Do you have an Instant Pot, or maybe you’re thinking of getting one. These small appliances — from a company right here in Ottawa! — are a huge time saver, and make eating real food a lot easier for those of us with a busy schedules. Don’t be afraid of pressure cooking! These modern pressure cookers are not your grandmother’s pressure cooker; they are safe and very easy to use. Are you new to pressure cooking? Here are 10 tips for getting started with your Instant Pot.
10 Tips For Fearless Pressure Cooking
1. To start, the black dial on the top-back must be set to sealing, not venting. This means that your pot is sealed shut so that steam can not come out and the pressure can build up. It is normal for the black dial to loose and wiggly, not tight.
2. Make sure that the white silicone ring on the inside of the lid is in place all the way around, and that the lid is on tight and locked (this works just like a food processor).
3. Be sure to clip the condensation collector on the back; it’s the clear plastic reservoir that came in your box.
4.. Choose which preset button you want to use depending on your recipe and push it. You can add or subtract time if you want. Note that the time is in whole minutes, no seconds. If you want 5 minutes set it to 5, not 500!
5. The word “ON” appears on the display, which means that your pot is heating up, and pressure is building up. This can take a while, anywhere from 5 min to half an hour. After that you will see the timer appear to indicate your cook time.
6. Once it starts running, the number of minutes your food will cook appears on the display, counting down.
7. When the time gets to “0”, you can leave it alone and let it “NPR” or “Naturally Release the Pressure”, for as long as you like or as long as your recipe specifies. As it NPRs, the numbers on the display will go back up, which counts how many minutes it has been in the NPR state. The metal pin by the pressure dial will drop down when it is safe to open it.
8. If you want to let the pressure out quickly, right when it’s done or any time later on, turn the black dial to “venting” and stand back! Steam will come shooting out of the valve, releasing the pressure. When the steam stops coming out and the metal pin drops down, it is safe to open.
9. The “timer” button is a delay timer, not how long you want your IP to run for — this is the opposite of a slow cooker! You can set the timer for when you want your Pot to start, so that dinner is ready when you get home. It is NOT for when you want it to shut off.
10. If you’re nervous getting started, just run some water in it for a few minutes to get a feel for how it works!
You can also join the Healthy Habits – Real Food Instant Pot Recipes Facebook group for recipes and tips to get you started with your Instant Pot. It won’t be long before you wonder how you ever lived without it.