Pressure cookers may look sturdy, but their vital parts are as susceptible to wear and tear as the most delicate of home appliances. Rather ironically, the risk of wear and tear can also stem from malpractices carried out during cleaning of the product. Hence, it is necessary to know not only what pressure cooker maintenance tips are, but also how they should be translated into practice. Given the need for this two pronged approach and the fact that older pressure cooker maintenance guides contain a number of tips that are inapplicable to the latest generation, we decided to compile a short list of features that can keep your state of the art cooker in top shape for years to come.
Gasket Maintenance is vital
The gasket, or the rubber ring that runs around the rim of the lid, is one of the most important cooker parts because it ensures that the heat and steam stay inside. However, as dust and oil accumulate on it, the gasket becomes looser and can even develop cracks. A cracked gasket has to be replaced, but prior to reaching this dire situation, a few simple steps can save the day:
- Slip a fingernail or thin file into the space between the rubber gasket and the metal (or glass) lid, such that the gasket is raised slightly.
- Peel off the gasket and remove it carefully, ensuring that no cracks or damage occurs to it.
- Rinse the gasket in water and leave it to dry after making sure that no debris is left on it.
- Apply vegetable oil on the gasket to ensure longevity. Do not substitute chemicals or petroleum oils as these have a tendency of melting the rubber gasket.
- Once fully coated, replace the gasket on the lid.
Such maintenance should be carried out at least once per month to ensure that the gasket is working properly.
Storage with Baking Soda
When not in use, the pressure cooker should be stored away in a dry area. If the product is compact like the Secura 6-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker 6qt, it can even be stored within a large airtight box to avoid build-up of moisture. If this is not possible, the product should be stored with a box of baking soda placed within and a little soda spread on the interior base of the cooker for added security against fungi and moisture.
Ensure a clean vent pipe
The vent pipe is vital for releasing the steam that is building up inside the cooker at all times. Some foodstuffs like rhubard cause the pipe to become clogged, leading in turn to poor steam release and damage to both the food and the cooker. While it is not ideal to pass water through the cooker’s nozzle and pipe, one can blow and pass some vegetable oil down the pipe to ensure a smoother cooking experience.
Make Use of Mild Cleaning Agents
Unlike the exterior of the product, the interior and other delicate parts cannot be cleaned with harsh cleaning agents containing chlorine or benzene. Instead, a mild detergent or utensil cleaning agent should be used along with a brush or soft nylon cloth. The steps for cleaning are –
- Take a little detergent on the nylon pad or brush and rub the nooks and crannies of the product carefully such that the residual foodstuffs are removed.
- With sufficient cleaning agent on the cloth, clean the interior of the pressure cooker thoroughly but gently. Avoid rubbing any area with excessive force, as this may dislocate parts. Avoid running over electronic or rubber parts, as these may require special cleaning.
- Proceed along similar lines to clean the exterior.
- Apply silver polish to improve the quality and appearance of the product if needed.
Points like cleaning pressure cooker may seem childish when considered in the context of modern day pressure cooker maintenance tips but they take on a new life since electrical products make it all the harder to keep track, especially if there is no useful LED light like that on the MaxiMatic EPC-808 Elite Platinum 8-Quart Pressure Cooker. Indeed, if the points regarding gasket management and pipe maintenance are followed diligently, there is no reason why the product should not reward you with many more years of excellent service.