Thread Number: 74415  /  Tag: Recipes, Cooking Accessories
Updating safety on Presto Pressure Cookers
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Post# 982153   2/10/2018 at 12:38 (247 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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Most of my go-to pressure cookers use one of two lids. The Model 40 series (the non-jiggler ones which work the same as the high-end European style of today) and the C014B series (the earliest stainless steel using the new style we still use today).

(Interestingly, the earliest stainless steel of that series used the old style regulator!).

Anyway, I've been wanting to update to the multi-tap version. It's less likely to clog or be blocked. Found a source for them, got them today, they're perfect!

Part number is 85608 in case anyone else is interested.

Between the auto-airvent and this, Presto really has taken good care of this now 60 year old system.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size

Post# 982158 , Reply# 1   2/10/2018 at 13:36 (247 days old) by westingguelph ()        

A little off topic but picture 2 has the reflection of a beautiful grandfathers clock. Stunning!

Post# 982202 , Reply# 2   2/10/2018 at 18:45 (247 days old) by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Thanks for posting this Keven!


I checked my 6-quart and it has this improved system, but my 8-quart, which is around 20 years old, did not.  I still have an aluminum 6-quart sitting in a donation pile so I took a look and found it had the new assembly, so I switched it with the one on my 8-quart. 


I've never had any problems with my Prestos, but updating to the latest technology when it's backward-compatible is never a bad thing.

Post# 982211 , Reply# 3   2/10/2018 at 20:15 (247 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Grandfather clock

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That is a very pretty grandfather clock. We have three grandfathers, a Revere grandmother and several mantle clocks.

I find it interesting that the Revere has the prettiest Winchester. Well, that and a pre-WWII Sessions. I wonder when the anti-electric prejudice began? Certainly, our few chiming clocks from that era were built with real attention to cabinetry and musicality.

The grandfather pictured only chimes on the half-hour and the full. The newest of our clocks, it is astonishingly well put together for a Howard Miller. 

We have one with moon and three different melodies including, to my delight, Whittington (not the American version, which is unusual).

Winding day around here is always fun. The 31 day regulators get wound along with the rest.

Back to Presto - I don't know how I'd manage (I'm the main cook in the family) without them. I've read the reviews comparing the newest models to European pressure pans costing six times as much or more and am always impressed by how hard the reviewers have to work to downgrade them. My favourite was the review  when they took away an entire star because the Presto ran consistently at 249°F...not mentioning that the test kitchen was at 500 feet above sea-level.


Not that it matters, I much prefer their really heavy cast aluminium units from the late '30s and early post-war period. The fifties stainless fit in the Potscrubber better than the current models. Of course the FryMaster 100 and Model 40 series never goes in there! Had a gigantic fight with a queen a few Christmas' back when she wanted to take a scotchbrite green pad to a '57 stainless 8 quart in flawless condition.



Post# 982232 , Reply# 4   2/11/2018 at 00:14 (247 days old) by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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I ordered a 6-quart stainless Presto a few years ago and was disappointed to find that it was only deeper and not appreciably wider than a 4-quart.  I only used it once, and since it's machine washable, I finally sent it off to another member who loves dishwashers.   All of my other cookers are aluminum, so I'm used to hand washing them.


I wish Presto made a 6-quart with the dimensions of my Mirro-Matic.  That one will fit two large artichokes and large cuts of meat in it because it's significantly wider than a 4-quart and not a whole lot deeper.  I had been using my 8-quart Presto for wide loads until I came across the equally wide Mirro in a thrift store.  All it needed was a new gasket and it's been my go-to cooker ever since.  It also shines like it's stainless steel.


I like Presto's system better, with the gentle rocking of the regulator.  Mirro's Tourette's-like bursts are louder and can be annoying, but IMO Mirro's one piece multi-pressure weights are much better designed than the Presto ones that separate into three pieces.



Post# 982256 , Reply# 5   2/11/2018 at 05:09 (246 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Here's my Gram's Presto.

I have replaced the lid gasket and the safety vent. The Bi-Metal Pressure regulator works perfectly. My Grandfather used to pit a few drops of 3 in one oil inside the regulator twice a year. This is a pic before I Brillo-ed it up. It shines like the top of the Chrysler Building now.

Built to last.

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Post# 982280 , Reply# 6   2/11/2018 at 09:55 (246 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Ralph and Eddie

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Ralph:Mirro has some wonderful designs, especially their lower and wider units. The Presto A607A Deluxe is the 6 quart equivalent in terms of being able to put things like a large Pyrex bowl into it, or our artichokes and meat. They show up occasionally at the thrift shops in aluminium and are bought at once, regardless of condition.

The Mirro one piece valve with three weights is cool. No use for us here at our altitude, everything is done at 15 lbs. Anything less and one need not bother.

It's time for Presto to bring out some newer designs. They've limited themselves the past few years. 


Eddie: That is a beautiful cooker. A Model 40 six quart, I think? I've got two Model 40 2.5qt cookers as well as their 3qt, 4qt and 6 qt. Absolutely idiot proof! Tremendously reliable and super easy to clean and use. 

Post# 982314 , Reply# 7   2/11/2018 at 13:03 (246 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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It is my favorite out of 3 Prestos I own. I have a 4 qt. SS model and a 1971 or so Aluminum.

I have to say the SS just about burns everything. The bottom is so thin. I just use it for vegetables if I am having a crowd for dinner.

Gram's is very heavy aluminum as you know. That is my go to 99% of the time.

Post# 982335 , Reply# 8   2/11/2018 at 15:35 (246 days old) by RP2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Thanks Keven,  I'll keep an eye out for a Presto A607A.


So what's the story with the safety valves on Prestos?  My big old Guardian Service cooker has the type with the pop-up pin in the center (as seen in Eddie's pic and pix 2 and 3 in the OP), but the other two use solid rubber buttons.  I presume the design with the pin is older.


The thing I like about the older Mirro-Matics is the extra space in their lid design.  With my 4-quarts, both of which are Mirro-Matics, one a late '60s with a flatter lid and the other a '50s or older with a pronounced dome, that bit of extra space can be the deciding factor on which of them is better suited for a particular job.

Post# 982340 , Reply# 9   2/11/2018 at 16:03 (246 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
The pin is interesting.

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Interestingly, the pin has come and gone through the years. Originally, Presto used a solid rubber puck which would blow out when the pressure rose much above 17 pounds or so.

One had to wait until all the air was exhausted from the pressure pan before putting the regulator in place.

Sometime in the 1950s (I'm not quite sure when) the pin in the safety plug was introduced. It automatically vented the air. Cool! They are also supposed to prevent a vacuum from forming when things cool down.

Later, Presto introduced a locking mechanism with a (barely) visible pin which rises to show that the pressure is up. That mechanism vented the air so they returned to the old fashioned rubber puck.

Some current Presto take the rubber with the pin, some take the rubber without, they're completely interchangeable, of course.

I think, of the two, Mirro has always offered a wider range of pressure pans. Presto just happens to be my personal favourite. 

The first stainless steel pressure pans did burn everything if one wasn't careful. The copper-bottomed versions solved that problem and when one sees them on ebay, today, they're worth every bit what's asked for them.

The current stainless steel have a wafer bottom which works quite well at heat distribution, though nothing comes close to the incredibly thick aluminium cast pressure cookers of the past for perfect heat distribution.

If one needs the versatility of an InstantPot but is at too high of an altitude for their very low pressure, the electric (not electronic) Presto pressure pans are perfect - they can be run on a timer and once you've figured out which temperature on the dial works for your altitude, they're even more reliable then the electronic pans at maintaining the right temperature. Of course, cooking at 250ºF is easier than at the lower temperatures the electronics use, anyway.

Oh, nearly forgot - InstantPot's website has some outstandingly easy to follow recipes. We tend to bash them because their first instruction/recipe books were so awful. While their product is useless above a hundred feet, their recipes are super appropriate for pressure cooking in a hurry.


Post# 982725 , Reply# 10   2/14/2018 at 00:29 (244 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        
Such Timing!

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Today, after I hit Big Lots for some of that mystery Bold powder, I moseyed on over to the other end of the parking lot and checked out Savers for the first time in a few months.


In with some decorative glassware and vases I spotted a complete vintage Osterizer carafe, the early type with the flat lid, no handle, and smooth-sided metal blade assembly cap.  I don't have a blender old enough to use that type, and at $14.99 I wouldn't have bought it anyway, but it was apparently an omen.


In the cookware section, I came upon a Presto model C401B (Keven, was that a typo in your OP?) stainless 4-quart cooker, complete except for the rack.  For $5.99 I grabbed it.  I found a couple of other things to take home, but the Presto was the main score.  Along with model info of C401B, the last bit of information reads "cooker 409A."  The handles are brown bakelite/plastic and the top one has a short list of cooking times.  The safety plug is the pin type. 


It needed some cleaning, but wasn't in bad shape, although it had seen use for sure.  The beauty of stainless steel!  When washing the lid, I noticed when I turned it upside down, it didn't drain through the vent tube.  I couldn't blow through it either, but attempting to caused a tiny white ball to appear near the top of the tube.  I pushed it out with a toothpick and then all was clear. 


I think maybe this is the reason the cooker ended up at Savers.  The gasket had partially melted and left residue on the top of the pot as well as inside the lid.  I scrubbed all of that out and washed the gasket.  I also de-scuzzed the regulator so it rocked freely atop the tube.  I tested the cooker with some water and a dash of vinegar.  It pressurized quickly, but one section of the gasket didn't want to seal completely.  It might seal eventually, but it's time for a replacement gasket. 


I checked on line and it appears the original gasket for this model (and others) was part number 33020, but that has since been replaced by 09906.  I'm on the verge of ordering the 09906 but would appreciate confirmation from Keven or others familiar with this model.


I'm looking forward to trying this cooker, and will keep in mind that it doesn't have the copper bottom if there's any browning involved.

Post# 982743 , Reply# 11   2/14/2018 at 05:50 (243 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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What does the bottom look like ?

My SS burns as the bottom is thin. I just use it with the rack for vegetables. True Value Hardware sells the gaskets. And it always includes the Safety Pressure Plug.

Post# 982758 , Reply# 12   2/14/2018 at 08:10 (243 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        

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Yes, that was a typo - C401B is correct.

"Cooker 409A" designates that the pressure pan is UL listed. Every Presto with UL listing I've ever seen has that, somewhere.

You've got the right sealing ring and pressure vent number: 09906


The stainless steel bottoms on these do burn things easily if you don't pay attention to the heat. On the other hand, they're super reliable, super easy to clean and are genuine 15lb pressure pans. That's a gigantic improvement over the 10lb thin wall Mirro  and the or 11.6lb Instant-Pot or even lower other electronic systems.

You'll love it. If you do adapt any of the Instant-Pot or other electronic pressure cooker recipes, be sure to start timing the moment the regulator starts to rock. Until you've got a 'feeling' for it, subtract about 20% of the cooking time of what's given for the electronic versions, they run much slower.

Oh, the regulator doesn't have to rock constantly. That's a user mistake. Wastes energy. It should rock gently once a minute or so after the first three minutes and you've got the full 15 lbs. You can turn the heat way down as long as it rocks a bit every minute or so.

Oh, nearly forgot. When cooking stuff that foams, never fill over 1/2 full and use lots of oil or butter or shortening or lard. I cook two cups of dry lentils with 3 tablespoons of butter, never had a foaming problem. This is an important note because some American websites have a hysterical mistake saying one must never put oil in a pressure cooker. Well, one shouldn't use oil to pressure fry in a domestic pressure cooker, that's true. But the no-oil nonsense has done a lot of damage to the poor things' reputations recently.


Post# 982777 , Reply# 13   2/14/2018 at 12:03 (243 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Keven, thanks for the confirmation.  I know that Mirro's instructions say to adjust heat for the regulator to jiggle/rock one to four times per minute, but didn't know this was applicable to Presto as well.  Good to know, as sometimes, even using gas, it takes a while to find the recommended sweet spot.


I've only ever used stove-top cookers, never an electric one or Insta-Pot, so I have the procedure down pretty well.  I'm anxious to give this latest Presto find something to cook, but will wait until it has a new gasket.


I checked True Value and they seem to carry every Presto gasket except 09906.  I found it on ebay with free shipping and (presumably) no tax, so that's a good deal and I'll order it.


Here are some pix, including the bottom interior and exterior.  It still needs a bit more cleaning, so I'll tend to that before the new gasket arrives.

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This post was last edited 02/14/2018 at 19:10
Post# 982821 , Reply# 14   2/14/2018 at 18:29 (243 days old) by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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Exactly like mine !!!!

Post# 982883 , Reply# 15   2/15/2018 at 01:26 (243 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Thanks Eddie --


Good to know it's the one that's best left to steaming and the like.   I can use the rack from my Presto 6-quart.  


Our Electrolux Icon's burners put out higher than average BTUs so I'm already in the habit of turning the flame down lower than what's called for in almost all recipes.  I'll be sure to pay special attention to that with this nice Presto.

Post# 982912 , Reply# 16   2/15/2018 at 08:54 (242 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
That is a beautiful Presto!

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Can you imagine a housewife's joy at having one? They weren't cheap, as evidenced by the fact their still working perfectly.

The burning stuff problem isn't that big a deal, really. You learn very quickly not to.

A small rack or one of those stainless steel baskets which fold up into a flower bud shape when not into use is a big, big help for steaming.

Post# 982931 , Reply# 17   2/15/2018 at 14:23 (242 days old) by rp2813 (The Big Blue Bubble)        

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Thanks Keven!  It hadn't occurred to me to use my stainless bud basket, but that would be perfect!


I'm pretty sure the gasket on mine would seal again with use, or by using the KA dishwasher trick of soaking it in super hot water, but it's time for a new one just for ease of use's sake.  Whatever exterior coating on the original has been lost in certain areas where it stuck to the pan and lid, so it could just as likely deteriorate with use.


Now to figure out why my big Guardian Service cooker won't close and lock anymore.  I did a pork shoulder in it a few months ago and ever since, it won't close.  I tried the original gasket as well as the new replacement, oiled under the body lugs and gasket, and still no luck.  The gaskets on these are so thin, there's really no room to compress them while turning the lid.

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