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You are about to find out why Fagor Pressure Cookers are the single most important piece of cookware you'll ever own. In the summer: Because foods are cooked under pressure with the lid on, this reduces heat in the kitchen area. In the spring: In a pressure cooker, you can keep most of the color found in fresh, spring vegetables because pressure cooking maintains the natural color and flavor of foods. How A Pressure Cooker Works excerpt from The Ultimate Pressure Cooker Cookbook, by Tom Lacalamita, Simon & Schuster A pressure cooker is basically a metal pot with a lid. Pressure Cooking at High Altitudes If you are cooking at high altitudes the cooking times must be longer, as water and cooking liquids come to a boil more slowly.
History of Pressure Cookers excerpt from The Ultimate Pressure Cooker Cookbook, by Tom Lacalamita, Simon & Schuster The seventeenth-century French inventor Denis Papin was one of those interested in developing a new method to cook food quickly at relatively low cost.
After serious outbreaks of food poisoning in the early 1900s, including the deaths of thirty five people between 1919 and 1920 from botulism caused by improperly jarred olives, the United States Department of Agriculture officially announced that the only way to safely process low-acid foods was to use pressure canners. By the late 1940s, with peace in Europe and the Pacific, the consumer pressure-cooker market took off. While pressure cookers revolutionized how the average homemaker was able to cook in the years following World War II, other advances in food preparation would soon begin to overshadow their convenience.
As we entered the 1990s, many baby boomers that had never used a pressure cooker began to discover the benefits of pressure-cooker cooking, and the number continues to grow today. You will find in the Fagor Pressure Cooker your new best friend in the kitchen, enabling you to prepare healthy, diverse meals in 70% less time than traditional cooking.
All Fagor models feature components that greatly reduce the cooking time and take the guesswork out of the pressure cooking experience.
Some Fagor models can be used as pressure canners as well, helping you stock your pantry with your favorite sauces, jellies or meats.
Just load the ingredients and liquids into the cooker, close the lid, bring to pressure and cook, then release and open the lid. Because foods are cooked under pressure, up to 50% more vitamins and minerals are retained.
Fagor Pressure Cookers have three safety valves that permit any possible excess pressure to escape, so the cooking experience is completely secure. All types of foods can be cooked in a pressure cooker – from vegetables, rice, stews, soups, chicken, fish, meat, even desserts. Because pressure cooking reduces cooking times up to 70%, this means a tremendous conservation of energy. The steam pressure breaks down the fibers in food in a very short time, leaving food moist and succulent, with an intense intermingling of flavors.


The lid components vital to the function and operation of the pressure cooker are the rubber-sealing gasket, pressure regulator, and pressure-relief valves.
In 1680, Papin introduced a revolutionary new cooking device, the marmite de Papin, or the Papin Digester.
Even though they were made from molded aluminum, a material we associate with lightweight strength, they were large and heavy.
Almost overnight there were eleven different manufacturers offering eighty-five different pressure saucepans (as they were called).
With the advent of products like frozen entrees and prepared foods in the postwar years, America's eating habits began to change dramatically. Cook risotto in 7 minutes, chicken in 15 minutes, rice in 5 minutes and even cheesecake in 30 minutes! We have earned our reputation by specifically designing our cookware to be long lasting, safe and easy to use.
Also, shorter cooking times retain more nutritional values of food as well as the natural color. When the lid is properly locked into place on the pressure cooker, an air- and steam-tight seal is created.
Since the cooking times increase at altitudes higher than 2,000 feet, you will also have to add more cooking liquid to compensate.
From what little we know, the Papin Digester was made from cast metal, perhaps iron, with a lid that locked in place with a screw like clamping mechanism. But fifty-gallon capacity pressure canners were not useful for those who wanted to preserve food at home. Early models also required the user to screw and unscrew six to eight wing nuts on the lid to close and open the unit.
Prices dropped and quality suffered as unscrupulous manufacturers entered the market to capitalize on the growing demand. Consumers were seeking an even higher level of convenience than that afforded by the pressure cooker, and it began to fall out of favor. As the cooking liquid in the pressure cooker is heated over high heat to the boiling point (212 °F), steam is created. There are no fixed rules, so try increasing the cooking liquid by approximately half the percentage of the additional cooking time.
As the food heated in its cooking liquid, the trapped steam raised the cooking temperature to at least 15 percent higher than the boiling point of water. In 1915, smaller, ten-gallon aluminum pressure canners for home use first became available to meet the growing demand from American consumers who wanted a safer way to preserve food.


Manufacturers were inspired by the popularity of this device to try to develop a unit that was easier to use. While consumers were well aware of the benefits of using a pressure cooker for preparing meals-cooking in just one-third of the time, preserving vitamin and mineral content of food, and saving both food flavor and color- they also grew more skeptical with the increasing number of horror stories about exploding and rupturing units. It would not be until the late 1960s and early 1970s, which saw an increased awareness of healthy eating, that pressure cookers would begin to once again gain in popularity.
Since the steam cannot escape from the sealed pressure cooker, it remains trapped inside and pressure is created. This very hot steam cooked the food quicker than the ordinary methods available at that time. In 1938, Alfred Vischer, after much trial and error, introduced his Flex-Seal Speed Cooker, the first saucepan-sized pressure cooker.
Little by little, companies began to drop out of the category, until finally only those truly dedicated to the development of safe, foolproof units remained.
The internal cooking temperature will vary depending on the different levels of pressure created by the trapped steam.
The only problem with this new technology was the lack of understanding about regulating the steam pressure and the inability to accurately regulate the cooking temperature, leading, unfortunately, to many an exploding digester. Competition soon followed, with other manufacturers also introducing saucepan-sized pressure cookers. Another major drawback was the lack of technology to produce machine-stamped pots (made from a single piece of metal). Success would have to wait a few years longer, however, since America, just on the verge of entering World War II, was busy converting all civilian manufacturing facilities to war production.
The cast or molded pots that were used would eventually crack along their seams under high levels of pressure, spewing the contents sky-high.
While this temporarily ended the manufacture of pressure cookers for consumer use, production of commercial pressure canners continued during this period in order to meet the growing need to feed Gls overseas. In developing and testing the recipes contained in this book, high pressure was used for each recipe with excellent results.
Even though Papin never saw his concept and invention reach its full potential, he at least provided the basic notion of cooking under high pressure. For the most part, foods cooked under high pressure are cooked at 250 °F, which is 38 °F hotter than when food is boiled in a normal pot and speeds up the cooking process considerably.



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