Pressure cookers -- how safe are they really?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cygnet, Aug 2, 2005.

  1. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Family legend -- my grandmother had a pressure cooker explode with such force that it put the little spinning knob on the top through the plaster ceiling of her house.

    I have to believe this is an unusual occurance, or they wouldn't sell pressure cookers anymore. How common is it, really, for them to go, "Boom?"

    I have a lot of roosters and cull hens that need to go to "freezer camp", and in 110 degree heat outside, it's just not practical to boil them alllllll day to get them tender enough to eat because the AC works overtime and the house (it's very small) ends up around 90 degrees by dinner time ...

    Leva
     
  2. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    I have canned vegtables and deer meat for over 35 years now in a pressure canner and have never had any problems. I might once in a while have a bad "seal" in my jar but never exploding !! You do need to stay with the canner and make sure that the gauge doesn't get too high and then you would probably have a problem. I never leave the kitchen during canning time of day just for that reason. If you take the usual precautions as you would in anything else you do on the homestead you will be fine. Boy..luxury !! Canning in an air conditioned house...Boy..some people have it lucky ! (LOL)
     

  3. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Well-Known Member

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    What she said! :D I've been using my canner for over 25 years and it hasn't gone BOOM yet. I got a new seal a couple of years ago, I keep an eye on the gauge, I also don't leave the kitchen area and have had no problems. It's a tool, just learn how to and how not to use it and you'll do great! HTH

    Nance
     
  4. via media

    via media Tub-thumper

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    I'm new to canning but did a lot of research before I started because I didn't have anyone to show me how to do it. I depended on the kind advice from those on this site, especially over in the Cooking and Crafts section.

    I spent the extra money and bought a new pressure canner/cooker because those manufactured since 1995 are required to have a secondary pressure release valve in case something goes terribly wrong.

    I agree with Helena - stay in the kitchen with it to watch the pressure, especially if you are using an electric stove and take all the normal precautions.

    /VM
     
  5. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    i don't know how older canners worked, so i spoze it's possible for something to get plugged up, but mine has a weight that lifts when the pressure gets to 15 psi and it hisses off steam the whole time. If some food happens to stick it closed, the lack of the steam sound would alert me right away. Nonetheless, there is also a rubber plug which will blow out in the event that the pressure goes over 15 psi. It's pretty fool proof and I've never had any thing block the steam vent these past 12 or so years.
    Canners are great for cooking beans, by the way. It takes much less time and the additional heat breaks open the proteins that typically give us humans gas when we eat them
    so i say "go for it"
    ray
     
  6. Rick

    Rick Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Don't cook beans in a pressure cooker :nono:

    We did this about 30 years ago. The beans clogged up the stem, built up pressure, and KA-BOOM!!!!! Yes it sure did explode. :help:

    Granny wasn't in a rush for some cooked beans, was she?

    Rick
     
  7. BaronsMom

    BaronsMom Well-Known Member

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    Our local Extension office tests pressure canner gauges - no charge.
     
  8. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I was a kid, mom was canning tomatoes and BOOOmmmm! Tomatoes ALL over the place...looked like a gangland killing. Took her two days to clean the tomatoes of the ceiling, walls, cabinets, furniture....but as mom said, look on the bright side...at least it wasn't anything sweet & sticky!

    Mon
     
  9. Kygardengal

    Kygardengal Well-Known Member

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    Stay by the stove....Follow the directions "to the letter".....One of the reasons they can explode (I am told) is if you try to open it before it is completely cooled or if it gets clogged. Follow the directions ! ! !
     
  10. Rick

    Rick Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I meant to mention we obviously weren't nearby to be sure it didn't clog!
     
  11. Lerxt

    Lerxt Well-Known Member

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    Mom was late getting home from work one night when I was in my teens. She calls and tells me to put the chilli from the night before back on the stove to warm it up for dinner. So I did that. And I walked away.

    Came back 10 minutes later and look at the chilli. Calm on top but I hear bubbling. Hmm...wonder what that could be. Maybe it needs a stir. Grab a wooden spoon and go to stir up the chilli. As soon as it broke the surface it exploded on me. Was chilli all over the kitchen - ceiling, walls, me, the cat. Seems a rather substantial skin had formed on it and made a handy-dandy improvised pressure cooker. :)

    But yeah, the new pressure cookers are safer than the ones your grandmother used. They do have a secondary relief valve to keep you from accidentally blowing yourself up. That's definitely a good thing. FWIW I don't think it's law that they have to have the 2nd valve (I could be wrong). I know I was watching Good Eats a few years ago and Alton discussed the finer points of pressure cookers. He commented on the difference between what he called 2nd and 3rd generation cookers. Just make sure if you're purchasing a new one.
     
  12. Gayle in KY

    Gayle in KY Gadabout

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    The best advice you've gotten is to stay in the kitchen. My mother had one explode while she was cooking beef stew (funny how we all remember what was cooking, isn't it?). She was in the back yard when we heard it.I saw the look on her face and told her, "Just go back outside and relax, Mom. I'll clean it up". It took me several hours, but I finally got it cleaned up. She talked about that day just a couple of days before she passed away, even though it happened 30 years ago.

    And, yeah, the new ones are safer.

    While my mother refused to ever use one again, I have 3 and use them all the time. You can't get a more tender chicken than one that has been pressure-cooked!
     
  13. Kevin and Laura

    Kevin and Laura Well-Known Member

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    I just bought my first pressure cooker. I was careful and watched it. It does have a rubber plug type deal in the lid that will blow out if the pressure gets too high. Of course, if you were cooking food, I'm sure it would blow through the hole. THere's a list of foods not to cook in the book that came with it. I believe beans were one of those foods, because they make that scum that clogs up the vent.

    Laura
     
  14. ndakian

    ndakian Lori

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    Sorry to say so but sadly it's true...CA
    I had that same thing happen with a jar of meat baby food. Pulled it out of the microwave and it had formed a seal. When I went to stir the meat and broke the seal with a spoon.......BOOM! It got in my eyes so I ran to the sink thinking I had glass in my eyes which I didn't. Anyway got myself washed up and went back to clean up the mess. Found the jar, found the spoon, couldn't find the baby food......that is until I looked up and all of the food was stuck in a very unattractive brown splatter to the ceiling. This was one of those old rough cottage cheese type ceilings. Never did get the spots off completely. Ended up repainting.
    I've been frightened of puree'd meat ever since!!
     
  15. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings In Remembrance

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    love them turnip greens out of a pressure cooker. i have used one for about everything i guess. no beans though i like them cooked slow in a crockpot.