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Have you joined the Instant Pot craze? This kitchen appliance has gone viral, changing the way we cook.  The primary reason for its popularity? Convenience!  In addition to the versatility of usage with the basic Instant Pot, you can utilize Bluetooth connectivity on the Instant Pot “Smart,” which allows remote use with the help of an app.  It is Alexa and Wifi enabled. Imagine turning on dinner from your Smartphone while you are still at work!

The Instant Pot functions as a:

  • Pressure cooker. It uses pressure and heat to cook foods, which will provide quicker cooking of foods – usually in half the time of traditional methods.
  • Slow cooker. Want to cook more slowly? The Instant Pot does that as well.
  • A fryer and steamer. The Instant Pot sautes and steams – the built in heat source at the base of the machine allows you to use the pot to sear meats and/or saute vegetables, as well as simmer liquids for steaming.
  • Rice Cooker. Easy to use; this feature makes perfect rice with liquid and sensors. You don’t have to watch over it or stir.

An instant pot is a programmable all-in-one pressure cooker. It offers many healthy food options.   It quickly batch-cooks healthy staples such as chicken breasts, eggs and potatoes.  Keeping your refrigerator stocked with pre-cooked healthy basics is a convenient way to quickly prepare different meals throughout the week.

Pros of using an Instant Pot include:

  • Uses only one dish – the instant pot! So there is a reduction in the amount of dishes to wash.
  • Uses less fat. Great for reducing the amount of fat in cooking since moisture is used instead to pressure cook. This leaves the product moist and tender with no additional fat.
  • Includes a handy timer. Set the timer and the instant pot will beep when the cook time is complete.
  • Possesses a variety of settings. Includes settings for making yogurt, searing meat, steaming, boiling and baking.
  • Dinner can start with frozen items – no need to defrost. It is safe to put frozen meats and vegetables into the Instant Pot. However, it will require additional time to pre-heat and cook.

There are many healthy Instant Pot recipes now available to use for quick meals. Most of your favorites will easily adapt to being cooked in an Instant Pot.  Just avoid recipes using lots of cheese or butter.

Written by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:

http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/2018/08/03/what-is-an-instant-pot-pressure-cooker/

https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/2019/02/18/resources-for-instant-pot-eppc-users/

 

 

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Pressure-cooking is a food preparation method that uses trapped steam. The food is sealed inside of a vessel with liquid, heat is used to create steam, and this increases pressure inside the vessel. The appliance traps or releases steam to control the level of pressure within the unit. With the added pressure, the boiling point rises and allows the food to cook faster at a higher temperature. Pressure-cooking retains the flavor and nutrients of your food while saving you energy in the process. Pressure-cooking is not a new technique and has been around for over 350 years. Home pressure-cooking became popular in 1938 when it debuted at a Trade Show in New York.

Electric pressure cookers have increased in popularity over the last several years. There are currently several brands of electric pressure cookers available. Some of the most popular brands include: Instant Pot, Crock-Pot, Breville, Black & Decker, Cuisinart, GoWISE, Power Pressure Cooker, and the most recent Ninja Foodi. You can find a comparison of a few brands by Utah State Extension. Did you find yourself with one of these as a Christmas present? Intimidated by the appliance and don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as you begin to use your electric pressure-cooker.adding water to electric pressure cooker

  1. Use ½ to 1 cup liquid in the inner pot when pressure-cooking.

When you pressure cook you need to have at least ½ to 1 cup of liquid in the inner pot. The liquid is needed to pressurize the unit. Too much liquid will cause the unit to take longer to get up to pressure and to release the pressure when cooking is finished.

  1. Use multiple buttons in a cooking session.

Cooking for the whole meal can be done in the same inner pot. You can use the Sauté button to brown the meat or cook onions or garlic. Then, add your ingredients and set to pressure cook. Once it’s done, use the Keep Warm button to keep the food warm until the whole family is ready to eat.

  1. Add about 10-20 minutes to listed cooking time.

When you are pressure cooking the unit takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure. Therefore, if your recipe calls for 30 minutes at High Pressure cooking time, then your total time will be 40 minutes. You may even need to add time to the end of cooking to de-pressurizing the unit.  Depending on the unit and the item you are cooking, de-pressurizing could take anywhere from 5-20 additional minutes.

  1. Perform regular safety checks.

The lid of the pressure cooker contains a silicone-sealing ring and it can deform over time. Get into the habit to check it every time. It is recommended to replace the sealing ring every 18-24 months or when you notice cracks or other deformations. Don’t forget to check your vents to make sure they are clean and clear of food clogs.

Please keep in mind that an electric pressure cooker is different from a pressure canner. A pressure cooker is not a pressure canner and should NEVER be used for canning.

Geiger, M. (2016, November 21). Electric Pressure Cookers. Retrieved from https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/2016/11/21/electric-pressure-cookers/

Kendle, C. (2018, January 30). Electric Multi Cooker Tips and Tricks.

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

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