Pressure Cooking And The Instant Pot

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The Instant Pot

What’s All The Fuss About?

The Instant Pot is a counter-top machine that has several functions. In essence, the Instant Pot is a Pressure Cooker, Rice Cooker, a Steamer, a Slow Cooker, and a Saute’ Pan.

The most used function is the pressure cooker, and in fact, it cooks rice and steams with pressure.

What Is A Pressure Cooker Anyway?

A pressure cooker works by heating liquid higher than the boiling point by using pressure and heat, whereas conventional cooking relies on just heat.

Advantages of Pressure Cooking

  • Saves Energy–Because food is cooked faster in a pressure cooker you don’t have to use as much fuel.
  • Cooks Food Faster–As mentioned above food cooks faster. So you can have a meal that is full of whole foods on your dinner table in no time. You can even start with frozen food.
  • Doesn’t Heat Up the Kitchen–Since you’re using less fuel and the steam is contained in the pressure cooker it doesn’t heat up your kitchen.
  • Saves Time–Food cooks faster so you can spend that extra time doing something you love, rather than standing around waiting for things to cook.
  • More Nutritious Food–Food is found to be more nutritious because of shorter cooking time and the fact that liquid is retained instead of evaporating or being poured off.
  • Easy to Clean–A pressure cooker keeps the mess contained so you don’t have a ton of pots and pans and you’re stove and oven stay clean.
  • Stainless Steel–If you have a stainless steel pressure cooker like an Instant Pot you’re not worried about metals like aluminum leaching into your food.
  • Fast Whole Food–There really is such a thing as “good for you” fast food. This to me is the number one reason to use a pressure cooker. You can have wholesome food on your table in a faction of the time it normally takes.

What Model Did You Buy?

Do You Have an IP-DUO, IP-LUX or IP-Smart?

  • IP-DUO 50–5-quart capacity, has yogurt function, has dual pressure setting, has a longer keep warm setting, has lid fins, comes with a condensation collector, cord rack and has an additional steam shield.
  • IP-DUO 60–6-quart capacity, has yogurt function, has dual pressure setting, has a longer keep warm setting, has lid fins, comes with a condensation collector, cord rack and has an additional steam shield.
  • IP-DUO 80–8-quart capacity, has yogurt function, has dual pressure setting, has a longer keep warm setting, has lid fins, comes with a condensation collector, cord rack and has an additional steam shield.
  • IP-LUX 50–5-quart capacity does not have the yogurt function or the dual pressure setting. In other words, there is only high pressure without a low-pressure setting. The LUX does not have the same length of time when it comes to keeping warm settings, and it does not have as many programmed settings. Also, this model doesn’t have lid fin holders on base, condensation collector or cord rack. In addition, the steam shields are different.
  • IP-LUX 60–6-quart capacity does not have the yogurt function or the dual pressure setting. In other words, there is only high pressure without a low-pressure setting. The LUX does not have the same length of time when it comes to keeping warm settings, and it does not have as many programmed settings. Also, this model doesn’t have lid fin holders on base, condensation collector or cord rack. In addition, the steam shields are different.
  • IP-Smart–This model uses Bluetooth for setting controls. I have never used this model, but I understand you can control settings on your phone. I’m not sure where technology on this app stands, because you can’t control it from long distances (not that you’d want to with a pressure cooker) and I don’t believe you can currently get them on Amazon except for people who are selling the units they have purchased–i.e. a second-hand purchase.
  • IP-CSG60–There are is an older model that I have not seen for sale, but if you pick up one-second hand you should know which model you have. The older model is the IP-CSG60.

What To Do When You Take Your Instant Pot Out Of The Box?

  1. Make sure it’s all there
    • The IP-Duo50 or IP-Duo60 come with a rice paddle, a soup spoon, a measuring cup, a steam rack, a condensation water collector, a user’s manual and a recipe book.
    • The IP-LUX60 or IP-LUX50 comes with a measuring cup, a rice paddle, a soup spoon, a steam rack, a user’s manual and a recipe book.
  2. Read The Directions–I know this is obvious to some, but to others, it may be a new practice. You’ll learn quite a bit from reading the directions. It helps to have the unit in front of you when you go through the directions.
  3. Initial Test Run–This is the test recommended in the directions. Don’t skip it. It will get you familiar with the unit and build confidence that you’re doing everything correctly.
  4. Decide What To Make First–This one might be the hardest thing to do. There are so many recipes out there, it’s hard to decide.

10 Instant Pot Tips

  1. Which Way Does The Sealing Ring Go On?–It doesn’t matter which way the sealing ring goes on. In other words, you can put it on the right side up or upside down or you could say there is not a right side up or upside down. Both sides are the same.
  2. Don’t Buy All The Accessories–wait until you get your Instant Pot before buying accessories – you might have things that will fit.
  3. Converting Your Favorite Pressure Cooking Recipes–When converting your favorite pressure cooking recipes you’ll need to add a few more minutes onto the cooking time. The Instant Pot cooks at a slightly lower pressure.
  4. Instant Pot Cups Don’t Equal U.S. Cups–The measurements in the insert and the measuring cup are not U.S. customary units. They are smaller. So the plastic cup is not a U.S. cup and the marks on the inside are not U.S. cups either.
  5. Natural Release–refers to letting the steam/pressure dissipate naturally without your help.
  6. Quick Release–refers to letting the steam out manually through the valve. It’s never a good idea to use quick release when you have a recipe that has a high liquid content like soups, stews, and chilies.
  7. Getting The Pressure To Go Down Faster–Turning the Instant Pot off so that the keep warm cycle does not come on will not help the pressure go down any quicker.
  8. The Steam Is Super Hot–Always use a towel or an oven mitt when using the quick release function.
  9. Safety–Don’t be afraid because the Instant Pot has 10 safety features, but at the same time it’s a good idea to be home when the pot is in use.
  10. You Can Set The Instant Pot To Cook For Zero Minutes–You can set the Instant Pot to zero if you need to. Some vegetables will be overcooked even if you give them a 1-minute cook. The food is actually steamed or cooked in the heating up cooling down cycle if you set it to zero.

Final Thoughts

Pressure cooking is so much fun and the buzz about this pot has made everyone take a second look at pressure cooking. I’m not usually one for fads or trends, but this one seems to be a fun one to bring us all together to share recipes and eat healthier.

Be sure to check out our Instant Pot resource page to find links to the various models, plus some of my favorite accessories and books!

  • Deborah says:

    I don’t have an instant pot, but do have a couple of pressure cookers. They are great. I’ve had one for 40-something years. They are really great to have. I’ve never done it, but I k ow that you can’t put dry beans in to cook, and NOT let them soak first. A firing found out thehard way.

  • Billie says:

    Can you can foods in an instant pot?

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      No, you can not can in an Instant Pot. The Instant Pot does not get up to the temperatures needed to pressure can safely.

    • Jennifer says:

      The link says you can not pressure can, but you can using the boiling water method.

      • Jennifer Osuch says:

        Hi Jennifer,

        They do say you can water bath can in the Instant Pot on their site. However, I would still advise against it because it has not been tested. In addition the saute function, that you would need to use, turns off automatically after 30 minutes, which may or may not be enough time for you canned goods. Plus, I feel like if you’re going to can you may want to use a larger capacity pot so that you can actually put some food up into storage.

  • Beth says:

    My instant pot booklet shows you can do canning in it Jennifer. I haven’t tried it but intend to this spring.

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