Cooking under pressure
Tuesday evening, I had a delightful time at the Coshocton Public Library demonstrating meals in an electric multi-cooker.
Not heard of that? You are most likely familiar with the popular brand name Instant Pot. Not all electric multi-cookers are Instant Pot brand, but most people refer to them as such. They are a versatile kitchen appliance offering several cooking methods all in one convenient pot.
It was a great group of engaged participants who were eager to try spaghetti squash, quinoa with vegetables and chocolate lava cake — all made in electric multi-cookers. If you are thinking about purchasing one to use, or if you rarely use yours, here are a few helpful hints compliments of OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Educator Chris Kendle.
Buttons: Though there are lots of buttons to choose from, the most common button you will use on the electric multi-cooker is the manual pressure-cooking button. It gives us control to cook precisely and accurately. If a recipe states “cook at high pressure for 10 minutes” press the manual button and change the cooking time to 10 minutes by pressing - button or + button.
More buttons: The joy of the electric multi-cooker is that you can sauté vegetables or brown meats just like you would in a skillet or pan. In fact, all the cooking for a meal can be done in the same inner pot. After sautéing veggies with the sauté setting, add remaining ingredients for a pressure-cooking dish. Then use the manual pressure-cooking button. Once it’s done, press the keep warm button to keep the food warm until your family is ready to eat it.
Know the time: When you use the pressure-cooking function on a unit, it will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure. That means if your recipe calls for 20 minutes at high pressure, then the total cooking time will be about 30 minutes (10 minutes to come to pressure, plus 20 minutes for actual cooking time). You may even need to add another five minutes to the end of the cooking time to allow for de-pressurizing. Use a half to one cup of liquid in the inner pot when pressure cooking.
Releasing the pressure: Know how to use natural pressure release (NPR) vs. quick release (QR). Once your unit is done, it will beep and usually begins counting up in minutes on the display screen. Depending on the recipe, you will need to implement a natural pressure release or quick release. Some recipes, like with meat or chicken, call for NPR to keep the meat tender. Other foods like steamed vegetables use the QR to keep it from getting soggy. Avoid using QR with meals that have large liquid volume or high starch content (soup, porridge, etc.) as food may splatter out from the pressure release valve.
Check for safety: The silicone sealing ring deforms over time. Develop the habit to check every time if the sealing ring is properly sealed before pressure cooking. It is recommended to replace the sealing ring every 18 to 24 months or when you notice deformations. Also check your vents to ensure they are clean and have no food clogging openings.
I’ll also note that these units are not recommended for pressure canning. If you have questions about electric multi-cookers or are looking for new recipes to try, please contact the OSU Extension Office for more information.
Today I’ll leave you a quote from Peter Marshall: “When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.”
Emily Marrison is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 740-622-2265.
This article originally appeared on Coshocton Tribune: Cooking under pressure