What Happens When You Overfill a Pressure Cooker?

By | February 10, 2017
overfill a pressure cooker

If you are reading this then you are probably wondering about the risks of overfilling a pressure cooker.

I’ve used some smaller pressure cookers before and I have frequently found myself wondering the same thing.

Let me tell you what I’ve learned.

What Happens if I Overfill my Pressure Cooker

Overfilling a pressure cooker has various effects, including loss of flavor and texture. This is caused by the excessive pressure generated by the glut of liquid. Too much pressure breaks down food.

As for the risks it is also possible for the food to block the pressure valve if the pot is filled too high. if the pressure release valve is blocked then the risk for over-increasing pressure levels starts to grow. If the safety valve is not able to vent properly then the lid can no longer regulate pressure and it can grow to dangerous levels.

See this post to read more about the maximum safe pressure these pots can get to.

If you have a lot of food to cook you still have to add the water. Pouring too little water in an effort to keep the pressure cooker from being overfilled is known to damage various components permanently. These include silicone fittings, cooker’s metal and the bakelite.

Is Using a Pressure Cooker Worth the Risk?

Preparing food with a pressure cooker is a sure-fire way to ensure healthier and tastier meals. The appliance has the capacity to cook different types of food in a shorter time (70 percent faster) with less energy than traditional methods.

Assuming you follow all safety precautions then you shouldn’t have to worry about anything. Use a pressure cooker daily is certainly worth it.

In addition pressure cookers provide a viable way to retain much more of food’s nutritional value. Conversely, cooking with a stove obliterates many nutrients that are naturally found in food. As a result, much-needed minerals and water-soluble vitamins are either washed away or cooked out. The quality of food suffers.

Pressure cookers use less water allowing vegetables to retain the crispiness, flavor and texture. This makes meals remarkably delicious. On the other hand, meats retain the desired juicy and moist quality. Super-heated steams tend to intensify natural flavors. The appliances are designed to prepare roasted beef in as little as 30 minutes and beef stew in 15 minutes.

What’s the Maximum Capacity of a Pressure Cooker

The appliances typically come with at least two maximum capacities, high and low. Use of these two setting are determined by the type of food being used. When cooking grains, beans and rice, the pressure cooker should be filled to half. All other foods can be filled up to two-thirds. Beans generally expand to double their original size during cooking. Rice and grains tend to generate a significant amount of foam and bubbles in addition to swelling. These foods spray out of the cooker’s valves once they generate foam and bubbles.

For this reason, manufacturer’s recommend opening the cooker using the natural release technique. This method is aimed at preventing the foam from spraying out. Foods that do not expand and create foam include soups, vegetables, meats and more. Mixing beans with vegetables and soup allows you to fill the appliance up to two-thirds.

In this case, the vegetables and soup counteract the expansion and foamy characteristics of beans. When cooking pasta and chickpea minestrone, it is vital to avoid overfilling the cooker by going beyond half full.

A pressure cooker’s maximum capacity serves as a safety feature that must be taken seriously. Ignoring the recommended capacity has the potential to create a hazard. The appliances receive a UL rating when they display a warning or guideline about maximum capacity. UL-136 of 2009 provides rating guidelines for all pressure cookers. These include weight-modified, jiggler, spring valves and electric pressure cookers.

Some of the sizes covered include 1 to 12 liters regardless of shape (stockpot, braiser and pressure pans). The origins of the appliances covered by the UL-136 of 2009 include Europe, Asia and America.

The recommended capacities take into account safety mechanisms. The cookers come with valves and standard safety mechanisms located in the lid. Therefore, the limits are designed to prevent both the food and the liquid from triggering or interfering with the safety mechanisms.

The majority of mishaps associated with the appliances involve the disregard or lack of knowledge about these safety requirements. Applicable measurements are usually rounded down. One cup is somewhat equivalent to dry contents that measure up to 250 milliliters.

On another level, the cooker requires a certain amount of liquid as a minimum to generate sufficient steam. Manufacturers recommend varying liquid requirements based on the specific design characteristics. See this post for more: Do You Need Water In A Pressure Cooker Every Time?

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