milliliters of water, that is, that it is not very empty. Otherwise, the food would end up burning and it wouldn’t work.

2. Burst from clogged valves

Having clogged valves is one of the worst risks when using a pressure cooker. For this reason, it is very important to always wash the lid properly and to place special emphasis on the valves.

In this way, it is controlled that the steam comes out and the pressure remains stable. Remember that in these cases, the risk is not only that the food is burned, but that people are injured.

Too it is advisable to have a pressure cooker with a safety valve. However, if you have one of the traditional ones, it is also advisable to make sure that the foods that can clog it remain at the bottom of the pot, such as the leaves.

3. Explosion and burns from high temperatures

At the beginning, when you are trying to bring the water inside the pressure cooker to a boil, it is valid to have a high heat. However, once the water starts to boil, it is best to lower the temperature to a medium heat. This will prevent an increase in the risk of explosion.

4. Metal poisoning

A publication of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico indicates that constant exposure to aluminum and other metals can have negative health effects, such as lung and nervous system damage, premature aging, and intestinal absorption problems.

In this sense, it is pointed out that utensils made of toxic metals in which we cook our food create this toxicity. Therefore, it is necessary to buy pots of good quality and with certifications that they comply with the regulations.

5. Burns from hot steam

Although it sounds like a superficial risk, hot steam burns can cause extensive damage to the skin. For this reason, caution must be exercised when uncovering the pot or handling it while it is running. Likewise, it is essential to use it with caution in the presence of children.

Burns in the kitchen are frequent accidents that can be avoided with the appropriate precautions.

Tips to Prevent Pressure Cooker Accidents

To avoid accidents due to the risks of a pressure cooker it is necessary to check that the utensil is in good condition, No damage to the lid and with the rubbers tight. Also, it is essential to read the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.

You should buy a pot of good quality, with which there is no risk of poisoning by harmful metals.

Also, you need to take care of the pot to make it work well. This means that it is necessary to prevent it from being hit so that it does not have dents and damage to the seal. It is necessary to do a periodic maintenance of the tires and the valves, making sure that there are no dirt that obstructs them.

Each time it is cooked in the pressure cooker it is convenient to wait 15 to 30 minutes for the pot to cool down, in addition to being sure that the air has been expelled and it no longer emits sounds. Nor is it convenient to generate sudden changes in temperature with it. Therefore, it is not recommended to put it under running water to cool it down.

Pay attention in the kitchen

To avoid the risks of a pressure cooker it is essential to pay attention to the alerts they give. For example, if the sound is strange, it is best to turn the pot off and let it cool down before uncovering it. To prevent this from happening, it is essential to make sure that the rubbers, the handle and the lid are well secured.

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