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View Full Version : OT - Pressure Cooker/Canner



lynnl
07-11-2010, 02:03 PM
I have an old pressure cooker/canner (Steamliner), that I want to refurbish and give to my daughter. It needs a new gasket/seal ring for sure.
But the issue I'm unsure about is a little overpressure relief plug (rubber), about 5/8" dia in the middle of the lid.

We (wife and I) have another one made by Presto, and it has in that spot, a similar plug, but with a little metal stem that can be depressed to bleed off steam and pressure. It also vents off steam during heat up until a certain pressure is reached.

I've order parts for these things before, and it seems all the different makes and models were related, and all made in Wisconsin.

This link http://www.cookingandcanning.net/stmo.html shows an overpressure/vent (Presto 9911, for $2.00) that I'm thinking would probably work as a replacement in the Steamliner. I don't find one exactly like it now has.

I'm wondering if any of you have had any experience with these things, and can advise?

dp
07-11-2010, 03:39 PM
I've had several pressure cookers and every one that had a wobbler weight used the same relief valve. The lid gaskets were all the same too provided they were the same diameter. The local supermarket sells the bits during canning season, and I replace them every year.

I had but got rid of an adjustable cooker as it just looked like trouble. I've also installed a pressure gage on the lid of all of them and sure enough they all read pretty much what the wobbler predicts. If I have a need to replace one I'll not bother with installing the gage - they make it difficult to stack the lids :)

gnm109
07-11-2010, 03:46 PM
I have an old Presto (aluminum) pressure cooker that I use with a steam needle to disassemble parts of guitars. I wouldn't want to use it for food since the inside turns black with oxides when I use it. Since I only need the steam, it's fine. If I were to cook with one, I would want a stainless steel version.

The Prestos and many others have a weight in the center that prevents excess pressure buildup. It also indicates when steam is up. There is another small valve on the Presto but I'm not exactly sure what that one does.

darryl
07-11-2010, 04:17 PM
I brought home a couple of pressure cookers a few years ago. One was aluminum and fairly thick. I didn't test that because I wanted to use it as a vacuum chamber, for which it has been perfect. I made my own domed lid from lexan.

The other PC was stainless, and I did test that one up to about 85 psi. The bottom bowed out quite a bit, and the top being domed already didn't seem to move. The test confirmed the ability of the lid to stay on, but I think that was probably the limit of pressure. It didn't blow up on me, but now it doesn't sit flat on anything- not an unexpected result regardless. I was just interested in seeing how much pressure those things could take. I would have been unhappy had it came apart at 40 psi or less, since that would have meant a less than desireable safety factor at normal PC pressures, which should not exceed 20 psi from what I have gathered. At any rate, a weighted or spring loaded pressure relief valve is going to be pretty reliable in that range of pressures. It's something you could make up in the shop with a bit of ingenuity considering the area within the seal and the force required to keep that seal down, whether it's weight or spring loaded. I wouldn't care to rely on any kind of friction fit plug for that myself.

brian Rupnow
07-11-2010, 04:21 PM
Grandmas pressure cooker—

When I was a kid, my family never considered itself poor. We always had some kind of clothes to wear, and we never went to bed hungry. My mother had 5 brothers and sisters, and consequently I had about three thousand cousins all close to my age. Every Sunday, we would all gather at Grandma and Grandpas little house for Sunday dinner.
Now as I said, we never considered ourselves poor, but that didn’t stop us from dragging the odd thing home from the local dump, after a garbage run, that looked like it might still have some life in it.
This was about 1952, and the real ‘Must Have” cooking item that year was a “pressure cooker”---Why, you could put the toughest, scrawniest, old rooster into a pressure cooker, and after about 4 hours at 250 PSI it would be tender as a young chicken.—Only thing was, nobody in our family could afford to buy one.
My uncle made a “dump run” one Saturday, and there in the dump was an almost new pressure cooker. (These wear a big heavy aluminum pot about 16” in diameter and 16” high with a heavy lid which ‘dogged down” into place with clamps big enough to use on the watertight bulkheads in a submarine). The only thing missing was some little valve thingy on the lid, that had broken off.
My uncle quickly grabbed the pot and the lid and dragged it home to grandma. Now my uncle was a very handy sort of fellow, so before he gave the pot to Grandma, he whittled a nice hickory plug and pounded it into the hole where that little valve thingy had broken off.
Now Grandma, who was even poorer than the rest of us, (grandpa was too old to do much real work by then, and the government pension wouldn’t buy much beyond a sack of potatoes and 2 plugs of Redman chewing tobacco)---she was ecstatic, to have an almost new “pressure cooker”.
Come Sunday morning she sent grandpa down to the chicken coupe with an axe to dispatch the toughest, oldest, meanest rooster and get him ready for the pot.
She plucked said rooster, and into the pot he went with some water and some salt and whatever else you use to cook a chicken (Hey, I’m an engineer darn it, not a cook!!!) and set it on the back of the woodstove to simmer all day.
About 3:00 in the afternoon all the various aunts and uncles and cousins rolled into Grandmas little house, and the aunts were all proudly shown the “New” pressure cooker. They admired it, and even aknowledged what a clever fellow my uncle was to whittle a good plug that didn’t leak any for that little part that had broken off the top of the lid.
Everybody was crowded into the little parlor, gossiping and yacking as familes at grandmas always do, and smelling the great smell of chicken cooking---by that time a bit of chicken laden steam was escaping around the edges of the lid.)
As the visiting went on, and the smell of cooking chicken and dumplings got even better, somebody looked out into the old summer kitchen and noticed that there seemed to be an awfull lot of steam coming out from around the edges of the lid on that pressure cooker, and that it (The pressure cooker) seemed to have taken on a life of its own, and was starting to jig around a bit on the top of the stove.
This was a bit alarming, so my uncle who had brought home the cooker was elected to go into the summer kitchen and shove the new cooker to the back of the stove, off the heat.
He made it as far as the archway going into the summer kitchen, when she BLEW!!! There was a deafening roar, the clang of a 16” aluminum lid ricoshetting around the kitchen, and a massive cloud of chicken laden steam swept out of the summer kitchen into the parlor.
Women were screaming, kids were bawling, and my uncle came flying out of the kitchen covered in hot water and chicken goo.
Everybody ran outside the little house, and when things calmed down a bit, and all the mothers done head counts of all the children, my poor uncle who was terrified (and only scalded a little bit) was sent back into the house to see what had happened.
Then we heard the laughter start from inside the house. We all looked at each other, thinking perhaps that the explosion had addled my uncles brains. He began shouting ‘Come in here---You gotta see this!!!”
So---We all filed cautiously back into the house, through the remnants of chicken flavoured steam,---and---There on the ceiling of the summer kitchen was our Sunday dinner!!!
SPLAT!!!----there was that poor old rooster, totally embossed into the ceiling, dumplings and all.
That “little thing” that had been broken off the lid was the SAFETY VALVE!!! When my uncle whittled the hardwood plug, he had unknowingly created a BOMB!!!
Needless to say, that is one Sunday dinner that I will always remember, even though it happened more than 50 years ago.---Brian

alanganes
07-11-2010, 05:04 PM
Great story Brian!

Similar tale:
My mother always told the story of a Greek lady, "just off of the boat" from Greece that lived in their neighborhood. This woman had gotten a pressure cooker from someplace. She could not speak or read English and thus could not read the instructions for the cooker. She apparently had some vague idea how to use one though, and set out one day to cook some dish involving spaghetti in he new pot. Everything went OK until it came time to open the thing up. I guess she did not know about cooling it down first, and just lifted the little weight off of the tube on the lid. Of course it it blew out a jet of steam. I guess this alarmed her, so she proceeded to push the handle to the side to unlatch the lid. Apparently the pressure had dropped enough to avert a major disaster, but when the lid came loose, it blew out of her hand, and the steam launched the spaghetti upwards, sticking most of it to the ceiling. The woman was pretty rattled but not badly hurt, and my mother recalled seeing the spaghetti, still hanging from the ceiling hours after the event.

She laughed out loud every time she told that story, I think she could still see the pasta hanging from the kitchen ceiling.

oldbikerdude37
07-11-2010, 06:53 PM
brian Rupnow thats a good story.

reminds me when we were canning and the stove decided to turn into a welder and killed the power and we hauled the stove outside to smoke itself out. Oh well that old stove was 30+ years old so we were happy to some degree.

gnm109
07-11-2010, 07:07 PM
That reminds me of the ad that used to be on the radio for a microwave.

"I can still see the look on my sweet baby's face
When the chicken blew up all over the place!

(She said) Call me when you get a Quasar. "

:)

lynnl
07-11-2010, 07:10 PM
Both of these are the large, 16 Qt, heavy duty cast aluminum, or maybe spun, I don't really know. The inside surfaces of both are weathered and tarnished, to the point I wouldn't want to eat anything cooked directly in them.

But I have a smaller one (Stainless) that was my folks'. My dad died in 1995, so I can't ask him the recipe. But the absolute best pot roast I ever ate was some he'd cooked in that pressure cooker. He told me at the time, but I didn't write it down. I do remember that it was very simple: just a pot roast, some onions, tomatoes, salt/pepper, and that was about it. It was absolutely melt-in-your-mouth tender, and truly delicious. And the ultimate in ease of preparation: just throw the stuff in, turn on the heat, and wait an hour or so.

oldbikerdude37
07-11-2010, 07:18 PM
Both of these are the large, 16 Qt, heavy duty cast aluminum, or maybe spun, I don't really know. The inside surfaces of both are weathered and tarnished, to the point I wouldn't want to eat anything cooked directly in them.

But I have a smaller one (Stainless) that was my folks'. My dad died in 1995, so I can't ask him the recipe. But the absolute best pot roast I ever ate was some he'd cooked in that pressure cooker. He told me at the time, but I didn't write it down. I do remember that it was very simple: just a pot roast, some onions, tomatoes, salt/pepper, and that was about it. It was absolutely melt-in-your-mouth tender, and truly delicious. And the ultimate in ease of preparation: just throw the stuff in, turn on the heat, and wait an hour or so.

they clean right up with an SOS pad or steel wool. might take few minutes but well worth saving, the price of new may make you see what im saying.

darryl
07-11-2010, 07:38 PM
Brian, I can just see that old bird up there, clinging to the ceiling- reminds me of the time by brother in law dared my girlfriend to stick the last piece of pizza to the ceiling in a restaurant. She was not one to shy away from anything like that, so - with a last questioning of him whether he really was daring her to do it, up to the ceiling it went. Hit perfectly, stuck for awhile, then dripped off with everyone looking, staff included. They did not kick us out- I'm sure they were just as amused as we all were.

I don't recall many times, or any times actually, that we ate pressure cooked food, but there were many times that canning was done that way. It was a big production around our house, as the job was getting done for three families in which there were at least 13 children plus grandma and grandpa. Grandma used to make cabbage rolls like no other- they were the best, and made in quantity. German style- yummy. Dumplings, yummy- perogies, yummy- mmm, I'm getting hungry

Oh yeah, I almost forgot what I wanted to say- I had some of that bake-on frying pan spray that I used to coat the inside of a large aluminum cooking vessel once. I took off the handles and baked it out in the oven. I mostly use it for corn, but sometimes stew. It sure cleans up easily and has never given off any taste or odd smell. I wondered today how inert some of those other sprays are, like the Bostik top cote that I use on the table saw and any other sliding mechanisms, etc. Chances are, once applied and baked on it would be just as durable and non-toxic as the 'real thing', which I haven't found lately.

lynnl
07-11-2010, 07:56 PM
they clean right up with an SOS pad or steel wool. might take few minutes but well worth saving, the price of new may make you see what im saying.

I dunno about that...
This Steamliner is badly tarnished (oxidized actually), not continuously on the outside, but NUMEROUS splotches. Don't have any SOS pads, but I've tried steel wool, the 3M pads, and wire brush. And haven't made any noticeable difference. The inside surface is 100% discolored/stained/oxidized, so I'm not going to even try to do anything with that.

I'm thinking once, many years ago, that I found some "Navel Jelly for Aluminum". It was made by the same company that makes the regular Navel Jelly. Loctite I think. I can't remember if it was effective or not.
Does anyone else know of such a thing? It may be readily available, I just haven't had occasion to look for it at Lowes/HD/etc.

I've got some Zep Purple, Industrial Cleaner, that I got on some aluminum one time, and it certainly took off the oxidation ...toot sweet, in fact. Then I read in the instructions that shouldn't be used for aluminum, and could cause damage. I'd have to agree, based on that other experience. It was foaming and fuming and eating away at the aluminum until I flushed it off with water. But it did leave a nice, new looking surface.

oldbikerdude37
07-11-2010, 07:58 PM
I dunno about that...
This Steamliner is badly tarnished (oxidized actually), not continuously on the outside, but NUMEROUS splotches. Don't have any SOS pads, but I've tried steel wool, the 3M pads, and wire brush. And haven't made any noticeable difference. The inside surface is 100% discolored/stained/oxidized, so I'm not going to even try to do anything with that.

I'm thinking once, many years ago, that I found some "Navel Jelly for Aluminum". It was made by the same company that makes the regular Navel Jelly. Loctite I think. I can't remember if it was effective or not.
Does anyone else know of such a thing? It may be readily available, I just haven't had occasion to look for it at Lowes/HD/etc.

I've got some Zep Purple, Industrial Cleaner, that I got on some aluminum one time, and it certainly took off the oxidation ...toot sweet, in fact. Then I read in the instructions that shouldn't be used for aluminum, and could cause damage. I'd have to agree, based on that other experience. It was foaming and fuming and eating away at the aluminum until I flushed it off with water. But it did leave a nice, new looking surface.

If its a real gonner then send it to the scrap yard in the sky. Im real cheap so would save almost anything.

lynnl
07-11-2010, 08:11 PM
If its a real gonner then send it to the scrap yard in the sky. Im real cheap so would save almost anything.

Oh it's just a cosmetic issue. Structurally it's still in real good shape. For my own use I wouldn't even bother, but giving it to my daughter I'd like it to look as nice as I can get it.

Yeah, the prices on these things are pretty high. I've seen on the order of $139. Ouch!

oldbikerdude37
07-11-2010, 08:32 PM
Oh it's just a cosmetic issue. Structurally it's still in real good shape. For my own use I wouldn't even bother, but giving it to my daughter I'd like it to look as nice as I can get it.

Yeah, the prices on these things are pretty high. I've seen on the order of $139. Ouch!

Thats why I think some steel wool and elbow grease would be a good investment. you scrub it up and get a new seal and its new.

darryl
07-11-2010, 08:48 PM
How bout those foam sanding blocks- some are two-grit, one for roughing and one for smoothing. I'd rather not use steel wool on aluminum because of the rust dot factor- ever seen that? Weeks later, rust spots developing because a strand of wool got embedded somewhere-

I just looked at my pot, the one I coated with silicon spray- no more corrosion happening at all. Some of my leftover aluminum pots are looking bad though- I don't know if it's worth fixing those up.

gmatov
07-11-2010, 11:44 PM
How about some lye? Even some of the old EZ-OFF oven cleaner?

Don't use it too long, it might eat away more than you want.

Lye eats aluminum, and it might eat away that hard dark grey stuff that sounds almost like an anodized finish.

Reaction with aluminum is so violent that aluminum bits are in Sani-Flush drain cleaner to provide the heat and motion that do the cleaning. Regular Red Devil lye is pure Sodium Hydroxide.

HD sells I think ZEPP lye in a 2 pound canister for about 5 bucks. Also useful for darkening cherry wood to the traditional "cherry" shade.

Cheers,

George

Dunc
07-12-2010, 08:24 AM
Way back in my youth I recall an I Love Lucy tv episode. Details are sketchy but after an argument over whether housework was real work (No, I won't go there) the gals went to work & the guys stayed at home. Ricky decided that as cook he got to choose the menu: chicken & rice. Chicken went in the pressure cooker and enough rice to feed an army went into a very small pot. Predictable result: chicken on the ceiling and rice overflowed like a river in flood.

gnm109
07-12-2010, 10:56 AM
How about some lye? Even some of the old EZ-OFF oven cleaner?

Don't use it too long, it might eat away more than you want.

Lye eats aluminum, and it might eat away that hard dark grey stuff that sounds almost like an anodized finish.

Reaction with aluminum is so violent that aluminum bits are in Sani-Flush drain cleaner to provide the heat and motion that do the cleaning. Regular Red Devil lye is pure Sodium Hydroxide.

HD sells I think ZEPP lye in a 2 pound canister for about 5 bucks. Also useful for darkening cherry wood to the traditional "cherry" shade.

Cheers,

George


I wouldn't use lye on aluminum,. It wll turn it black. The problem with those old aluminum pressure cookers is that they were very porous. The aluminum oxidizes inside and you get a black residue inside every time you use it.

In my case, I don't care since I'm not cooking with it. It's not pretty, though.



.

ptjw7uk
07-12-2010, 01:52 PM
I remember reading somewhere that the little rubber plug thing was an over temperature device designed to melt if the thing boiled dry, I may be wrong memory not what it was!

peter

BigBoy1
07-12-2010, 07:37 PM
When I was growing up, my mother used the pressure cooker for just about every evening meal we had. We had chicken, stew, pot roast, spagetti, etc. done in the pressure cooker. If it could be cooked, it was done in the pressure cooker! Needless to say, I grew to hate pressure cooked meals

Now that I'm married, I have told my wife that if she brings a pressure cooker into the house, it can be for any reason, but not cooking!!!

CCWKen
07-12-2010, 09:48 PM
The little pop-up valve is just to let you know the cooker is under pressure. It's a signaling devise. The rocker valve is the regulator. You start your timer when the pop-up is UP and the rocker valve starts steaming. When the cooking time is completed, remove the cooker from the heat and run water over the cooker. When the pop-up valve drops, remove the rocker valve and open the cooker. Dinner is ready!

ron-k
07-13-2010, 10:18 PM
ok. I love the pressure cooker stories. NOBODY uses the PC for the proper goods. I got the book "Possum Living" when I was in college and poor. My pressure cooker was used for beans and rice, beans and cabbage, beans and kale etc. But the real reason I had a PC was moonshine. My PC made great vodka. plain and simple. 3 gallons of warm water, 1 package baking yeast. 5 pound sack of white sugar. ferment 3 or 4 days. PC and some copper tube and a hunk of garden hose for a still. (get the book). But the best story is the time I used flour "dough" to seal the copper pipe to the nipple on the lid and stoppered the tiny little hole.
We had company. the gage went to maybe 30 pounds/ square inch and I got worried. I poked the little rubber pressure safety dooger with a butter knife and it turned 90 degrees in a second. i have NEVER gotten so drunk. I have never gotten drunk so fast. The alcohol INSTANTLY filled the kitchen. Two breaths and I was was falling down drunk. As i looked around the kitchen I was sure i was hallucinating watching the cabinets and walls literally run down as the dirt and grease dissolved in the vapors. There was nothing left to drink that time. I'm more careful with the dough these days.