Get Started Water Bath Canning In An Instant Pot
To begin canning your foods for preservation, youll only need a few simple materials. These include:
- A range of suitably sized heat-tempered jars. Make sure any container you use has a sealable lid. Note: The only reusable parts are the jar and the metal screw band. You will need a new metal lid when canning.
- Metallic canning funnel
- A steam rack trivet, like this one, that is compatible with the Instant Pot.
Best Time To Buy An Instant Pot
Looking for a deal before you commit to buying an Instant Pot? Start looking around the holidays, as Instant Pot deals are very common for Black Friday, Christmas, Memorial Day, and similar times. You may even find some deals around the Super Bowl and other special times when families are more likely to be looking for cooking solutions.
Other discounts may happen more randomly. For example, Amazon recently discounted all of its Instant Pot models soon after July 4, 2020, possibly so the brand could get rid of excess supplies or meet behind-the-scenes goals. Here you can check the best Black Friday Instant Pot deals we found so that you can leverage Black Friday sales.
How Does An Instant Pot Work
Instant pots help you to prepare food in a short period which otherwise would have taken hours, therefore, people tend to use pressure cookers.
Pressure cookers work by providing a sealed place to the food for cooking. When you add liquid inside the pressure cooker and after it gets boiled it helps to create a pressure that in turn helps to cook the food quickly at a faster rate compared to conventional cooking.
This pressure has to be properly controlled and regulated to a specific level to ensure that there are no explosions. In older pressure cookers the pressure is regulated using a weighted pressure regulator which is usually regulated on the top.
In instant pots, this is done through a pressure regulator which helps to keep the temperature between 10.12 11.6 psi.
If the pressure inside exceeds 15.25 psi then the steam inside the pot is pushed up and released automatically until it reaches its optimal range.
Most of the accidents tend to happen due to the lack of this knowledge. Having this understanding would help you a lot not only for using instant pots but also while using any kind of pressure cookers.
10 features ensure the safety of an instant pot. Lets quickly look at those 10 features.
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Stackable Egg Steamer Rack
With 4.8 stars on Amazon, this stackable egg rack and trivet is a hit. One reviewer illustrates the glory perfectly: I had a dozen new eggs and was anxious to try my new Aozita stackable egg steamer rack trivet. I had already had some egg failures and thought, What the heck, Ill put the whole dozen in. This time I didnt set it on Manual, which at least one source recommended. I set it on Steam and put the whole dozen in, leaving only the center spots free. I was a little cautious lowering the trivet and eggs into the Instant Pot, but there were no falls and no breakage. Not quite enough room for trivet plus fingers, so I dropped it in when my fingers couldnt reach any farther. No problems. I ended up with a dozen perfectly hard-boiled eggs. I probably should have taken them out before all the pressure was gone instead of falling asleep and remembering hours later, but they were great and super-simple to peel. Goodbye, old egg cooker. Youll be confined to the cupboard until I find something the Instant Pot cant do. The trivet was a great purchase.
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What To Use The Trivet For
The trivet comes with the Instant Pot. This is a simple insert that allows you to get some space between the bottom of the pot and whatever food youre cooking. Generally speaking, any food that you might want to cook without having it come into direct contact with liquid can be made more easily with the trivet. You can place the food directly on top of the trivet or add it to a round heat-proof casserole dish or cake pan and place that on top of the trivet.
Think of things like chicken breasts, lasagna, breads, meatloaf, and other things that wouldnt taste great if they were super soggy. Its also commonly used for eggs, veggies, potatoes, or pot-in-pot cooking. Using the trivet can prevent burning or overcooking and also ensure even cooking.
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Is The Instant Pot Worth It
Besides the just-mentioned lead bit, people generally do consider their Instant Pots to be game-changers. If it doesn’t seem like your kind of thing, though, you’ve got options: though crock pots and pressure cookers might seem the same, they can yield entirely different results and might be more up your alley. Find some recipes utilizing those here.
So Many Recipes So Little Time
12. There are a million, billion, trillion, gajillion Instant Pot recipes on the Internet. Not kidding here.
Social media is driving the Instant Pots popularity. Its has nearly half a million members. The various models have nearly 18,000 reviews on Amazon.
Fans love to share their recipes for chicken or chili or risotto or weirder uses like popcorn or cheesecake. Some good places to start are here, here or here.
13. Some recipes take longer than their titles indicate. Sure, the recipe might be called 1-minute quinoa or 7-minute rice or 20-minute beef stew, but its going to take longer than that. It can take 10-15 minutes for the device to build up pressure before cooking, plus more time to release the pressure after the cooking.
14. Use a cup of liquid to cook meat. When youre starting out, a good rule of thumb is to use one cup of liquid when youre pressure-cooking meat. That could include broth, water, soy sauce, etc. Too much liquid will dilute the flavor.
15. It has a cool lid. One food blogger, Dad Cooks Dinner, says his favorite feature is the built-in lid holders on top of the Instant Pot. When you remove the hot lid, you dont have to set it down on the counter. You can fit a tab on the side of the lid into either of the Instant Pots handles, and the lid still stand up on its side.
For safety reasons, open the lid away from you. And never force the Instant Pot open.
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Inspecting Your Instant Pot Before Each Use
1. Remove the stainless steel inner pot and look inside the instant pot base. You will see the heating element. The heating element should always be free of debris and dry before you use you the Instant Pot. After washing, I always dry my stainless steel inner pot thoroughly before returning it to the base unit.
2. Check that the silicone sealing ring is fitted properly onto the lid and is clean and free of tears.
3. Remove the steam release valve from the Instant Pot lid by gently pulling it straight up. Make sure it is clean and free of debris. Some foods, such as applesauce, pasta and oatmeal may froth and foam when you cook them and can clog the steam release valve. Check the steam release valve each time you use your Instant Pot. If it is dirty clean it under running water and then put it back on the Instant Pot lid.
4. Check the float valve to ensure it is clean and free of debris. Clean it with warm water as needed. You may place the lid under running water as needed to wash it.
Making sure that all parts of your Instant Pot are clean and in good working condition can help you to have the best success with pressure cooking. My post about the Instant Pot burn message tells you both how to prevent getting this warning and what to do if you do get a burn message.
The Best Instant Pot For You: A Comprehensive Guide To Every Size And Model
All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Youve heard the hype, read the articles, perused the recipes, and come to the conclusion that you absolutely need an Instant Pot . But finding the best Instant Pot model for your unique cooking needs is a more involved task than it may seem. This buying guide for the beloved kitchen appliance has the answer to every anxious Instant Pot question you may have and will help you determine which of the many varieties is right for you.
Though every Instant Pot model has the same basic multi-cooking functionality that made it a household favorite, some are more versatile than others. Most of the models are very similar in terms of pot size, wattage, and voltage where they differ is mostly in the softwarehow many smart programs are built in with preset heat, time, and pressure levels.
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How To Set Up Instant Pot
Steam Rack :
Steam Release Valve:
sealingventing1. Sealing: 2. Venting or How to Release Pressure from the Pressure Cooking Setting-Quick release.
-Natural release. If you do NOT do a quick release by pushing the valve to the venting position, the Instant Pot will naturally begin to release the steam on its own immediately after the programmed cooking time is over. This allows the pressure to naturally dissipate on its own. It will start counting to let you know how many minutes it has been releasing the pressure. Usually this takes about 10-20 minutes depending on what and how long you have been cooking something.
The Underside of the Instant Pot Lid:
The Anti-Block Shield:
Is This Thing Safe
Its actually safer than conventional cooking or stovetop pressure cooking. Everyone has heard stories about old-time pressure cookers exploding. Your Instant Pot wont do that because the temperature and pressure inside the pots is carefully monitored and regulated through its internal programming.
Remember: Its your trusty cooking robot.
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Vent The Food And Enjoy
Once the cook time has passed, often you’ll then move the valve to “venting” which, in a glorious geyser of food smells, will release the pressure and steam inside your Instant Pot. Be careful touching the valve, it can get hot. Either wear an oven mitt or move the valve with a wooden spoon. It will release a lot of hot air, so it’s a good idea to lean back the first time you move the valve, and definitely keep your eyes away from the valve when you let it vent.
Once the Instant Pot is done venting this might take a few minutes remove the lid and gaze upon your finished food and enjoy.
A side note: in the picture below you can see a little circular valve that looks like a button. When the Instant Pot pressurizes, you should see it rise. This lets you know the Instant Pot is pressurized, which means the lid will be locked. The only way to open the Instant Pot, at that point, is to wait for it to depressurize. So don’t worry, feel safe.
Some recipes, including some very common ones like rice, call for something called a “Natural Pressure Release,” which just means you let the pressure slowly fade inside the Instant Pot. You do not move the valve to “venting” for a certain amount of time. My favorite Instant Pot rice recipe, for instance, calls for just a few minutes of cook time but 10 minutes of natural release before you open the Instant Pot.
Either way, you need to let the pressure release from the Instant Pot, but then you’re ready to enjoy.
Instant Pot Vs The Others
Instant Pot is probably the most well-known name in pressure cooking devices. However, its not the only player in the game. Other brands have come out with similar cookers with similar features. Devices like the TaoTronics 10-in-1 pressure cooker and the Mealthy MultiPot offer many of the same buttons and programs as the Instant Pot models. Some appliances, like the Ninja Foodi, combine pressure cooking and another cooking function, like air frying or dehydrating.
If youre thinking of buying an Instant Pot, its wise to check out all of your options. With an alternative, you can sometimes get additional features or a lower price tag. With an Instant Pot, you get a pressure multi-cooker with a trusted name. Oftentimes, you can find deals on certain Instant Pot models, and this can make the decision a bit easier.
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Beyond The Convenience Of The Instant Pot
Early on, my fondness for my Instant Pot came from a place of convenience. I appreciated the quicker cooking time for large, tough cuts of meat, wild rice, steel-cut oats, lentils, soup, and burrito bowls. Plus its ability to cook meat from frozen , and the fact that it often left me with fewer dirty dishes. And while those qualities still win the appliance some big points, Ive come to learn that some recipes are simply better when theyre cooked in the Instant Pot.
The Instant Pot isnt always the faster cooking method, and Im okay with that, because sometimes the food that comes out of it is so much better and more satisfying than other methods. I first realized this with hard-cooked eggs. Its not necessarily faster than the stovetop method, but Instant Pot eggs are by far creamier and easier to peel its my go-to method for making a big batch during my weekend meal prep routine.
Then theres spaghetti and meat sauce, which is my absolute favorite thing to cook in the Instant Pot. It takes advantage of both the sauté and pressure cooker functions, and again, while not necessarily faster than the stovetop, there are fewer dishes to contend with, and the result is out of this world. Everything the ground meat, spaghetti, sauce, and water is all cooked together, so the pasta picks up extra flavor, and the sauce clings to each strand like a magnet.
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My Favorite Instant Pot Recipes
Will Food Lose Nutrients During Cooking
While some people equate the high temperatures of pressure cooking with loss of nutrients, this is the opposite of the truth. Pressure cooking allows heat to be distributed evenly and quickly, so you dont need to immerse foods like frozen vegetables into water. You only need just enough water to generate sufficient steam, and most recipes use about one cup of liquid.
Because food isnt getting immersed in water, vitamins will not be dissolved away and will instead be retained for consumption. Furthermore, the steam that surrounds the food will prevent it from being oxidized by exposure to air. Youll notice that your green vegetables will emerge from the Instant Pot looking just as green as they were when they went in, and retaining their natural flavors as well.
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The Benefits Of Canning
Food canning is a great way to preserve some foods for up to 5 years. You can save money canning your food by buying in bulk and storing it for later consumption.
If you dont have time to cook a meal for your family, just walk over to your pantry, grab a jar, and voilà, you have instant dinner.
When you buy canned goods at the supermarket, expect more salt and sugar than you might want to consume.
Since youre doing the canning yourself, you have control over all additional additives.
There is a large growing population that enjoys the taste of foods they canned themselves. Sometimes I like to dress up my canned food with seasonings like thyme, rosemary, oregano, black pepper, and other herbs.
What Size Instant Pot Should I Get
There are four Instant Pot sizes: 3-, 6-, 8-, and 10-quart options. The 6-quart Instant Pot is the most popular optionmany recipes call for a 6-quart Instant Pot, and a meal cooked in the 6-quart variety feeds 36 people. The 8-quart and 10-quart sizes, on the other hand, are ideal when youre feeding a large family, cooking for a party, or doing weekly meal prep. Last but not least is the 3-quart Instant Pot , which is perfect for cooking for 12 people.
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Choose A Cooking Setting And Time
Again, this is likely when you’ll rely on a recipe. But, in general, now is the time to choose the method of cooking and how long your food will cook. I’ve found I typically use the manual setting and high pressure, since I frequently use the Instant Pot to prepare large cuts of meat. But in general, you’ll choose a setting, set a time, then start cooking.
Be advised, it can take more than 15 minutes for an Instant Pot to preheat and pressurize, depending on the amount of food and liquid in the pot. That means the number of minutes you chose to cook your food might not show up on the display for more than 15 minutes. That is OK. That is normal. Do not freak out and stop the cook. You might see small amounts of steam release through your valve. This, too, is normal. If you accidentally set your valve to “venting” you will know it. It produces a lot of steam.
After some amount of time, the Instant Pot display will show how many minutes are left in your cook. You’re off to the races. Set it and forget it, baby.