Pressure Cooker Problem

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by chrislehrer, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    I bought a 10qt Fagor Duo pressure cooker. The first gasket split after three uses, but they replaced it immediately without question or charge of any kind -- very nice.

    But I still have a problem. No matter what I do, the gasket and the lid have a slight rubbery smell. Whatever I make in the cooker takes on a very, very faint trace of this smell. It's so slight that my wife doesn't notice it in the food, but I notice it every time -- of course, I'm primed to do so, because when I remove the lid the smell is strongest.

    I have noticed that there is some black carbon or something around the bolt thing where the pressure knob comes through on the inside of the lid. Again, nothing seems to remove it -- I can get some off by wiping with a dry cloth, but no matter how much I wipe, the thing remains black.

    My suspicion is that what it wants is a wash, but the washing I'm doing isn't working.

    Anyone ever have this problem? Anyone have a solution or suggestion?

    Thanks!
     
  2. missyjean

    missyjean

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    I had that pot but I never had that problem..or maybe I just didn't notice it.

    Will they exchange the pot for a new one?
     
  3. mattie405

    mattie405

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    I don't have that particular Fagor model but do have several other sizes of theirs. The last gaskets I have bought for them have been made of silicone and have held up much better than the old fashioned rubber ones, they also haven't held onto any off odors. As to the black substance, are you drying it well after washing? The only thing I can think of is it is forming some mold by not being totally dry before being stored away. I have several of their models from the early 1990's and they have gotten lots of use over the years and still seem as if they just came off the assembly line. I would contact Fagor again and ask them directly about the black substance issue, if it isn't mold then maybe that part is lacking some kind of finish on the metal and they should make it good.
    Mattie
     
  4. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Hi ChrisLeher.  I have no problem with the gaskets of any of my pressure cookers giving off odd odors.  One of the PC's is a Fagor, but not the Duo.  Does your Fagor have a non-stick interior, by any chance?  For some reason, Fagor has produced some Duo models with stainless interior,  and some with non-stick.   If your is non-stick,  might this be the source of the odor? 

    Here is some information regarding the black deposit on the operating valve bolt:  

    http://www.missvickie.com/library/deepclean.htm

    www.missvickie.com  


     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  5. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    AmazingGrace I think just answered my question. It's slightly indirect, so here's a link for anyone else who has this problem.

    In this photographic how-to, Vickie explains how to deep-clean the entire valve assembly. How often should you do this? She writes:
    The first time I used my cooker, I did get a little foaming. Apparently this causes a blackened residue to appear on the valve, and the entire assembly must be cleaned. Since I haven't done this, and since I've changed the gasket without any result, I'm betting that it's the valve assembly. I'll clean it and let you all know what the result is.

    Thanks again!
     
  6. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Chris,  thanks for sharing the direct link.  I'm glad you made your way there,  and that it was of some help to you.  I've edited it into my first post.  This tutorial drives home the point that even though pressure cookers are "miracle pots", they are still subject to routine maintenance,  just as any other appliance or kitchen equipment would be.  I hope you have many wonderful food adventures with your Fagor.  G.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  7. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Drumroll please...

    The gasket still smells just slightly funny, but everything else is clean. I made a batch of chicken stock after the cleaning was done, and I can no longer detect any problematic smell even when I'm trying to. Clean, chicken-y smell, and nothing more.

    The sad thing is that I would have dealt with this months ago had it not been on the very first time I used the cooker that I boiled it over and thus scorched the bolt/vent assembly. So it's always had that slight smell, only it's slowly gotten worse (as you'd expect). Since the old cookers did have a rubbery smell -- something Julia Child used to carp about -- I sort of assumed this was normal.

    Important information for others: CLEAN THE VENT! It's not hard. Why Fagor doesn't tell you how to do it is beyond me, but whatever.

    Incidentally, if you've got a Fagor Duo, the disassembly process is just slightly different -- and simpler. All you do is unscrew the bolt from the bottom, and the whole assembly comes out smoothly in four pieces.

    Thanks, Grace!
     
  8. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    You should continue to have good performance from your gasket.  In future,  if you think there may be an odd odor that's not being addressed by regular cleaning,  I suggest you place the gasket in just enough warm water to cover, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda over it, let it sit for about ten minutes, then wash with hot soapy water and rinse it well.  While silicone does not typically hold odors within itself,  deposits from cooking accumulate upon the gasket and result in unpleasant smells.  This is especially true with grease (that may turn rancid) or strong-smelling foods, such as cabbage. 
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  9. osiris7

    osiris7

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    Thanks for the informative thread.  I had a question along similar lines myself:  I bought two Fagor PC's that look to be in great shape,

    but on both of them the yellow button doesn't come up when I believe I've reached pressure  (small amts. of steam escaping).

    Any ideas why this might be so?  Thanks in advance.
     
  10. gobblygook

    gobblygook

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    Chris,

    Thanks for the link.  Not that I intend to buy a pressure cooker, but I will not buy that brand.  The pics are disgusting and frankly, the very idea of the amount of funk that can get in that area where it's not easily cleaned, is appalling.  I guess there's something to be said for the old style with the "tinker toy" looking thing to regulate the pressure. 

    That link reminds me of the time I decided to figure out what was wrong with the valve on the tea dispenser at the restaurant I worked at.  Suffice to say, you'd be amazed at what tea can leave behind. 
     
  11. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    Wow...I don't believe I didn't see this post for an entire month.   On the handle of the pressure cooker you will see a button.  It might be purple, orange or turquoise, depending on which model you have.  This is a lid lock which needs to be pushed toward the center of the lid.  Unless the lid and pan handles are correctly lined up,  this lock will not slip into place.  Without engaging this feature,  pressure will not build.  Once pressure has started building,  this cannot be disengaged.  but wait, there's more...

    Also on the handle,  you will see a dial that can be turned to several icons. This is the operating valve.  It features a steam release position, one or two pressure settings [depending on the model],  and an unlock position that allows for the pressure regulator to be removed for cleaning.  In order for pressure to build, the operating valve must be in pressure position. 

    Now, for the yellow button.  This is another integrated safety feature.  With the lid lock and the operating valve in position,  as soon as pressure begins building,  this button will pop up.   This safety feature prevents the opening of the lid so long as there is any pressure at all in the cooker.  However,  contrary to Fagor's instructions,  having the button pop up does not mean that you have reached full pressure.  It means only that there is some pressure.  The yellow button will not rise if either of the previous features have not been activated,  or   if the gasket is not correctly inserted.

    You will know that full pressure has been reached when you can observe a steady stream of steam coming from the operating valve.  This is your cue to reduce the heat to only what is needed to maintain pressure as indicated by a "whisper-puff" of steam at 5 or 6 second intervals.  NOW is when you start your timer.  At the end of the pressure cycle,  use the appropriate pressure release method, according to the recipe. 

    While this might all sound like a lot of bother,  it's actually not.  Describing the various functions and how they are accomplished takes time,  but the actual doing amounts to very little real time. 

    Cleaning the various components of the PC is also not really difficult or even annoying if you use the appliance correctly in the first place.  Don't over fill,  especially with foods that foam,  and your cleaning will be kept to a minimum. 
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2010
  12. amazingrace

    amazingrace

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    I know this is off topic,  but it's interesting that you should bring up the tea dispenser.  Last week HubbyDearest took me out to lunch.  I usually order just water,  but I felt like having iced tea.  However, as soon as I smelled it,  I knew I couldn't drink it.  Hubby never notices anything,  and thought I was just being my same finiky self.  I said "I cleaned enough nasty tea dispensers in my lifetime to know that smell.  It's bad".   So when the waitress came back,  he told her "The lady has a problem with the tea".   I said "The tea dispenser valve needs to be cleaned."  I expected some smart remark,  but in stead she wrinkled up her nose and said "does it taste funky?" 

    Supposed to be disassembled and cleaned at the end of every day,  and left in pieces for the incoming shift the next day.  Instead,  what frequently happens is that they just shove the whole thing, with the tea still in it,  into the walkin cooler and it doesn't get cleaned until the valve starts serving slime with the tea.  
     
  13. bellybones

    bellybones

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    Your pressure relief vale either has something stuck in it that is preventing it from venting or

    is not working correctly.

    The blown gasket is because the pot did not want to explode in your kitchen , there by ruining your day.

    In other words, your gasket is acting like a pressure relief valve. Comprende?
     
  14. joseph dupont

    joseph dupont

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    I just bought two 8 quqrt duo fagor pressure cookers. neither one will build up steam pressure. I asked the tech lady if the rubber gasket was suppose to make contact with the bottom of the lid. she said no. but i find it hard to believe that they would invest in such a heavy duty , expensive part as just a weight.. any ideas..
     
  15. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    They take a while to build up to pressure in my experience. Also, the pop up pressure indicator needs a little help to pop up all the way so you can fully engage the handle lock and achieve the full seal.

    So with mine, when the yellow pressure pop-up rises, I grab it with some small pliers, pull it up a bit more and push up the lock. Then it finishes pressurizing quickly.
     
  16. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97

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    I have a Splendid Fagor and it disassembles the same way. It's amazing how grimy it can get around the valves.