Considering I had never used a pressure cooker until about 6 months ago, I have since then become a pretty big champion of their benefits in the home kitchen. Cooking in a pressure cooker has been around for 150 years and is a proven method to cook food in a fraction of the time that traditional cooking takes. Not only does it cook more quickly, but a pressure cooker can effectively tenderize cheaper cuts of meat that are typically tough. Pressure cooking allows food to be cooked at a greater humidity and temperature than is possible with traditional boiling, steaming or frying foods. The temperature of food is limited to the boiling point and a pressure cooker allows the steam to be trapped, increasing the temperature inside the pot. Pressure cooking can be used to quickly simulate long braising or simmering.
The Salton Stainless Steel Electronic Pressure Cooker has 5 different functions, including:
- Pressure cooking – High and Low settings
- Brown – High heat for browning meat and vegetables
- Slow Cook – Use the pressure cooker as a traditional slow cooker
- Steam – Use the included stainless steel trivet to steam vegetables, fish and more
- Warm – Keep food hot using the warm function
The lid of the pressure cooker has a silicone gasket seal and the pressure valve. Once locked in place, it creates a strong seal, perfect for creating the pressure in the cooker.
The pressure regulator on the lid has 3 settings. If you are using the pressure cooking setting, then the regulator needs to be set for pressure.
I love being able to do everything in one pot, as it reduces what needs to be cleaned and it makes cooking easier. With that in mind, there is one feature on this Salton pressure cooker that I really like – the Brown setting. This allows you to brown meat or saute vegetables before the rest of the ingredients are added and the pressure cooking function is started. I made some pinto beans in the pressure cooker and, before I added the beans, I browned some bacon. The pressure cooker got quite hot on the Brown setting, and the bacon cooked up really well and actually started to crisp.
Once the bacon was rendered, I added the dry pinto beans, an onion, a pepper, some aromatics and water to the pressure cooker. I closed the lid and made sure that the regulator was set to pressure. The control panel shows all the options available on the Salton 5 in 1 pressure cooker.
When using the Pressure function, you can use either High or Low pressure. Along with choosing the pressure, the cooking duration needs to be set. For the pinto beans, I set it for High pressure and a duration of 65 minutes. The timer does not start counting down right when the Start button is pressed. Instead, the timer starts only when the machine has reached the required pressure level. This can take a number of minutes, depending on how much food is in the cooking bowl.
Electric pressure cookers are easy to operate during the whole cooking process, there is no need to check on it. It builds up to pressure, and cooks the allotted time. Once that is done, the machine beeps and the pressure slowly begins to release naturally. This can take 10 minutes or so, but it can also be sped up by slowly turning the pressure regulator to release the steam and pressure.
The pinto beans I made were amazing and they were perfectly tender. I cook beans in the pressure all the time now, and it is easily the quickest way to cook dry beans. There is no need to even soak them in water overnight.
I also tried making rice in the Salton pressure cooker. To do this, I added 2 cups of jasmine rice and 3 cups of water. A tablespoon or two of butter is also necessary when pressure cooking rice. This limits the foaming that can occur. I closed the lid and set the pressure to High and for a duration of 5 minutes.
Once the 5 minutes are done and the pressure cooker beeped, it was allowed to rest and let the pressure release naturally for 7 minutes. After that, any remaining pressure was manually released through the regulator. A quick fluff of the rice and it was done. I was really pleased with the results, and it is just one more thing that can be cooked in a pressure cooker.
Electric pressure cookers are extremely versatile and this Salton Stainless Steel Electronic Pressure Cooker is an excellent product that has pretty much all the standard features you see in most of the electric models. I personally love how easy it is to use (the control panel is simple to navigate) and how many additional features the Salton model has over and above pressure cooking.
Pick up the Salton Electric Pressure Cooker at Amazon and these other retailers: Kitchen Stuff Plus, Sears, Personal Edge, Centre du Rasoir, Boutik Electric and Ares Equipment.
Disclaimer: Salton provided me with the pressure cooker. They did not pay me for this product review and the views expressed above are my honest reactions after trying the product.