Author Topic: Instapot Discussion  (Read 3955 times)

Goldielocks

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Instapot Discussion
« on: December 03, 2017, 02:19:44 PM »
What can an instapot do that can't be done with either a : crockpot, or stove / dutch oven / other  ??

I have been loaned an extra-large version variation to an Instapot (Fagor brand).   I am trying to make things that would convince me to purchase one before I return this one.  Honestly, I have not been very impressed, other than perhaps the timer / off feature.

Key benefits:
Pressure cooking (for speed, quality is like the crockpot so far)
Timer off / set:  Convenient, no hanging around the house to low and slow cook in the oven.

So far I have cooked:
A) Large piece of pork (Browned and quasi-pulled port for taco style).  I was told pot roast was awesome with it.   Um? Just faster than crockpot?   Not as tasty as braised in the oven?  Browning was still a bit of work..
B) Lot and lots of Chickpeas (to see if pressure cooking could get them smoother than the stovetop) - not really better / smoother, just very very fast, under 1 hr from dry.  I found a crockpot recipe from dry that I will try, too, to compare.

Will try next:
C) large pearl tapioca... for pudding
D) the risotto recipe

What do you make that works better in the instapot than any other, that you would not give up?  What am I missing here that is worth nearly $100 and counter/storage space?  I have lots of storage, and I don't mind owning appliances that do things I can't do otherwise (e.g. the electric optigrill, a processor, a mixer, blender).

Other foods people recommend that I already make with little effort:
1) Yogurt
2) Stock for soup (Is it not easier on the stove in a large pot?  Sometimes it boils too hard for me, is Instapot correcting that or just steam all the time which is a strong boil anyway?)
3) Rice (I already have a rice function on my microwave.  pretty easy and fluffy, never burns)
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Update:
Pork
Cooked a cheap cut of pork loin with a band of fat, but not marbled.   Cooked with lime juice, chili, cumin, salt / pepper, onion, garlic.  Added the required 1.5 cups of stock.
I gotta say, this was not better tasting quality than the crockpots, was a combo of boiled/stewed / yet dry (because of the lack of marbellling) and the juices covered it.  It was not nearly as good as braised pork on the stovetop /oven.   Flavours were great - thanks to a MMM poster that recommended the lime.   Cutting the meat into large pieces, and browning it in the pot took quite a bit of time.
The pot is quite tall so browning was a chore to turn the pieces, too.  Not a repeat, maybe if I had a pork shoulder for a true pulled pork.



Chickpeas

I made close to 10+ cups of chickpeas yesterday, no presoaking.   They were not nearly tender enough to beat out boiling after 38 minutes, but another 10 minutes helped.  Gotta say, 10 cups of cooked chickpeas in under an hour is an interesting concept.   Note the huge batch because I can't be bothered to soak and boil for hours in small batches.   But having them done in under an hour would mean that making 4 cups at a time would definitely be possible.

Made hummus with 4 cups of chickpeas -- a little grainier than the soak / cook method (either that or I had older chickpeas... my chickpeas are never quite as smooth as canned).  Froze the rest.   MUCH shorter time, but not necessarily easier than a crockpot recipe for dried beans.   The sad part is I don't eat enough beans to justify $100 on an appliance.   I wouldn't buy $100 worth of canned beans in 2 years, I bet.

UPDATE 1:

Risotto:


Total time to prepare from cold:  23 minutes
7 minutes heating time to saute level
5 minutes saute
2 minutes to increase temperature from saute to Risotto after lid is on.
7 minutes risotto cook mode
2 minutes checking recipe and getting the stock measured / adding ingredients before and after cook

Advantages:  Only one pot.  7 minutes to cook instead of 30 minutes and no stirring during cook phase.  Crockpot version (no stirring) needs a larger serving size and takes 4 hours..best with brown rice / barley for texture.

Notes: Total prep time is same (saute, chop onion).  Quality is highly dependent on what ingredients are used (fresh basil, wine, home made stock, parmesan cheese and quality rice should be winners in any recipe).

Overall -- Easy to make and to clean up.  Fast.    Need more recipes like this to justify, would I make risotto more if I had this?  IDK, but positive experience.  UPDATE -- my DD and DS just ate some and give it a lot of compliments, would eat every day, etc...  To me, it isn't creamy like true risotto, but it is quite good.

Update 2: WHOLE FROZEN CHICKEN
Okay folks, this is where the crockpot truly fails,, (rubbery and stewed).. and I make an awesome butterflied high roast chicken, but from thawed, in my oven in quite a short time.   So, the gap is for how to get dinner on the table when the WHOLE CHICKEN is a frozen lump in the freezer and it is already 4pm and we just got home (from shopping or picking up kids, work meeting, whatever).

Chicken -- I managed to separate the 2 frozen chickens from each other (hey, it was a super special sale at $2/lb, which is more than half off)... put 1 cup of stock (turkey stock, also still partially frozen), a upside down lid from a pot to use as a trivet, and the chicken.  Topped with 4 garlic cloves, 1/2 onion in chunks, and sprinkled with lawry's salt and my seasoning blend (thyme, basil, garlic salt, etc).   Into the IP for 38 minutes, natural release (typing that it sound dirtier than it is), and not quite done.  Added 10min pressure, and it is done.   Chopped it into 4 pieces and put under broiler....

Then washed and cut 5lbs of red potatoes in half, added to the stock/juices still in the pot.  Put in 3 whole large peeled carrots, a tablespoon of butter and more salt (for the potatoes).   Into IP for 5 minutes, pressure cook, while chicken broils (broiling it highly recommended by Budget bytes).

OOPS - just read that the directions were for 5 minutes of steaming... oh well..
Total time -- approx 1 hr 20 minutes, start to finish, including trying to break apart / thaw 2 frozen chickens.

Next step - kids / DH taste testing.   DH hates crock pot cooking / chicken, so let's see.  It is looking very very good right now, however.  I think the broiling and lack of boiled / rubbery texture will be key.

Update 3 - CHICKEN RESULTS
Everyone liked the chicken very much.   I would give it at 7.5 / 10.   Needs a bit of broiled sauce on it or something extra, but the taste kicks crockpot to the curb.  DH "tolerates" crockpot meats, but said he would eat this again.  Definitely moister, but the meat still has texture.

Bonus is that a dinner with 1 chicken, and potatoes and carrots with leftovers geneated 1 dirty crockpot and 1 small pan under the broiler for 5 minutes, which will be easy to clean.

Update 4 - TAPIOCA PUDDING

One thing DH loves loves loves is tapioca pudding with large tapioca pearls.  Unfortunately our recipe calls for buying this strange ingredient (getting much harder to find), and soaking it overnight in milk, then boiling gently, THEN making it into an actual cooked pudding.  So he eats home made tapioca about 1x per year.

I thought, hey, may as well try it...!   Found a couple of recipes.

Well, 7 minutes on pressure cook actually worked to eliminate a 12 hour soak and the boil gently part of the recipe. BUT the milk did burn a bit on the bottom so next time I would need to put it into its own bowl to keep away the high heat.   I was able to finish cooking the pudding on saute mode with the egg yolks and sugar without another bowl.   DH was eating tapioca pudding within 20 minutes of my starting to cook it.  I have never tried this in the crockpot because that just seems wrong to cook milk for so long / slow.

Notes -- Definite win for the IP.  Even if I have to rig up a second "steam" bowl.

Update 5 - Hard boiled Eggs

Cooked on trivet, 1cup water, 5 minutes pressure mode, 5 minutes natural release, then ice bowl of water to chill.
Easy to set up, very easy to peel (the membrane under the shell was tougher, though).  I need to adjust this recipe somehow, as I like med/hard cooked eggs, and there is the very start of a grey ring on one yolk (a sign of too long heat dwell).
If I ever need to cook very fresh eggs, this would be the way to do it.. or to try the "steamed" method.  Not sure if you could cook them soft boiled this way for toast soldiers.

Great for large quantities of very fresh eggs like when you are cooking them for community easter egg hunt / breakfast, and only bought them the day before (been there).  The key to this being super easy is that the cooker was already out, waiting on my counter, no getting it out of the pantry...

Notes -- great for a large batch of eggs, or very fresh eggs, not necessarily better or easier for everyday if you don't use farm fresh eggs.

Update 6:  CHICKEN STOCK

Had the chicken last night, so thought to try stock today.   Fast, check,  not scenting up the whole house? Check.  Clear broth? Check.
The clear broth was quite nice.  IP may not over boil the broth.   I only made 6 cups of broth, so it seemed like a small quantity, but easy to set up / clean.

Update 7:  STEAMED PUDDING
I made a Carrot Steamed Pudding.   Saskatchewan style with raisins, nuts, spices, and grated potato.  Used the steam setting for 10 minutes and pressure for 35 minutes.  It was fluffy moist cake and not nearly as dense and moist as I like, so maybe I will try just pressure mode only next time.  Had trouble finding a 6 cup bowl that fits the pot.

Update 8:   Reheating LEFTOVERS
I thought I would take a stab at using the IP instead of the microwave for leftovers, and it worked quite fast.  High pressure for 2 minutes, plus heat up time.  I definitely need to find a way to pull my inner pan out of the large cooking pot.  The pot is deep and hard to grip the smaller pan inside, especially when hot.
   
Notes -- definitely a great option to reheat foods.   Very similar results to microwave, but a few minutes longer, and needs full sized hot mitts.

UPDATE 9:  Butternut squash.

High on for 10 minutes, natural release. Maybe 20 minutes total.
Overcooked, for certain.  Good for mashing.
Better / faster than steamed / boiled on stovetop.  I prefer the taste of roasted.

UPDATE 10:  Kraft Mac and Cheese
With chunks of cheap cheese and frozen peas.

Well, it worked, and the quality after sitting was pretty much KD.  EXCEPT that the cheap cheese block (mozzerella) chunks disintegrated into little bits and gave a curdled look, but not a curdled taste.  We thought we would get melted chunks on noodles, but nope.
Kids liked it. 
....to be continued.....

I think i will write the summary of my results and post that separately.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 06:49:11 PM by Goldielocks »

Ms Ida

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2017, 02:45:30 PM »
Interested in this I just got an Instanta Pot this weekend and I am not entirely sure I wasn't suckered into thinking it would be a big improvement:)

 My first attempt was yogurt and it wasn't that much different than my usual method. I did appreciate that the setting for yogurt brought the milk up to temperature without scorching or me having to keep checking the temperature. I have managed a couple times to forget to check and scorched the milk or had boil overs.

Next weekend will probably be a big batch cooking weekend so I will get a better idea of the benefits.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 02:49:39 PM »

What do you make that works better in the instapot than any other, that you would not give up?  What am I missing here that is worth nearly $100 and counter/storage space?  I have lots of storage, and I don't mind owning appliances that do things I can't do otherwise (e.g. the electric optigrill, a processor, a mixer, blender).

We havent' found anything the instant pot can do that all those other things you mentioned can't also do - for us the benefit has been that it can replace so many other things, often doing them in less time.  The minimalist nature was a big sell for us.

it's faster than a crock-pot, it doubles as a rice cooker (again, in less time - particularly useful for us with brown rice), and while we have made yogurt with a dutch oven and heating pad the instant-pot makes it pretty brainless/effortless.  I also like how you can do some searing with the internal pot - something I couldn'tdo with the crockpot (normaly I had to sear in a frying pan, then transfer all to the crockpot).  We also make a lot of meals and program them to be done when we get home - in that regard its much more reliable than our crock-pot's rather generic "4/8hr" setting choices.
We also do not have a microwave for cooking rice.

If you already have a crock pot, a rice cooker (or like your microwave) and are comfortable with your method of making yogurt and have plenty of storage space you might be better off just buying a conventional pressure-cooker (costs less too).

btw Instant Pot is a brand, as is Fagor.  Ergo Instantpot - Fagor Brand doesn't make a lot of sense.  Collectively they are electric pressure-cookers.
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elaine amj

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2017, 02:54:15 PM »
I like the stock setting. I pressure cook for 2 hours (takes almost 3 hours from start to finish due to coming up to pressure and then coming back down from pressure). Faster than boiling for hours and hours on the stove and having to monitor it. This way, I dump it in, press the button and walk away. Supposedly more nutrients stay in the stock? Also, I don't lose water to steam and everything gets concentrated.

I also use it for yogurt. Its OK for that.

I replaced my aged slow cooker and worn out rice cooker with this. So one less appliance which is nice.

Price difference between this and a good quality stainless steel rice cooker was minimal, so it was almost worth it for this alone.

I actually like my pulled pork in this. Much more tender and juicy with very little work (other than figuring out the right length of time for the size of the meat). My ribs are also so much better. Lovely and tender - I cool them in the instant pot and then on the grill / broil in the oven.

I don't use it for everything though and it's not the miracle appliance it sometimes sounds like.

I like that apparently it keeps more nutrients in my food, that it is stainless steel, and for cooking legumes and meat that usually takes more time.

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Goldielocks

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2017, 02:55:09 PM »
Interested in this I just got an Instanta Pot this weekend and I am not entirely sure I wasn't suckered into thinking it would be a big improvement:)

 My first attempt was yogurt and it wasn't that much different than my usual method. I did appreciate that the setting for yogurt brought the milk up to temperature without scorching or me having to keep checking the temperature. I have managed a couple times to forget to check and scorched the milk or had boil overs.

Next weekend will probably be a big batch cooking weekend so I will get a better idea of the benefits.
I heat my milk in the microwave, in the same glass bowl that I set it store it in....?
Recipe:
Put lots of whole milk into large glass bowl.
 Microwave - thermometer check, microwave - thermometer check - cool to warm, add yogurt, cover with a plate, put in warming drawer set on low for 6-8 hours...  done.

Let me know what you discover...

Goldielocks

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2017, 02:59:33 PM »

What do you make that works better in the instapot than any other, that you would not give up?  What am I missing here that is worth nearly $100 and counter/storage space?  I have lots of storage, and I don't mind owning appliances that do things I can't do otherwise (e.g. the electric optigrill, a processor, a mixer, blender).

We havent' found anything the instant pot can do that all those other things you mentioned can't also do - for us the benefit has been that it can replace so many other things, often doing them in less time.  The minimalist nature was a big sell for us.

it's faster than a crock-pot, it doubles as a rice cooker (again, in less time - particularly useful for us with brown rice), and while we have made yogurt with a dutch oven and heating pad the instant-pot makes it pretty brainless/effortless.  I also like how you can do some searing with the internal pot - something I couldn'tdo with the crockpot (normaly I had to sear in a frying pan, then transfer all to the crockpot).  We also make a lot of meals and program them to be done when we get home - in that regard its much more reliable than our crock-pot's rather generic "4/8hr" setting choices.
We also do not have a microwave for cooking rice.

If you already have a crock pot, a rice cooker (or like your microwave) and are comfortable with your method of making yogurt and have plenty of storage space you might be better off just buying a conventional pressure-cooker (costs less too).

btw Instant Pot is a brand, as is Fagor.  Ergo Instantpot - Fagor Brand doesn't make a lot of sense.  Collectively they are electric pressure-cookers.

Thanks for the update.   I can't imagine not having a microwave, but I use mine for cooking a lot, not just reheating foods.

Onward to try more things.  I will update my OP as I go and try it out.

(BTW,  I know fagor is a different brand, but many here just say "instapot".. my use of the word "version" is imprecise and I will correct)

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2017, 03:11:24 PM »
I heat my milk in the microwave, in the same glass bowl that I set it store it in....?
Recipe:
Put lots of whole milk into large glass bowl.
 Microwave - thermometer check, microwave - thermometer check - cool to warm, add yogurt, cover with a plate, put in warming drawer set on low for 6-8 hours...  done.

Let me know what you discover...

Hi,

I have a Fagor pressure cooker and I've used it for about 25 years (or more precisely, I am on my second Fagor pressure cooker, which I love). Mine does not pretend to be a crockpot or a yogurt maker or anything like that. But it is a dream of a pressure cooker.

I use the pressure cooker a few times a week to make soups of beans and lentils mostly. I don't particularly like the way our bean soups taste in the slow cooker (which suggests to me that either slow cookers are not as good for vegan soups or that I'm just incompetent with them).  I prefer to make seitan stews in a dutch oven. I make tempeh (which is a cultured food) in my oven setting it on the lowest bread proofing temperature. I am now intrigued by the idea of using my slow cooker and a heating pad.

What is a warming drawer?

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2017, 03:19:22 PM »
For me, frozen meat. Ie, whole chicken from frozen, pork roast from frozen. The texture just is way better IMO for shredding. I used crockpots for a long time. Not only do they take longer, a lot more smell and moisture escape. When I lived in a small apartment, this was a massive benefit. Even now though, the texture thing is still a big difference. Being able to dump a mass of frozen chicken thighs in, and like 70 min later have nice shredded chicken to use for the week, is wonderful. The crockpot stuff always ended up more rubbery for me.
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Goldielocks

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2017, 03:20:25 PM »
Warming drawer --

 I have an electric oven / range, and it came with a warming drawer below, where most people just store extra pans.   For me, it is a not fancy metal drawer / box, with a small heating element at the top, inside, that can be set to low, med, med hi and hi.   I use it the "normal" way, for heating plates before serving, or more usually, keeping pancakes and rolls warm before serving, keep gravy warm, etc.   Many would use it to keep a casserole warm while the finishing off something at a high temperature in the oven.

I found that I can use it for bread proofing and yogurt making on low to med setting and it holds a very constant temperature.  My kitchen is too cool in the winter for bread proofing.

Goldielocks

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2017, 03:23:52 PM »
For me, frozen meat. Ie, whole chicken from frozen, pork roast from frozen. The texture just is way better IMO for shredding. I used crockpots for a long time. Not only do they take longer, a lot more smell and moisture escape. When I lived in a small apartment, this was a massive benefit. Even now though, the texture thing is still a big difference. Being able to dump a mass of frozen chicken thighs in, and like 70 min later have nice shredded chicken to use for the week, is wonderful. The crockpot stuff always ended up more rubbery for me.
That's fair -- I have stopped using the crockpot for many reasons, this being a large one.   Crockpot whole chicken is just stewed chicken, really.   I was not delighted with the first pressure cook of the meat.  I will try a frozen chicken next -- I have one.  That should be a real test.  Suggestions on how long to set a whole frozen chicken for?

 I use oven braising/roasting now, but that only works because I am home now to monitor it.

Metta

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2017, 03:25:16 PM »
Warming drawer --

 I have an electric oven / range, and it came with a warming drawer below, where most people just store extra pans.   For me, it is a not fancy metal drawer / box, with a small heating element at the top, inside, that can be set to low, med, med hi and hi.   I use it the "normal" way, for heating plates before serving, or more usually, keeping pancakes and rolls warm before serving, keep gravy warm, etc.   Many would use it to keep a casserole warm while the finishing off something at a high temperature in the oven.

I found that I can use it for bread proofing and yogurt making on low to med setting and it holds a very constant temperature.  My kitchen is too cool in the winter for bread proofing.

Those metal drawers have heating elements in them? How intriguing! I don't have a metal drawer under my oven, so no warming drawer. But my oven has a bread proofing setting and a dehydrate setting and I use both.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2017, 03:33:15 PM »
For me, frozen meat. Ie, whole chicken from frozen, pork roast from frozen. The texture just is way better IMO for shredding. I used crockpots for a long time. Not only do they take longer, a lot more smell and moisture escape. When I lived in a small apartment, this was a massive benefit. Even now though, the texture thing is still a big difference. Being able to dump a mass of frozen chicken thighs in, and like 70 min later have nice shredded chicken to use for the week, is wonderful. The crockpot stuff always ended up more rubbery for me.
That's fair -- I have stopped using the crockpot for many reasons, this being a large one.   Crockpot whole chicken is just stewed chicken, really.   I was not delighted with the first pressure cook of the meat.  I will try a frozen chicken next -- I have one.  That should be a real test.  Suggestions on how long to set a whole frozen chicken for?

 I use oven braising/roasting now, but that only works because I am home now to monitor it.

For me, the functions are different. A whole chicken, for tasty ideal, is oven roasted. Crispy skin that way. Otherwise it's essentially just boiled. But I use my IP to pre-cook for the week. So I'll do a whole chicken covered in water (from frozen, I usually do ~65min I think under high pressure). I pull it out, pull off all the meat, and use it for recipes that need "bigger chunks" of meat like a chicken salad or a rice and pesto chicken bowl. (The thighs are a lot better for true shredded chicken). Then I put the skin and bones BACK into the broth, with veg scraps, and cook another 1-2 hours under high pressure to get an *incredibly* rich broth.

For "eat now" roasts and chickens, I still usually just do them in the oven.

Hope that helps.
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Goldielocks

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2017, 03:35:19 PM »
Warming drawer --

Those metal drawers have heating elements in them? How intriguing! I don't have a metal drawer under my oven, so no warming drawer. But my oven has a bread proofing setting and a dehydrate setting and I use both.
Not all do. It is a feature, like the bread proof / dehydrate settings for the main oven (I have those too).  Look for "warming drawer" button on the stove control panel.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2017, 03:57:03 PM »
Beans in 30 mins
Yogurt
Quick stocks.
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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2017, 04:18:14 PM »
Throughput. If you do batch cooking, electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot are way better than crockpots. Pre-InstantPot, I was a staunch advocate of the crockpot. Theoretically, if you are organized, there should be no benefit, but when time is tight and things change, I love the flexibility to scheduling the pressure cooker brings.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2017, 04:20:35 PM »
Throughput. If you do batch cooking, electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot are way better than crockpots. Pre-InstantPot, I was a staunch advocate of the crockpot. Theoretically, if you are organized, there should be no benefit, but when time is tight and things change, I love the flexibility to scheduling the pressure cooker brings.

Exactly this for me =) When I need to turn out a lot of food (ie, hosted 19 people on christmas last year), between the IP, the induction range, and the oven, we can churn out a truly staggering amount of food, all concurrently, and the IP does shorter batch times for stuff.
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Goldielocks

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2017, 04:50:20 PM »
Throughput. If you do batch cooking, electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot are way better than crockpots. Pre-InstantPot, I was a staunch advocate of the crockpot. Theoretically, if you are organized, there should be no benefit, but when time is tight and things change, I love the flexibility to scheduling the pressure cooker brings.

Exactly this for me =) When I need to turn out a lot of food (ie, hosted 19 people on christmas last year), between the IP, the induction range, and the oven, we can churn out a truly staggering amount of food, all concurrently, and the IP does shorter batch times for stuff.

:-)

This is partly why I have been loaned this one for the next 2 weeks-- technically, it is for the open house party for my MIL that I am hosting here, for up to 40 persons.  (aside - I am a little nervous because she is incharge of the guest list but I am in charge of preparing all food, setup, place, etc).  In the meantime, I am testing it out for family usefulness...
 

sparkytheop

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2017, 06:11:42 PM »
I have mostly used mine for "refried" beans and hard boiled eggs.  I always just did eggs on the stovetop, eggs and water in pot, bring to boil, turn off and let sit 12 minutes, no big deal.  But, the eggs in the IP have peeled so much easier.

Refried beans-- tried them in the crockpot and ended up with hard beans 7+ hours later.  IP-- 40 minutes at pressure + 20 release + whatever the warm up time was, and I have a nice batch of beans ready to be mashed up.

I've made some other things in mine that were good, but those are what I make the most.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2017, 10:23:24 PM »
Posting to follow, as I bought one in a Black Friday sale. It is probably going to mostly replace our crockpot - which belonged to my grandmother, is from the 70s, doesn't actually get all that hot (so longer cooking times are needed) and has an electrical plug on it that I worry isn't safe (seriously? This is how they looked? How are we not all dead from fire?) It is also burnt orange and I kind of love it..... but I'm not comfortable running it when we're not home due to said very unsafe-looking plug. Which is kind of the point of a crockpot....

Anyway, I'm looking forward to trying dried beans in it. I have yet to be successful getting beans with a good texture from the stovetop or the crockpot.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2017, 05:28:48 AM »
Posting to follow, as I bought one in a Black Friday sale. It is probably going to mostly replace our crockpot - which belonged to my grandmother, is from the 70s, doesn't actually get all that hot (so longer cooking times are needed) and has an electrical plug on it that I worry isn't safe (seriously? This is how they looked? How are we not all dead from fire?) It is also burnt orange and I kind of love it..... but I'm not comfortable running it when we're not home due to said very unsafe-looking plug. Which is kind of the point of a crockpot....

Anyway, I'm looking forward to trying dried beans in it. I have yet to be successful getting beans with a good texture from the stovetop or the crockpot.

FWIW, if your plug has a melted/frayed cord or the is damaged, changing it is a very easy thing to do.  You can buy replacement plugs cheap at any hardware store. If you donít want to replace it any electronics repair store will do it for just a few bucks.
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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2017, 05:50:16 AM »
I don't have a crockpot - I've worked ten hour days for years so crockpot meals were always disgusting with the exception of chili. I never had a rice cooker and often burned the bottom of rice on the stove, ha.

For me the things a multi cooker does better than individual pots: frees up storage space having just one appliance. Steamed eggs are better than hard boiled, at least to peel- most of the time I pull the egg shell apart in two pieces, it's fun. Bone broth pressure cooked is superior to slow simmered on the stove top and takes a lot less energy (since I have no crockpot). I can use it as a slow cooker and have for a few stew/chili recipes. I don't eat beans much anymore but I was a fan of pressure cooking from dry beforehand so I'd probably still like them better than stovetop. I also don't have a microwave, so I use the multi cooker for reheating foods pot in pot style, which is more cumbersome on the stovetop. Being able to cook soup and squash in 8 minutes is huge for me and is almost a daily thing in the winter.

Pretty much the only thing I make where I absolutely prefer another method over the multi cooker is cuts of meat that I want to roast low and slow - like pork shoulder or brisket. The texture turns out better in cast iron in the oven.

For you, though, with tried and true methods using other appliances, it may not be as beneficial. For me, it's the one thing I'd want in a kitchen if I could have only one electric using device. I'd take it over the refrigerator.
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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2017, 06:07:21 AM »
I use my electric pressure cooker (Cuisinart cpc-600, not an Instapot) like a chain smoker. That is, I cook a stew in it, good for about 5 meals, then I cook my next stew as soon as I finish that one.

Lentil and split pea based stews cook in 4 minutes. Black and red bean stews 11 minutes. No oil, minimal salt, vegetables are all fresh from the farmers market. No recipe, just putting in what's in season so it's different every time. The flavors mix together. I throw some chopped vegetables, onions, and nuts, salt to taste, on top when I serve and it's amazing every time.

I can't imagine achieving the same results on a stove top. Mixing the flavors and cooking the beans all the way through would take a lot more than 4 to 11 minutes.

Yesterday I cooked bread in it.

I don't like acquiring stuff, but the pressure cooker is one of the best things I've bought. Living in Manhattan, I have hundreds of restaurants within walking distance and the pressure cooker led me to stop eating at restaurants. They're disappointing in comparison.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2017, 07:08:10 AM »

Yesterday I cooked bread in it.


I haven't tried this yet, but I would like to.  Can you share your experience (recipe, outcome, things-to-do-differently)?
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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2017, 07:16:38 AM »
From another group that Iím in, it seems like the people who most love the InstaPot want to come into the kitchen at 5:30, take out a frozen roast, and make pot roast. That works great for them.

I am not that person - I get everything out for dinner in the morning, and I donít make that many pot roasts.Also, I grew up when regular pressure cookers were all the rage, and I didnít love the texture of the food it produced then. Iíve concluded that an InstaPot would not add value to my life.

So, I guess, try it out and see if you like it.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2017, 09:17:24 AM »
Oh, I forgot the other one I LOVE- artichokes! The IP cooks the best artichokes by far in the least amount of time =)
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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2017, 09:22:29 AM »


FWIW, if your plug has a melted/frayed cord or the is damaged, changing it is a very easy thing to do.  You can buy replacement plugs cheap at any hardware store. If you donít want to replace it any electronics repair store will do it for just a few bucks.

Oh, no, the cord's fine - the plug itself is just so tiny! It looks so strange to me but then I guess that's what we used in the 70s? (and yes, I was alive then; I guess I just don't remember?

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2017, 09:50:13 AM »


FWIW, if your plug has a melted/frayed cord or the is damaged, changing it is a very easy thing to do.  You can buy replacement plugs cheap at any hardware store. If you donít want to replace it any electronics repair store will do it for just a few bucks.

Oh, no, the cord's fine - the plug itself is just so tiny! It looks so strange to me but then I guess that's what we used in the 70s? (and yes, I was alive then; I guess I just don't remember?
Even easier - cut it off and replace it with a larger, more modern plug.  Takes about 5 minutes and you need just some wire strippers (substitute a knife) and a screwdriver).  Don't know for sure but I suspect the regulations in the 70s allowed for thinner gauge wires with less insulation.  Whether its 'dangerous' or not I can't say, but if its giving you the heebbie-jebbies just put a new plug on it :-)  Cost will be ~$2.
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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2017, 10:25:57 AM »
I don't like acquiring stuff, but the pressure cooker is one of the best things I've bought. Living in Manhattan, I have hundreds of restaurants within walking distance and the pressure cooker led me to stop eating at restaurants. They're disappointing in comparison.

This was precisely our motive to get a pressure cooker initially. We had little time, very little money, and couldn't safely leave things on the counter to cook for hours when we were gone. The pressure cooker saved our budget by eliminating eating out. It was vegan magic!

BTW, the best thing I did after getting the pressure cooker was to pick up this book (which I still use to this day): "Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure" by Lorna Sass. She also has a version for meat eaters. I think you can find it fairly cheaply from AbeBooks.com

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2017, 12:00:45 PM »
I eat a lot of chicken and rice.

Brown rice = 15 minutes under pressure, sit for 5, done.

Chicken breasts - set Instant Pot to saute, cook 5min/side, put chicken on trivet, add water, pressure cook for 5 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes.

Wash one pot. Done.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2017, 01:24:54 PM »
Metta, thanks for the cookbook suggestion. I just requested it from my library.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2017, 09:24:30 PM »
I don't like my house smelling like pulled pork, or whatever is in the crockpot, for a day afterward.  Also, think about the energy required to run the IP for 35 minutes versus heating the oven for a couple hours for a roast.  My roasts are way superior now that I use the IP, but that's just me being a so-so cook. 

I made a great meatloaf & potatoes in the IP this weekend.  20 minutes to cook then a couple minutes browning the bbq sauce on top under the broiler.  Potatoes in the bottom; loaf up on the trivet. 

Love throwing frozen meatballs, pasta, sauce and water in there and 10 min later having yummy pasta and only one pot to wash.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2017, 09:34:16 PM »
I cook risotto, beef stew, beans and split pea soup in my Instant pot.  The peas are not always cooked thoroughly when I cook the soup on the stove, but were wonderful soft in the IP.  I plan on using it more often as it is nice to load everything in it, and let it cook without my help. 


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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2017, 09:39:45 PM »
We have used a pressure cooker for most of my life to cook beans for Indian food (we're Indian). I wasn't even aware that people cook beans in something other than a pressure-cooker until going to college. Standard steel pressure cookers are much cheaper than an Insta-pot, but obviously don't have timers and other such features. Consider a cheap pressure cooker if you won't use it often.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2017, 01:34:45 AM »
Oh, one other reason I like mine...  It gets well over 100į here for weeks on end, "cooling down" to 90s at night.  Using the IP allows me to keep the oven off for some things.  The AC is already working so hard, I hate to turn on the oven when it is that hot outside.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2017, 06:49:24 AM »
Oh, one other reason I like mine...  It gets well over 100į here for weeks on end, "cooling down" to 90s at night.  Using the IP allows me to keep the oven off for some things.  The AC is already working so hard, I hate to turn on the oven when it is that hot outside.

Oh! Yes, that's me too. The IP gets a ton of use in the winter.

We have used a pressure cooker for most of my life to cook beans for Indian food (we're Indian). I wasn't even aware that people cook beans in something other than a pressure-cooker until going to college. Standard steel pressure cookers are much cheaper than an Insta-pot, but obviously don't have timers and other such features. Consider a cheap pressure cooker if you won't use it often.

This should definitely be considered as an option =) Though, a lot of people who haven't used a pressure cooker before are fairly terrified of them, so the IP being electric and having all sorts of safety features is I think a big reason they're gaining such significant market share right now.
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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #35 on: December 05, 2017, 02:36:45 PM »

Yesterday I cooked bread in it.


I haven't tried this yet, but I would like to.  Can you share your experience (recipe, outcome, things-to-do-differently)?

First the caveats: My pressure-cooked bread tastes delicious to me, but I experiment so my results vary. Most batches wouldn't make it into a bakery.

For one thing, I start with wheat berries that I turn into flour in my blender. I blend some to fine flour so it gets doughy, but some course, which gives more texture and, I hear, lowers the glycemic load or something like that. For another, I add flavors. I started with garlic and onions, then moved to banana, carrot, apple, cocao powder, etc, and various combinations, usually based on what's in season at the farmers market. The one I made over the weekend had banana, cranberry, and ginger.

Here's the recipe I started with, though I use water instead of milk to keep it vegan.

Quote
2 cups (250g) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate baking soda (not baking powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (270g)whole milk plain yogurt (or sour milk, or milk with 1ľ tablespoons of vinegar)

water to cover

Instructions
------------
Oil metal container so bread doesn't stick
Mix everything
Pressure cook high presser 15-20 minutes with 1/2 cup water under the metal container

I've only done soda bread, working my way to yeast.

My metal container happens to be my rice cooker bowl. I don't use the rice cooker any more, but the bowl fits perfectly in the pressure cooker.

These pages have pictures that helped, although my bread is much more grainy and brown:


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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #36 on: December 07, 2017, 06:50:42 PM »
I eat a lot of chicken and rice.

Brown rice = 15 minutes under pressure, sit for 5, done.

Chicken breasts - set Instant Pot to saute, cook 5min/side, put chicken on trivet, add water, pressure cook for 5 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes.

Wash one pot. Done.

This "one pot" is the thing I don't understand about Instapots. Do you cook the rice, then it sits in a serving dish while you cook the chicken? Or do you add the chicken to the rice in the pot and keep cooking?

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2017, 09:54:57 PM »
I use my multiple Instant Pots constantly.

The set and forget part is key for me.  I often get something started then leave for the gym or barn and it's done and on warm when I get back.

Braised collards come out great.  Stovetop takes too long and I'd probably  scorch them in regular pressure cooker.

Also, pressure steamed potatoes are fantastic.  They get soft and fluffy inside.

I've quit buying canned beans since going IP.

Another bonus is that you can slow cook, and if your food isn't done when you want it, just switch to pressure cook for a few minutes and good to go.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 08:55:12 AM by horsepoor »

Abe

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2017, 09:56:20 PM »
Oh, one other reason I like mine...  It gets well over 100į here for weeks on end, "cooling down" to 90s at night.  Using the IP allows me to keep the oven off for some things.  The AC is already working so hard, I hate to turn on the oven when it is that hot outside.

Oh! Yes, that's me too. The IP gets a ton of use in the winter.

We have used a pressure cooker for most of my life to cook beans for Indian food (we're Indian). I wasn't even aware that people cook beans in something other than a pressure-cooker until going to college. Standard steel pressure cookers are much cheaper than an Insta-pot, but obviously don't have timers and other such features. Consider a cheap pressure cooker if you won't use it often.

This should definitely be considered as an option =) Though, a lot of people who haven't used a pressure cooker before are fairly terrified of them, so the IP being electric and having all sorts of safety features is I think a big reason they're gaining such significant market share right now.

That's a good point. The first time I used one I was scared my house would explode, but well-built German or US ones are very reliable. My wife is super excited about the Instapot, so am happy using that instead.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2017, 10:24:07 PM »
I got mine a year ago and still love it. But more for the leave it and forget it while cooking than speeding up cooking. With young kids hands off cooking is great.

All the things mentioned above but also ribs were really good.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #40 on: December 08, 2017, 01:06:38 AM »
Oh, I forgot the other one I LOVE- artichokes! The IP cooks the best artichokes by far in the least amount of time =)

Will definitely have to try artichokes. I can never seem to figure out the right time and have undercooked or over cooked artichokes.

I made pork loin and sauerkraut last night. The pork turned out pretty good, I usually over cook so this was improvement, and the sauerkraut was really good. I used homemade kraut that was pretty crunchy and it came out with a very soft silky texture that was different from what I am used to but was a big hit.
It took a few minutes to brown the pork, and few more to get to pressure, and 15 minutes of cooking. I forgot to watch how long the pressure took to reduce  but altogether I was finished in under an hour. Not really a big time savings over my usual cooking method but still enjoyed the results.

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #41 on: December 08, 2017, 11:41:48 AM »
Indian kidney beans:

1/2 pound of kidney beans, can either soak overnight or do a quick soak
Pressure cook this on high pressure for 40 minutes
In the mean time, start cooking rice (I use a rice cooker)
While those are working, cook two tomatoes (or 3/4 can tomato sauce), 1/2 of a large onion. Once they are soft, add the following (amounts vary according to taste):
1.5 tablespoon tumeric
1 tablespoon cardamom seeds (ground or not)
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 stick of cinnamon
Cook on medium heat (don't boil) for another 10 minutes or until the tomato is really squishy.

The above is called "garam masala" - basically some combination of those spices in varying quantities.

Let the instapot or pressure/cooker cool down (slow release) to avoid hurting yourself.

Drain the water out from the kidney beans, add them to the other stuff.
This provides about 3-4 servings.

Total cost: $4 max
Kidney beans: $1.50
Spices (from Indian store): $1 or less
Tomato and onion: $1
Rice: a few cents

When you go to an Indian restaurant, you're definitely paying for the labor, not the food cost!!

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #42 on: December 08, 2017, 06:58:07 PM »
My friend was regaling me yesterday with all the reasons they love their InstaPot, now I'm definitely considering getting one.  Posting to follow.
Their #1 reason was  cooking a dozen eggs that are quick to peel (he's a weightlifter).

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #43 on: December 08, 2017, 07:40:27 PM »
I was also in the not sure I need another thing that does the things other things do category, but I heard a radio interview  with Melissa Clark from NYT yesterday and now I kind of want one! She has a new cookbook out with some great sounding recipes. I believe some can be found on the NYT app.


https://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Instant-Recipes-Pressure-Multicooker/dp/1524762962

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #44 on: December 09, 2017, 01:42:28 AM »
Summary Results!

The short version -- I had fun using this loan of a a 8qt Fagor Brand Pressure cooker with control panel, but I won't be buying one.

It is very very fast, and cooks beans, tapioca, and likely soups and stews faster and better than any other method.
It needs to be left on the counter to get the best  / easiest use out of it.  I won't because it is huge.
The ease and speed is similar to a microwave, except it can cook a greater volume of food at one time.  If you don't have a microwave, you will probably love this, I know I would.
I highly recommend the automatic control panel (set it and go), and a size at least 4QT so you can do a whole cut up chicken or soups in it.
I honestly did not prefer the food quality for most other items, but it is truly much better than a crockpot.
This size of machine costs $200 (after tax, but on sale right now). 

Attached is my summary result table from less than one week of trial with a 8qt Pressure Cooker (similar to Instapot).

Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions on what works for you and what to try.  You were right, and my mind was changed after taking your suggestions. 
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 01:47:10 AM by Goldielocks »

elaine amj

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #45 on: December 09, 2017, 06:21:06 AM »
Very very detailed analysis :) Good for you for giving it a go with an open mind!

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Re: Instapot Discsussion
« Reply #46 on: December 09, 2017, 06:24:51 AM »
Interesting thread.  Thanks for the summary.  Now please, fix the misspelling in the subject line! ;-)
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Re: Instapot Discussion
« Reply #47 on: December 09, 2017, 06:50:14 PM »
Nereo -- what typo?

LOL,  I am on to you, and your love of all things precise.   :-)

nereo

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Re: Instapot Discussion
« Reply #48 on: December 10, 2017, 06:25:21 AM »
Nereo -- what typo?

LOL,  I am on to you, and your love of all things precise.   :-)
I'm a scientist.  Imprecise science is just conjecture.
:-)
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