Today, one of the most popular style options for a pressure cooker has become the jiggle top pressure cooker because of how you can precisely control the pressure.
Despite their popularity, newcomers should pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions to vent steam safely. Some models alert you when the pressure reaches dangerous levels. Turn down the heat once it reaches the required PSI.
To begin, read the instruction manual to understand the parts and specifics of your pressure cooker. Each one will have unique nuances, which you need to understand for safety reasons. You want to learn what you can do and what you can’t do. Pay special attention to how you manage the pot’s pressure levels.
Before using your jiggle top pressure cooker, inspect the pressure release stem for debris. You do this each time. Even with a brand-new model, you want to examine it for obstructions because a blocked safety valve can make the cooker explode. Check all components of your pressure cooker to ensure that it works before use.
Some of the components to examine include:
- Pressure safety valve
- Locking mechanism
- Overpressure plug
Look at all the components ahead of time to see that everything will run safely. Check out this article that further details the parts of pressure cookers.
Important to note: You should pay special attention to the sealing ring to ensure it isn’t cracked or dried. This matters because a cracked or dried sealing ring could rupture or leak scalding hot steam. You usually want to keep a spare sealing ring on hand so that you never feel tempted to use a broken one. They don’t cost much. Link to seal article
Preparing Your Jiggle Top Pressure Cooker
After you have cleaned your pressure cooker, add a few inches of water to the pot. Then add the food to the bottom rack. Never fill a pressure cooker more than two-thirds full.
Not only does it risk exploding, but the excess pressure will also break down your food and also cause it to lose flavor and texture. The extra food also carries a risk that it could block the pressure valve.
Exercise caution with starchy foods. Regular foods shouldn’t be filled more than two-thirds full, but you shouldn’t fill the pressure cooker with starchy foods more than half full because of how it expands.
As you put the lid on the top of your jiggle top pressure cooker, pay special attention to how you align the lid. Look for alignment marks.
Turning on the Heat Settings
After you align everything, turn on the heat settings of your pressure cooker. Dial the heat setting to what the recipe calls for. You will see steady steam shooting out of the pressure cooker within seconds of turning on the heat. Don’t be alarmed.
Once the steam exits the pressure cooker, you want to apply the weight to the valve stem. After you have done this, you will wait five to 10 minutes before the pressure cooker reaches its full pressure.
Pressure Cooker Reaching the Right PSI
The weight in the jiggle top pressure cooker will begin to jiggle once it reaches the right PSI. This means a lower heat setting. When you go to lower the heat setting, don’t lower the heat too much. You want it as low as possible without losing pressure in the container.
Each pressure cooker will have a simple indicator that you can use, and you should read your instruction manual to know the specifics. You want to lower the heat as soon as it reaches the right PSI because it lowers the risk that you will overcook your food.
Set the Timer
Once you lower the heat, the timer begins immediately. The duration of the timer depends on your recipe. Always check to see that you have illuminated the symbol on the timer without drawing attention away from it. Stay close so that you can turn it off when it goes off.
Warning: Don’t Do This
Some people cheat at this point and remove the jiggle top weight to accelerate the cooking. We don’t advise this. The weight exists to control pressure. As the pressure reaches excess levels, it lifts the weight and lowers the pressure. Remove the weight, and it can lead to rapid temperature changes and burns.
In particular, the rapid temperature changes become a problem with the water bath method of canning. Rapid temperature changes can cause thermal shock. That can shatter all the glass jars in your pressure cooker from the temperatures changing too quickly.
How Do You Tell When the Food is Cooked?
How can you tell when the food in the pressure cooker has been cooked when you can’t see the food? You have multiple indicators, but first, we use the timer. The other thing is that you will smell the food once it has been cooked. After the timer is up, you will let your jiggle top pressure cooker depressurize.
The Process of Depressurizing
Depending on the ingredients and the liquid used, it takes 10 to 15 minutes for the pressure cooker to fully depressurize naturally. After the timer sounds, you can shut off the pressure cooker.
You can either let it naturally release, or you can use the quick-release method. The quick release takes between one to two minutes for it to fully depressurize.
Quick-release works best for things like vegetables that you don’t want to overcook.
Natural release, on the other hand, releases the pressure naturally. You don’t have to do anything with this release, and some people find it less intimidating because a quick release makes a lot of noise from the steam. The natural release doesn’t let loose a jet of steam.
When the pressure cooker fully depressurizes, you can open it. A locking mechanism exists to keep you from opening the cooker when under pressure. While they made it next to impossible to open, you should never try to open it either because it could explode.
Expert Advice: Don’t release the pressure under hanging cabinets because the steam can damage them. Also, don’t use the quick release for fatty or thick ingredients because it can clog the safety valve.
Cleaning Your Jiggle Top Pressure Cooker
Pay special attention to how you clean your jiggle top pressure cooker because this will make a big difference in safety.
You might put the inner container through a dishwasher, but never put the lid or sealing ring in the dishwasher. Also, it’d be best not to do this unless the manufacturer labels it “dishwasher safe.” Link to dishwasher-safe article
The dishwasher can force small particles of food into the valves and vents, which can obstruct the steam at a critical moment, causing it to explode.
Most people don’t advise that you put the pressure cooker in the dishwasher at all to be safe. When you go to wash your pressure cooker, never immerse the lid in the water because this can cause damage to the safety valves.
You need to clean your jiggle top pressure cooker after each use to prevent clogs and a lingering odor. Clean around the sealing ring to prevent food buildup. It should remain flexible when you put the sealing ring around the pressure cooker. Too much rigidity and you need to replace it.
Important to note: Don’t clean with white vinegar for an aluminum pressure cooker. The acid from the vinegar can stain your pressure cooker.
Clean burnt-on stains as soon as you see them. The buildup from burnt-on stains can cause clogs. After you fill the pressure cooker with soap and water, leave it to soak for two hours. Don’t soak the lid because it can damage the safety valve, but soaking the pot removes caked-on food.
You use a damp sponge to clean away burnt-on food. When it comes to the storage of your pressure cooker, you want to store the pressure cooker’s weight inside the pot. You do this along with the other components of your pressure cooker.
Now that we have looked at the overall process of pressure cooking with a jiggle-top pressure cooker, we will look at some tips that can help you to use them better.
Must read resource – can appliances go in a dishwasher
Tip #1: Brown the Meat ahead of Time
Inside the cooker, the meat won’t brown. You need to brown it in advance before you put it inside the cooker with the liquid. It looks better and therefore tastes better if you brown the meat beforehand.
Along with meat, you may want to pre-cook onions, garlic, and spices because that also tastes better. You don’t need to do this when in a rush, but it adds appeal.
The browning of the meat creates a process known as the Maillard reaction. It produces hundreds of distinct and newly flavorful compounds. Especially once you go to add liquid in the jiggle top pressure cooker, the tasty compounds diffuse throughout the meal.
Tip #2: Thickening Your Sauces
Pressure cooking retains moisture. This means that your sauces won’t thicken inside the pressure cooker. To thicken sauces in the jiggle top pressure cooker, wait until after you remove the lid and turn the heat on as you lower it slowly.
Stir the sauces as you do this. Adding cornflour and water thickens the sauces. You don’t have to add the cornflour to thicken it, but this accelerates the process.
Tip #3: Use the Cold Water Release Method
We mentioned the quick release and natural release previously, but you have a third option called the cold-water release. You run cold water over the pressure cooker to reduce the pressure inside.
Doing this makes sense when cooking fish and vegetables to avoid overcooking the food. The natural release works best for things like casseroles. Anything where a longer cooking time won’t have a big impact.
The quick-release works best for any dish that isn’t delicate. In some cases, the recipe will specify to use quick release, natural release, or cold water release.
Tip #4: Great for Tenderizing Cheap Cuts of Meat
Perhaps one of the best ways to use the pressure cooker, you can use it when you buy cheap cuts of meat at the supermarket. Pressure cookers work best when you have large cuts of meat.
On the other hand, you might cook with a slow cooker when you have soups or stews with fewer tender cuts of meat. Large pieces of meat don’t work as well in the crockpot because the heat can’t penetrate them as easily.
Pressure cookers have a second advantage when cooking, the meats come out moist. If you wanted more developed flavors, the slow cooker does better because it has more time to heat the foods and develop the flavor.
Tip #5: Cut Uniform Sizes of Meat
As much as possible, cut your meat pieces into uniform sizes. This leads to even heat distribution that cooks the meats evenly. However, the reality of meat in the pressure cooker is that by the time it reaches 15 PSI, some of the meat will already be overcooked.
Best and Worst Cuts of Meat for a Jiggle Top Pressure Cooker
|BEST CUTS OF MEAT||WORST CUTS OF MEAT|
|Fatty meats with bones||Premium meats|
|Cheap and tough cuts that need tenderizing||Lean meats|
|Meat with skin, fat, or marbling||Meats without skin and little fat|
Whole chicken, wings, thighs, bone, and skin on the breast go well in the pressure cooker. Because of the fat on pork like ribs, brisket, or point cut, it also tends to cook well in the pressure cooker. You want to avoid skinless chicken, pork tenderloin, and the best meat cuts, however.
Conclusion – How to Use a Jiggle Top Pressure Cooker
Using a jiggle top pressure cooker resembles most of the other pressure cookers, except it jiggles when it reaches full pressure. This tells you to turn down the heat.
The pressure cooker should jiggle an estimated one to four times per minute. If it jiggles more than that, it indicates too high of pressure. However, don’t rely on this by itself, and pay attention to the gauge as well for complete safety.
One-Pot Cooking Rocks