More Pressure

I left off yesterday with canning, specifically pressure canning.

My canners are described in the manuals that accompany them as “pressure cooker/canners,” so I was always aware that pressure cooking was a possibility. And I did exactly that when it came to dried beans.

driedbeans

As you can see, we like beans. They store like that (or rather, in airtight containers) for quite some time, so the only reason to can them is for convenience.  Rather than cooking one pot of beans for a long time on the stove, I could do 7 quart jars at one time and be done with it.

eggs

But this is what changed everything for me.

Fresh eggs are great.  They are marvelous until you want to hard cook them. Then they do this.

stuckeggs

Not only do they look terrible for deviled eggs, but you end up tossing part of the egg that is stuck to the shell so even if you’re going to chop them up, the whole thing is wasteful.

This drove me crazy.

It drives a lot of people crazy, it seems, since you can Google it and find all sorts of articles explaining how to hard cook eggs the “right” way.  The “right” way, if you’re going to hard cook them on the stove without pressure, is simply to wait until they are as old as I am.  Then they will shed their shells without a single bit of swearing on your part.

One day, I read something about hard-cooking eggs in a pressure cooker and how that solved the problem. I got out my trusty little precious baby All-American canner, put a trivet in it along with some water, and pressure cooked a few very fresh eggs, and became a believer.

Canners are heavy, though.  It’s a pain to get one out just for everyday cooking, even my beautiful baby All-American, so I bought yet another pressure cooker.

pressurecooker

Hell, it was about $35.  It’s a Presto, like my big canners.  It’s light and handy.  And it has cooked a boat load of eggs.

I also realized that it does a magnificent job with dried beans.

And pot roast.

And chicken.

And then one day, I got an idea. [It seems that this wasn’t exactly an idea that only occurred to me, since lots of other people got the same idea, but I came up with it independently.]

It takes three minutes, in that pot, to hard cook eggs.  One day I realized that it also takes about three minutes to cook cut-up potatoes.

So, I put the potatoes in the pot, along with some water (you have to have water to create steam or you’ll have no pressure), and then I put about five eggs right on top of the potatoes.  Three minutes.

It isn’t really three minutes because the cooker has to bring the water to a boil, the steam has to build up to the point that the pressure begins to mount, it has to reach the appropriate pressure, and then the three minutes starts, and then it takes a couple of minutes to bring down the pressure afterwards.  It’s actually more like 10 minutes.

But during that time, I chopped up  onion and celery, mixed in mayonnaise and some relish and some spices and salt and pepper, in a large bowl.

When the cooker was done, I put the eggs and potatoes in a colander and ran cold water over them, chopped the eggs, tossed it all in the bowl and I had potato salad in less than thirty minutes start to finish.

Call me happy. We like potato salad.

I was a pressure cooking person.  I began to use that thing several times a week, sometimes daily.

And then I noticed that people were talking about this.

instantpot

That’s an Instant Pot.  It’s actually my Instant Pot.

To say that I was resistant to the idea of this thing is an understatement.  At first I was really skeptical. I’m not terribly fond of having multiple small electrical appliances all over my very small kitchen where counter space is precious.

After all, I have five pressure canners and a pressure cooker. What in the hell do I need with yet another one?  Surely I can do anything in my little Presto pressure cooker right on the stove that can be done in that Instant Pot?  Right?

Wrong.

For one thing, the Instant Pot (at least my model – I have the DUO60 7-in-1)) has a cycle that makes yogurt.

I have made yogurt for years. After all, we have a cow.  If it’s made from milk, I’ve pretty much made it or at least thought about making it.

Making yogurt requires three things (beyond milk). You have to heat the milk to 180 degrees, cool it down to 110 or so before adding the culture, and then incubate it for several hours at that warm temperature.

I made it by heating the milk on the stove using a cheese thermometer, cooling it, stirring in the culture and then putting it in quart mason jars, and incubating it in a small cooler with about three inches of hot water in the bottom.  After about three hours, I’d add some more hot water to the cooler and incubate it some more.

It worked fine.

But it was fiddly.  I had to mess with it all day long.

The Instant Pot does it all for me in one pot. The only thing I have to do is take out the inner pot, cool the milk, stir in the culture and put it back in the device and set the culture time.  It keeps track of the time and temperature for me.

After it’s done, I put the resultant yogurt in a nut bag to drain off some of the whey and it’s the best yogurt I have ever made.  Absolutely the best.  I suspect it’s because the pot keeps the incubation temperature far more stable than my cooler did.

But beyond that, the Instant Pot makes pressure cooking simple.  When I use the pressure cooker on the stove, I have to monitor it.  I have to set the heat to high, wait for the pressure to build, set a timer for the required cooking time, reduce the heat so it doesn’t overpressure, and then come get it when it’s done. The Instant Pot does all that for me.  Set it and forget it.  It not only beeps nicely when it’s done, but then it keeps the food at a safe hot temperature practically forever and monitors how long it has been done.

This means that I can start dinner two hours before dinner time, and just keep it on hold until Dave comes home, or until he comes in from outside, or until I finish whatever I’m doing.  It means that I can put frozen food in the pot, set a timer telling the pot how long to cook it and when I want it done and it will do as it is told.

I have cooked chicken and beef and lamb  and pork in it.  It makes excellent rice and I don’t have to watch it to make sure it doesn’t stick.  Furthermore, I can put chicken or beef in the bottom of the pot, add a stainless steel trivet on legs, then put a small stainless steel bowl on the trivet with rice and water in it and cook the whole meal.

I’ve made soup in it. It’s no different than making soup in a pot on the stove except that it’s done in a few minutes instead of a few hours without any help.

And of course, it cooks dried beans and eggs just as well as the little Presto does.

I know the Instant Pot is a bit of a fad right now.  That’s another reason I was skeptical and resistant for so long. But sometimes products become wildly popular because they work, and this is one of those times. A lot of people are afraid of pressure cookers, and the Instant Pot takes all the fear away.

I wasn’t one of those fearful folks, but I sure appreciate the time it saves me.  Now if they would add a deep fat fryer function. . .

There are more websites and blogs about the Instant Pot than you can imagine, and lots of Facebook groups and Youtube videos.

The best I’ve found are:

Hip Pressure Cooking Ignore the nutritional “information” and just know that the recipes have been tested and the times are pretty accurate.

This Old Gal, which is probably my favorite.

And on Facebook, the Instant Pot group is pretty much the best I’ve found.

And I’m eyeing sous vide.  It’s tempting, but I haven’t succumbed yet.

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39 thoughts on “More Pressure”

  1. I think I need one of these. I haven’t crossed over to pressure cooking/canning yet (old fear) but this looks like a great step off point.

    Then maybe I won’t need to wake up so early to set the Crock-Pot?

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  2. Im so sorry I didn’t get the 7-1. I have the 6-1 and can’t make yogurt with it. I dropped the lid and thought I had an excuse for a new one but alas it works fine.
    There’s some beef ribs going on soon to be finished on the grill for dinner. Last night I pressure boiled some popping corn for half pops.

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  3. Then maybe I won’t need to wake up so early to set the Crock-Pot?

    LOL Yes. The Instant Pot has a slow cooker function but I haven’t tried it. People say it isn’t as good at being a crock pot as a crock pot is. But many, many crock pot recipes are being converted to pressure cooking with good results.

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  4. I have the 6-1 and can’t make yogurt with it. I dropped the lid and thought I had an excuse for a new one but alas it works fine.

    There is a way to do yogurt in the LUX, but it’s basically the same thing I did with a cooler. It works, but it’s fiddly. I nearly didn’t buy the one with the yogurt function because I thought who cares, but the price difference was miniscule and so I did. I am so glad I did.

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  5. I had never heard of the instant pot until now. I may look into it, particularly as I love yogurt.

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  6. I had never heard of the instant pot until now.

    Where have you been? You’re a researching fiend. 🙂 Just look on Youtube.

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  7. I have resisted buying one as I love using my crock pot. I’m sold now and will be setting a instant pot! Thank you!

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  8. I have resisted buying one as I love using my crock pot.

    That’s how I felt. They are different. I still have my crock pot (I have two, a large one and a small one) and I still use them, but not as much.

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  9. Now you’re making me want an instant pot. I keep thinking they’re just a fad that’ll go away, but if I can cook dried beans faster + get rid of my yogurt maker to make space in my appliance cupboard, it might just work for me. I’ll have to think about putting it on my wish list.

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  10. This is off topic….is there any way to find out if Joe or Nicole got pulled over for, say, no insurance or another traffic violation? She seems to have a theme with her Facebook rant and anti- cop, anti-government posts.

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  11. Ok…I just cooked potatoes and eggs together in my pressure cooker for 3 minutes.

    Have to say, I was skeptical, Sally. I expected to open the cooker and find a mess.

    They came out fucking PERFECT. The shells slid right off the eggs. SLID. Like…perfectly. I will never cook hard boiled eggs any other way. I’m in awe, Sally. I bow down. Seriously.

    This is GENIUS!

    Threw together potato salad. I like sweet pickles, red peppers and onions and a very little bit of celery. Apple cider vinegar, sugar, mayo, salt, pepper, paprika.

    My family ate almost half of it hot and raved about how good it was.

    Make this. All summer. We love this.

    Will you peel potatoes? Yes!

    I never make it because it takes too long….this changes everything.

    Thanks Sally!

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  12. I am younger than you guys, and my kids are little, and my parents never cooked. We ate cereal, pop tarts, tv dinners, etc.

    Both the instant pot and the crock pot made cooking accessible to me. I’m serious. We were eating out entirely too much and my weight ballooned. I’ve lost a ton of weight since we purchased the IP.

    A lot of people are intimidated by it, but it couldn’t be easier to use.

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  13. Both the instant pot and the crock pot made cooking accessible to me.

    This is a big thing for me. Dave wants food, regularly. If he can’t find food around here, he’s gonna go get fast food. I can put something in the Instant Pot and have it on the table faster than he can go to town.

    Years ago, I dabbled with Once a Month cooking – in those days, it was a book, not a website – and liked the whole concept. Done right, it’s a money saver. And the website has lots of Instant Pot recipes. My absolute favorite is Honey Bourbon Chicken. I have about three packages of it in the freezer right now. I can cook the rice in the pot with it (Pot in Pot) and have a good dinner on the table before Dave can say “McDonald’s.”

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  14. This is GENIUS!

    It was a game changer for me. I tell people about the egg thing and they don’t believe me. They mess with putting baking soda in the water and shit. Nope.

    With the Instant Pot, it’s not three minutes. It’s five. That’s because the stovetop pressure cooker is set to 15 pounds of pressure and the Instant Pot (on high) is a bit over ten, I think. So the Instant Pot takes a wee bit longer than the stovetop pressure cooker, but you don’t have to babysit it.

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  15. My mother gave me her old pressure cooker( I can’t remember her ever using it, it had all the paperwork, etc.) So, I started using it and was nervous every time. The last time I used it was for lobster (we used to have a lobster feast every October..6 family, 2 friends had Oct bdays)
    We missed on the feast last year, family sadness. So, the old (50s) pressure cooker is stored.in the garage.
    That insta pot sounds great to me, since I probably won’t be doing lobster in it, it will be great at for 3 adults and little one living here. Thanks for the hints and good recommendation!

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  16. I have a pressure cooker. After I used it a few times I got over my fear that it would explode, haha.

    My friend borrowed it once. She called to tell me it was not working. It was brand new, it should have been fine. Then she said she was waiting for it to whistle like a teapot and it never did. 🙂

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  17. I don’t have a instapot brand one but it’s basically the same thing. My mom bought it for me and I wondered what I’d use it for. Ummmm everything!!! I love it! I am on the go a lot and it’s a total dinner life saver. I still need to try the multiple food cooking trick though. I’ve never done rice in it because I’ve perfected stove top rice. But I’ll try it one of these days. I do love throwing some chicken breasts in it and shredding them for casseroles or tacos. Even if it is a fad it’s pretty darn amazing.

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  18. my hubby recently bought a sous vide..I was really skeptical ..I enjoy a steak on the grill and was sure that after he used it..the meat would taste boiled..it was absolutely delicious..and cooked medium, and extremely tender…only problem was it took an hour to cook…I had to finally get rid of my old pressure cooker and invested in an electric cuisinart..I love it and the hubby is happy as he was always worried I would blow up the kitchen..my mom also bought me a cuisinart egg cooker,,I LOVE IT..it boils the eggs in just a few minutes and the peel just comes right off..I have become quite spoiled…

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  19. I don’t have a instapot brand one but it’s basically the same thing.

    There are several different companies that make electric pressure cookers. They are all pretty much the same.

    And I also can cook rice without a problem via stove top, but the Instant Pot does it without my having to watch it.

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  20. Thank you for this post! First I’ve heard of electric pressure cookers. My sister loves to cook so I’ll get her one for her birthday and borrow it a lot til I get another for me. My husband makes yogurt the finicky way, he wants to try this.

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  21. Well I went to Sonoma Williams after work tonight and bought 5 Breville Fast Slow Pro’s. I got one for me & 4 extra for my DIL’s & eldest daughter. They were having a demonstration at the store & I fell in love!!!! I really only came to look at the instant pot, and they were demo this 3 in one pot, (I also googled it to see the reviews) and it was such amazing kitchen tool, I decided my DIL’s & daughter would also love is so I bought them one too! I will make a lime chicken in it tomorrow night just like the one they demonstrated at the store. It looks & tastes so good! I have a whole collection of crock pots going back 40 years. I may end up giving them all away!

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  22. Well I went to Sonoma Williams after work tonight and bought 5 Breville Fast Slow Pro’s.

    Oh, my gosh. LOL

    Hang on to your favorite crock pot. These electric pressure cookers don’t seem to slow cook quite as well as an actual crock pot, although I suspect the only use I really will have for mine now is to render fat.

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  23. Completely off topic, but I started reading the very first book of the Percy Jackson series last night. When I put the book down for the night, Percy’s mom had just mentioned going to Montauk. Well, when I go to sleep, I have to have background noise and I normally fall asleep listening to Friends reruns. On the episode I caught last night, Phoebe mentioned going to Montauk. I had never heard of the place until last night and thought it was a pretty neat coincidence and I just wanted to share it!

    On topic now! My mom used to make roast in a pressure cooker. She would also put potatoes, and greenbeans in there with it. It was absolutely delicious and one of my favorite meals. I did hate washing dishes on roast nights though. That pot was so hard for me to clean without making a giant mess!

    Now I’m wanting to go out and buy a pressure cooker and ask my mom for her recipe!!!

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  24. That pot was so hard for me to clean without making a giant mess!

    Ahem. The Instant Pot cleans up easily. It’s heavy stainless steel, shiny, and it just does beautifully.

    I don’t mean to enable anyone, but. . .

    I ought to get some kind of commission. 🙂

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  25. Ahem. The Instant Pot cleans up easily. It’s heavy stainless steel, shiny, and it just does beautifully.

    Yes it did, but I was very scrawny and not very strong at the age of 10 when I was added to the dish washing rotation! I struggled with it! It was difficult for me to pick up, rinse out, and dump the water in the sink without making a big mess! The pot itself did clean up very easily, but my problem was just with the weight and size. Obviously I’m bigger and stronger now! I also have my own home with my own kitchen, and my parents won’t fuss at me if I accidentally get water on the floor or the counters…LOL

    I don’t mean to enable anyone, but. . .

    I ought to get some kind of commission. ?

    Did you not get your check this month? I’ll have my people contact your people and they can “look in to it further”…LOL

    Seriously though, I really need to make a donation to the Ranch. I’ve followed the links and looked, but couldn’t find a whole lot of information about it. Do you know where I can go to get more information?

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  26. “Where have you been? You’re a researching fiend. ? Just look on Youtube.”

    In my defense, my husband gets home hours earlier than I do and cooks dinner, so it simply wasn’t an issue. That changed dramatically over the weekend. I wonder if I can package it as a Father’s Day present from the kids?

    *drums fingers thoughtfully on desk*

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  27. Scary up north east of me

    Oh, gee. I’m not sure I’d eat anything that came from that gas station. That’s horrific, though.

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  28. I went to Sur la Table the other day looking for a Tofu press, but they only carried it online. But featured on the homepage of their website was…

    Instant Pot Ultra – out now! And 20%off!
    https://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-3436474/

    And what do you know, one of the new features is Sous Vide! Haha… Tempted?

    I do Sous Vide – it’s amazing. And seeing as how I’m vegan, and I describe my fare as amazing, I cant imagine how good your milk-fed pork would turn out, for omnivores such as yourselves!

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  29. Oh my! That’s horrible and I hope the nine others recover fully. My sympathies to the family and friends of the person who died.

    It doesn’t say in the article, was this prepared at the gas station? Or was it packaged and not properly stored? Not that it matters to the victims now – I’m simply curious.

    Very scary.

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  30. I water bath canned some strawberries yesterday. They are exceptionally good in Ohio this year. Nothing like a big hunk of freah bread with preserves.

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  31. i bought an egg steamer. it works great. honestly i dont cook that often as i never have time when i get home. i might consider getting one of these and using it. it would be nice to have dinner waiting when i got home

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  32. was this prepared at the gas station?

    From what I read, it seems that it was prepared at the gas station, or at least, sold in a not-pre-packaged form.

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  33. Loved this post. I was given a pressure cooker with no instructions and I was afraid to use it. I’m inspired to do more research and give it a try!

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  34. Oh no! Who else is in league with my mother in the “no gas station food” camp? I mean, my mother has issued a full-on fatwa against all gas station food in all forms that has been in place my entire life. I am not against this in principle but unfortunately this includes Sheetz and WaWa food. I’m not sure if you have those out your way, but her refusal to eat at those places can really put a hitch in our traveling. Sigh… If gasoline and food are at the same place, we will starve to death before we eat there. I draw the line at sketchy gas station food too, but no Sheetz? No WaWa? Sigh again…

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  35. I was also very resistant, partly because I felt late to the party and am generally a sore loser, but I was also not convinced it would taste as good. I don’t love many slow cooker dishes, mainly because I have 4 small children and homeschool so adding dinner prep to my morning is unsustainable.

    Early this spring, Costco had a big one on sale and then I made pot roast. I started prep at 4pm, had a million interruptions, and we were done eating by 6:30. And this summer I’m going to use it all the time because we don’t have central air and I don’t use my oven and my husband gets crabby (and very sweaty) if he has to grill in the humidity.

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