You may recall your mother or even your grandmother talking about using the pressure cookers of old, sometimes with unexpected results. A pressure cooker uses steam to cook foods. Available in stovetop or electric models, they both work on the same principle: foods and liquids are placed inside a pot that has a pressurized chamber, and the steam transfers heat to the foods. The pressure builds up inside the pot to cook food at a high temperature, while allowing the food to retain its moisture and nutritional value. When cooking is complete, the steam can be vented using a release valve before the lid is opened.
Manufacturers are increasingly taking the guesswork out of pressure-cooking with intuitive features that make it easy to prepare delicious, nutritious meals in a flash. For example, Calphalon’s 6-quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker has a cover that locks on with the touch of a button, and a pop-up pressure indicator that makes it easy to monitor cooking times. The cooker also has a pressure release dial that lets you select from multiple settings for cooking, and to safely release the steam after you’re finished.