Here is a fun fact about pressure cookers...they have been around for hundreds of years. I vaguely recall that my mother owned one, but also remember some sort of warnings about how they could explode and even though I cooked a lot, I was not cooking with the pressure cooker. That was for the adults.
Why Cook With The Instant Pot?
It appears that pressure cookers have made a comeback in a big way, and the most popular kid on the block is the Instant Pot. So many advances makes it a multi-faceted kitchen tool that does much more cooking than just pressure cooking. (Check out my review of the Instant Pot, where I share my experience and recipes that I developed using the Instant Pot).
There are many brands of pressure cookers, so in order to make my recipes as useful as possible, I try and list cook time and pressure release method, rather than using the pre-programmed buttons that are featured on the Instant Pot.
What makes the pressure cooker so great? Strangely enough, everyone has an opinion, and it seems that some gourmet chefs do not embrace the Instant Pot, referring to it as just a tool of convenience. Yes, and convenience cannot be underestimated. For me, there are two reasons that an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is the best gadget in my kitchen--convenience and enhanced flavor. We have had microwaves for decades for convenience, but who really claims the food tastes better when it is cooked in a microwave? Exactly no one.
Here is how the interweb describes the process--basically, the pressure and steam trap the flavors in the pot, and as the temperature rises up to 250 degrees, it creates enhanced flavors that are superior to those that result from oven, stovetop or microwave cooking. "At high temperatures, the food can also develop Maillard reactions, which produce the complex flavors associated with browning and caramelization."(source) .
After trying hundreds of recipes, some working and some not, I would like to share some favorites. It was a complete surprise to find out that this Instant Pot Blackberry Jam recipe would be one of the most popular recipes on my blog. It was so easy, required only a few ingredients, and the result was tangy, fresh blackberry jam with no chemicals, additives or preservatives. Click here to see all of the Best Instant Pot Recipes pictured below.
What Are The Easiest Foods To Cook In The Instant Pot?
Safety Tips For Using The Instant Pot
When you combine electricity, heat, steam and liquids, there are a few safety tips that will make your use of the Instant Pot much more enjoyable:
- Do not fill the Instant Pot past the 2/3 line or if you are cooking foods that expand (like beans), not past the 1/2 line
- Don't ever put your hand or your face over the steam release valve
- Keep the Instant Pot out of the reach of children
- Use caution when releasing steam valve, as steam can scald you. To be extra safe, I place a light towel over the vent when I release it
- When the unit is under high pressure, you cannot remove the lid. Don't force the lid. Wait for the pressure to fully release and for the float valve to drop down
- Do not cook meat on the delay start program. It is not safe to leave meat at room temperature
- Never clean the inner pot or heat element with the unit plugged in
- If you cook sticky foods like rice or oatmeal, make sure to rinse the valve well immediately, and confirm that the valve is clear before using again
- Always add at least 1 cup of water or clear liquid to the inner pot to generate steam necessary for pressure cooking To see an illustration of safety features, check out Instant Pot's recommendations(source)
- Many wonder if the Instant Pot can explode. If you have ever tried the QR, quick release of the pressure, you see how much pressure, steam and heat is generated by the Instant Pot. If you try to remove the lid before all of the pressure is released, you will cause that steam and pressure to be released all at once, and not through a valve as intended. So, whatever you call it, it is hot and dangerous, so always follow pressure release instructions, or if in doubt, just let it release on it's own. You will know it is all released when the float valve drops down.
One of the greatest advantages of the Instant Pot, is the convenience. With all the features it offers, you can saute and pressure cook your entire meal in the same pot and have it ready in less than 30 minutes in most cases. Yes, quick one pot cooking that offers superior flavor. Who doesn't love that? Check out my favorite Instant Pot Dinners here.
It is September now, and the weather is cooling. Quite frankly, I use my Instant Pot as much in the summer as I do in the winter, because it doesn't require that I heat up the house with the oven just to get a delicious quick meal. In the fall and winter though, the Instant Pot goes into overdrive, because you can never have too many delicious, comfort food, soups that can be ready in an instant. Here are some quick, easy, warm your soul, soup recipes.
Author: Barbara Gilbert
Updated: September 17, 2018