Instant Pot saves my sanity at dinner time!
I thought I was really brave when I bought a pressure cooker to use for canning!
The truth is, I was intimidated every time I used it! I would follow the instruction booklet every time I used it, just to make sure I was avoiding the mother of pressure cooker explosions.
I banished kids from the kitchen.
I banished pets from the kitchen.
I watched the pressure cooker from afar ... just in case ...
Then one day, a friend offered me her electric pressure cooker. A Wolfgang Puck Bistro. My life changed forever.
I loved this machine! I cooked in it for probably 5 nights straight. I learned to "boil" eggs in it, I made breakfasts, lunches, dinners - you name it! But there was a problem that quickly brought my love affair with the Bistro to an end. A loose gasket.
I sometimes had to start recipes three or four times over, because I couldn't get a good seal, and air would leak out of the lid - so the pressure could never build up.
It wasn't long before I knew Wolfgang had to go, but I still wanted the convenience of the electric pressure cooker.
My in-depth searches and research led me to Instant Pot.
What is pressure cooking?
Pressure cooking is the process of cooking food, using water or other cooking liquid, in a sealed vessel—known as a pressure cooker, which does not permit air or liquids to escape below a pre-set pressure.
Because of the increased pressure, cooking time is shortened, which saves energy compared to conventional cooking methods.
The pressure is created by boiling the cooking liquid inside the sealed pressure cooker. The trapped steam increases the internal pressure and temperature.
Pressure cooking can be used for almost any food which would normally be cooked in steam or water-based liquids.
What can you prepare in a pressure cooker?
I was surprised to learn that you could make boiled eggs in a pressure cooker! Then, I discovered that you could also make desserts, such as cheesecake.
In your pressure cooker, you can cook:
- Soups, stews, and stock
- Pasta dishes
- Beans and grains
- Meat and fish
- And more!
The "new" pressure cookers
While stove-top pressure cookers require some baby-sitting, the new breed of electric pressure cookers allow you to "set and forget".
You add your ingredients, close the lid, push the appropriate button for the what you're cooking, and wait until the beep that tells you your food is ready!
Of course, as with stove-top pressure cookers, you still have to wait for the ingredients in your pot to come up to pressure, and when you're done, you need to wait until the pressure is stabilized.
As with the stove-top models, you still have the ability to open the vent to let the steam escape, if the recipe calls for it.
Electric pressure cookers usually do more than just cook your food under pressure. The Instant Pot 7-in-1, for instance, is also a:
- Slow cooker
- Rice cooker
- Yogurt maker
- Sauté pan
- Food warmer
You may be surprised at the versatility, compared with a stove-top model.
Safety features of the Instant Pot
You will feel safe using your Instant Pot, knowing that it has these built-in safety features:
- Safety Lid Lock prevents accidental opening during pressurized cycle.
- Pressure Regulator ensures working pressure to be under the safety limit of 15.23psi (105kpa).
- Smart detection of leaky lid (e.g. steam release is at open position).
- Anti-blockage vent prevents food from blocking the vent.
- Magnetic Lid Position Detection monitors lid safety while pressure cooking.
- Automatic Pressure Controller keeps pressure in the safe range.
- Excess Pressure Protection releases excess pressure into internal chamber for safety.
- Automatic Temperature Control regulates temperature according to selected program.
- High Temperature monitor avoids burning food.
- Electrical current and temperature fuse cuts off power if the current or internal temperature exceeds safety limits.
The Instant Pot is so simple to use!
This machine is so failsafe, I have no hesitation in letting my children cook with it (they are 13 and 14).
The ability to put all of your ingredients into the cooker, push a button, and come back to a fully cooked meal means that there's more time for family interaction outside of the kitchen! After all, who wants to be working over a hot stove for an hour or so making dinner?
You'll find that your Instant Pot is so convenient, you may even prefer using it to eating out! In the past, when I've felt too lazy to cook, it was easy to run through a drive-through and pick up something not-so-healthy for dinner. Since I've had the Instant Pot, I find myself doing that much less.
The first thing that you need to bear in mind, especially if you're creating your own recipes, is that you must have enough liquid in the pot to create the steam needed to bring it up to pressure.
How to use the Instant Pot
Firstly, make sure there is no water between the removable pot and the inside of the machine. Then:
- Insert the stainless steel removable pot into the machine.
- Add your ingredients.
- Check that the valve is not blocked.
- Place the lid on the cooker.
- Choose the program you want to use.
- Adjust the pressure, if necessary.
- Adjust the time, if necessary.
- Wait for the beep!
Dry beans, legumes, lentils
Depends on the type of bean
Depends on cut - a roast takes a lot longer than a pork cutlet!
Fish and seafood
Rice and grains
White rice cooks in 8 minutes
Vegetables, fresh and frozen
Whole vegetables take longer to cook than chopped vegetables
What I love about the Instant Pot
Cooking with the Instant Pot gives me back time to spend with my family.
I can cook healthy and nutritious meals in the fraction of time that it would take me to cook them by traditional means.
The Instant Pot cuts down on kitchen appliances because it takes the place of a slow cooker, a rice cooker, and a yogurt maker.
Unlike the Wolfgang Puck Bistro, I can brown and sear in the Instant Pot.
I love the stainless steel insert! It's so easy to clean!
It truly is one-pot cooking. Fewer cooking utensils to wash is always a good thing!
It keeps me out of the drive-through.
There are plenty of recipes online. Just look at my collection on Pinterest!
Boil eggs in the Instant Pot!
I mentioned previously that I boiled my eggs in the Instant Pot. This is super-simple to do.
- Insert the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot into the stainless steel insert.
- Add a cup of cold water to the insert.
- Place the eggs on the trivet. (Tip: you can use canning rings to stop them rolling into each other!)
- Press "Steam" and adjust the time down to 4 minutes.
- When done, quick-release the steam valve until the pressure is normalized.
- Put eggs in ice water for about 2 minutes - this makes them much easier to peel!