Instant Pot Unboxing
So, I finally jumped on the Instant Pot band wagon. I didn’t know a lot about what it was, but I knew my friends were making fabulous dinners in 30 minutes. And as a working mama, I’m always on the look out for fast and healthy dinner ideas! So I got an Instant Pot for my birthday and set off to discover how it was going to make me beautiful tasty dinners in a snap.
What is an Instant Pot?
Well, I’m glad you asked, because I finally figured it out! 😉 It’s a pressure cooker. But not your grandma’s pressure cooker. This is a modern, digital cooking machine designed to make cooking meat, rice, soups, yogurt and all sorts of other yummy concoctions! The pressure inside the pot can reduce cooking time up to 70%. Considering most days I end work a little after 5 and we start the scramble of picking up children, shuttling to evening activities and trying to squeeze in a wholesome dinner; this seemed right up my alley. I was sold because it can replace my rice cooker, steamer, slow cooker and yogurt maker. Bonus…less kitchen appliances to store! Instant Pot is a “convenient and kitchen friendly time-saver”. Sign me up for that!
I’ll admit I’d never used a pressure cooker and was a little unsure. It arrived easy to unpack. Points for the Instant Pot. I got the 6-quart, 7-in-1 cooker (THIS is the one I have). It comes with a stainless steel inner pot (dishwasher safe…more points for Instant Pot), a stainless steam rack, a measuring cup, two spoons, and a plastic condensation collector. Plus, in addition to the instructions, a recipe book is included…great for beginners!
Not sure yet? Here’s something else I learned getting started. Pressure cooking preserves 90-95% of the vitamins in the food. In a world of processed meals that can barely even be called “food”, this is HUGE! This is even more than boiling or steaming food preserves. Plus they use less energy and electricity. BOOM!
How to Use It
Down to business. This is the part I was nervous about. How easy was this “instant” cooking process going to be? Obviously with so many possible cooking functions, how you use it will depend somewhat on what you are making. But basically it’s as easy as filling the inner pot, sealing the lid, and choosing the your setting. When the pressure all released, it’s safe to open the lid. To release the pressure, move the steam release handle (on the top of the lid) from Sealed to Venting. A WHOOSH of steam shoots up from the lid (which my dog was NOT happy about!). Once the steam is all released, you just turn the lid counterclockwise and lift it off. If the pressure isn’t fully released, there is a safety mechanism that prevents the lid from opening. Another convenient feature I love – the Instant Pot has slots at the top on both sides that will hold the open lid. No searching for where to place the hot, wet lid on the counter! Simply set it in the slot. Genius!
My First Instant Pot Dinner
The instruction manual recommends performing a short (15 minute) test run before cooking in the Instant Pot. You simply add water, but it gives you a chance to get comfortable with using the lid. You see here how easy it is to measure. The inner pot has handy measurement marks on the inside. Test run success! Wanting some tried and true recipes as an Instant Pot beginner, I also asked for a cook book: Great Food Fast by Bob Warden. It’s still cold outside here, so soup it is! I started with the Corn Off the Cob Soup recipe, mostly because I had the ingredients already. With one exception…I used frozen, organic corn instead of corn fresh from the cob. I’m sure it would have been even more delightful with fresh corn cobs, but I already had the other in my freezer. The Instant Pot takes a few minutes to pressurize once it’s turned on. But the cooking time after it was pressurized was only about 10 minutes total! Definitely the fastest homemade soup I have made. Delish. And just look at all those vitamins!
Clean up was surprisingly easy! The stainless inner pot is very lightweight and lifts right out. Easy to clean in the sink. The rest of the pot wasn’t dirty, but if it was you would just wipe it down.
The Instant Pot was a success! Now to clear all those other appliances out of my cabinets and make a home for it. If you have more tips on using the Instant Pot or favorites for cooking in it, I would love to hear them! Don’t have this baby yet? You can grab one HERE and get the fun started!