Pressure cookers are great time savers in the kitchen but are only as good as the pressure cooker gasket. Replacing the gasket is essential to the security of the device and should be done every 3 to 5 years with normal use. Since the gasket is the major device which contains the pressure and contents of the cooker, any abrasions or cracks mean replacement is necessary. If there is any doubt, spend the small amount of money it costs and replace the gasket.
Replacement Gasket - Take down company, size, and product number of your pressure cooker before heading the store. Gaskets come in various sizes depending on the capacity of the cooker and specific product number. Secondly, different companies sell different gaskets. It is important to purchase the gasket that goes with the specific pressure cooker is essential to correct functioning. The manual which came with the pressure cooker can have this information and possibly the specific product number of a replacement gasket.
Removing the Old Gasket - Lift the gasket in one spot and pull towards the center of the cooker. Slowly work your way around the rim releasing the gasket from the groove. Never use any kind of sharp implement to remove the gasket. Examine the gasket and be sure it needs replacing. It there are not cracks, chips or tears, the gasket may be merely dry. If dry, wash the gasket in warm soapy water and allow to air dry. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil, wipe off excess oil and replace the gasket.
Replacing the Gasket - Remove the new gasket from the packaging and fit it into the groove along the interior of the lid. Do not overly stretch the gasket or use any sharp implements which could puncture. Begin in one spot fitting the gasket into the groove with your fingers. Slowly work around the circumference working the gasket in as you go. Once half way around, be sure the gasket is fitting under the extended areas of the lid's lip or the gasket will work itself off when the second half is fitted on.
Cleaning the Groove - Once removed, take a bottle brush and some warm soapy water to scrub the interior of the groove and remove any food particles or debris. Any debris or particulate matter allowed to sit on the gasket will greatly diminish the life span of the new gasket. Thoroughly dry the groove with a towel and allow the lid to air dry till so all moisture evaporates.
Checking for Fit - Once the gasket has been placed onto the cooker, check for fit. The gasket should not be twisted or rolled in any areas. There should be no stretch marks or thin places where the gasket is being pulled too tightly. Likewise, there should be no overlapping or baggy areas. If the gasket seems loose at all, be sure the check the sizing to make sure the correct gasket was purchased.