Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: northeast of Boulder Colorado
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My pressure cooker came with a book that explained the "science" behind it. Basically the pressure cooker has a rubber seal on it. As the pot heats up, the heat causes the pot to essentially vacuum seal itself. Under these high pressures, water boils at a higher temp than normal, so the food cooks MUCH faster. (The same priniciple is why water boils at a higher temp at sea level vs here in Colorado. Higher altitude = lower air pressure)
When you're done, you can either let the pot cool to break the seal, or you can release the pressure with a special valve (it really depends on what you're making as to which release method you use).
Like a crockpot, you must have liquid in the pot for it to work.