Now that you know what Electric Pressure Cookers are, let us see how Electric Pressure Cookers are constructed and how they work.
Electric Pressure Cookers or for that matter any other pressure cookers usually have the following 4 components:
- Inner Pot,
- Lid and
- Safety Valves
This is the outer container of the electric pressure cooker which holds the Inner Pot inside it.
The housing of electric pressure cookers usually has the following components:
- Heating element,
- Temperature Sensor,
- Pressure Sensor and
- Control Panel
The control panel of the electric pressure cookers is usually placed on the Housing so that it is easier of the user to monitor and control the cooking. It gives one touch access to the different cooking cycles supported by the electric pressure cooker.
This control panel can also be called as the heart of the electric pressure cookers.
The control panel is usually equipped with a built-in micro-processor which controls the temperature and pressure inside the pressure cooker.
The control panels of some electric pressure cookers will cut-off the heating if any unnecessary pressure built-up is noticed.
The housing will also have handles attached to it so that the electric pressure cooker can be lifted easily.
This is the vessel in which we have to put the food which is to be cooked. It is placed inside the housing while operating the electric pressure cooker.
Inner Pot is removable and usually made up of Aluminum or Stainless Steel. Since Stainless Steel has lower thermal conductivity, inner pot made from stainless steel usually have copper-clad bottom so that heat spreads uniformly.
Typically the size of Inner Pot of electric pressure cookers is 3 liters (3 quart) to 6 liters (6.3 quart).
Any size above this becomes difficult to handle and is usually not recommended.
Lid is the top part of the electric pressure cooker which fits on the housing.
The lid has a sealing ring placed between the lid and the housing. Because of this sealing ring an air tight chamber gets formed once the lid is firmly placed on the housing.
Now when heat is applied to the electric pressure cooker, pressure starts to build up in the air tight chamber which results in cooking of the food.
In normal pressure cookers there is always a chance that the lid might not get firmly placed on the housing resulting in the lid being blown off as pressure builds up.
This is where electric pressure cookers have an advantage. Many of the modern electric pressure cookers do not start the heating till the lid is properly closed. This avoids any untoward incident.
Any excessive pressure inside the cooker is released through the regulator on the lid.
If for some reason the regulator gets blocked due to food particles, there is usually a safety valve which provides an alternate way for letting the pressure out.
Some electric pressure cookers have a rubber grommet with a metal insert on the lid. If pressure exceeds the defined limits, the shape of the rubber grommet gets distorted due to which the metal insert is blown off to release the pressure.
Still if the pressure keeps on rising, the grommet itself is blown off to release the excessive pressure.
This forms the last line of defense for any failure in the operation of electric pressure cookers.
However, usually this line is never breached. Modern day electric pressure cookers control the pressure and keep it below the defined limits.
Described above is the basic construction and working of electric pressure cookers.
The operating procedures of electric pressure cookers vary depending on the manufacturer. But the basic remains the same.
The cooking settings are done with the help of control panel and then the electric pressure cookers automatically keep track of the pressure and temperature within the cooker.
In the next article let us see the benefits of using of electric pressure cookers.