You are about to find out why Fagor Pressure Cookers are the single most important piece of cookware you'll ever own. 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. Cook risotto in 7 minutes, chicken in 15 minutes, rice in 5 minutes and even cheesecake in 30 minutes!
Fagor is the leader in the pressure cooker category. Our quality pressure cookers are valued and trusted by home cooks and professionals alike. We have earned our reputation by specifically designing our cookware to be long lasting, safe and easy to use.
Convenience, quality and style are what set our products apart from the competitors. All Fagor models feature components that greatly reduce the cooking time and take the guesswork out of the pressure cooking experience.
A pressure cooker is basically a metal pot with a lid. The lid components vital to the function and operation of the pressure cooker are the rubber-sealing gasket, pressure regulator, and pressure-relief valves. When the lid is properly locked into place on the pressure cooker, an air- and steam-tight seal is created. As the cooking liquid in the pressure cooker is heated over high heat to the boiling point (212 °F), steam is created. Since the steam cannot escape from the sealed pressure cooker, it remains trapped inside and pressure is created. The internal cooking temperature will vary depending on the different levels of pressure created by the trapped steam. The amount of pressure is measured in pounds of pressure per square inch (psi). Some of our models only cook at high pressure, while others have two pressure levels. In developing and testing the recipes contained in this book, high pressure was used for each recipe with excellent results. 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.
If you are cooking at high altitudes the cooking times must be longer, as water and cooking liquids come to a boil more slowly. A rule of thumb to remember is to increase the cooking time by 5% for every 1,000 feet above the first 2,000 feet ( 3,000 feet above sea level, add 5% to cooking time; 4,000 feet, add 10% ; and so on). Since the cooking times increase at altitudes higher than 2,000 feet, you will also have to add more cooking liquid to compensate. There are no fixed rules, so try increasing the cooking liquid by approximately half the percentage of the additional cooking time. For example, if the cooking time is increased by 10%, increase the cooking liquid by 5%.
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. In 1680, Papin introduced a revolutionary new cooking device, the marmite de Papin, or the Papin Digester. 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. 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. This very hot steam cooked the food quicker than the ordinary methods available at that time. 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. Another major drawback was the lack of technology to produce machine-stamped pots (made from a single piece of metal). The cast or molded pots that were used would eventually crack along their seams under high levels of pressure, spewing the contents sky-high. 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.
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. All commercial canneries were required to be equipped with pressure-canning equipment. But fifty-gallon capacity pressure canners were not useful for those who wanted to preserve food at home. 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.
Early pressure canners were quite cumbersome. Even though they were made from molded aluminum, a material we associate with lightweight strength, they were large and heavy. Early models also required the user to screw and unscrew six to eight wing nuts on the lid to close and open the unit. Manufacturers were inspired by the popularity of this device to try to develop a unit that was easier to use. In 1938, Alfred Vischer, after much trial and error, introduced his Flex-Seal Speed Cooker, the first saucepan-sized pressure cooker. Competition soon followed, with other manufacturers also introducing saucepan-sized pressure cookers. 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. 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.
By the late 1940s, with peace in Europe and the Pacific, the consumer pressure-cooker market took off. Almost overnight there were eleven different manufacturers offering eighty-five different pressure saucepans (as they were called). Prices dropped and quality suffered as unscrupulous manufacturers entered the market to capitalize on the growing demand. 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. 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.
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. With the advent of products like frozen entrees and prepared foods in the postwar years, America's eating habits began to change dramatically. Consumers were seeking an even higher level of convenience than that afforded by the pressure cooker, and it began to fall out of favor. 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.
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.