Safety Concerns With Electric Pressure Cookers
Although pressure cookers have been around for centuries, they became more popular during World War II, when convenience became a necessity in kitchens around the United States. Electric pressure cookers were invented in the 1990s, and many newer models integrate the features of a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, food warmer, and even a yogurt maker in a single device.
The problem with modern electric pressure cookers is that certain companies have been manufacturing defective appliances. Because these cookers operate at such high temperatures with scalding hot steam, just a single faulty component can result in severe injury.
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What Happens When a Pressure Cooker Explodes?
A pressure cooker can create a temperature 40 degrees hotter than the temperature point required to boil water. When these appliances explode, they can release large amounts of boiling liquids and food contents.
Steam is released with tremendous force that has the power to cause severe second and third-degree burns. It can also result in painful scalds on the skin. The hot food ejected from the pressure cooker causes burns and scarring by sticking to the skin.
Excessive pressure steam can even cause damage to the kitchen from flying glass and metal pieces. This may result in bleeding, cuts, and even blindness when the pieces hit the eye.
If the pressure cooker lid or cooker hits somebody on the head, it can cause brain injuries and concussion. The patient may end up losing consciousness along with fractured bones due to his fall.
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How Do You Keep a Pressure Cooker From Blowing Up?
- Inspect the Pressure Cooker Before Using – The rubber gasket between the pressure cooker pot and lid is critical to the proper functioning of the appliance. Before use, ensure the pressure cooker gasket is clean and not cracked or dried out. Some pressure cooker manufacturers suggest replacing the rubber gasket once per year, depending on how often you use the cooker.
- Don’t Overfill the Pressure Cooker – A pressure cooker should never be more than 2/3 full to prevent food from blocking the vents in the lid. For foods that swell or retain water (i.e. beans, rice, pasta), fill the cooker only about halfway.
- Use Enough Liquid – Pressure cookers are intended to cook food by using extremely pressurized steam. Steam cannot be created without liquid, so at least a half cup of liquid is needed to create enough steam to properly use the appliance.
- Be Mindful of the Type of Food Being Cooked – Froth produced by certain foods can block the steam valves and vents of the pressure cooker. Before cooking foods such as pasta, split peas, oatmeal, applesauce, or cranberries, ensure your recipe calls for the same size cooker as the one you are using. Never fry food in a standard pressure cooker.
- Release Pressure Safely – Pressure can be released 3 ways: Natural release by removing the cooker from heat and allowing it to sit until the pressure reduces; cold water release by running cold water over the lid of the closed cooker; or quick release by using the steam release valve to expel steam. Always be sure to protect yourself when releasing pressure and remember that steam may still escape when opening the cooker.
- Clean the Cooker Properly – When you've finished using a pressure cooker, remove the gasket and clean it separately. Clean out the release valve with a toothpick. To reduce unnecessary wear on the gasket, store your cooker with the lid upside down on the pot rather than locked into place.
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The Product Liability Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of jury trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Pressure Cooker Litigation. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently representing consumers in pressure cooker explosion cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one suffered serious burns or other serious injuries caused by a defective pressure cooker, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free review of your legal rights and potential case. You may be entitled to a pressure cooker settlement and a lawyer can help.