Understanding The instant pot
What is the 8 Quart Instant Pot?
The basic 8 Qt Instant Pot comes with the unit itself, a lid, an interior pot, a plastic piece to collect condensation, a trivet and utensils. Assembling the unit is very intuitive, you plug in the power cord, place the interior pot into the Instant Pot, place the lid on top, and you are good to go. You will find the spot for the condensation collector to slide into place on the back of the Instant Pot, near the base. In general, you will not see much condensation collect back here when cooking with the best 8 Qt Instant Pot; it is only for heavy flow scenarios.
The lid of the 8Qt Instant Pot warrants a closer look as you will frequently be dealing with the steamer function which will, in turn, require caution as the steam will easily be hot enough to cause burns that may not be serious, but will certainly be painful. To lock the lid, you are going to move the steam release handle into the sealing position. The top of the lid also features a float valve that pushes up from inside of the lid. This valve will be down when the Instant Pot is not at a maximum pressure which Servings as a visual indicator as to if it is safe to open or not.
Inside of the lid you will see where the float valve connects, along with the exhaust valve which is covered to keep it working properly. You will want to practice removing the covering of the exhaust valve before you use the Instant Pot to ensure you know what you are doing before it needs cleaning. Regular cleaning of the exhaust valve is key to ensuring your Instant Pot remains at peak functionality. Occasionally, you will also need to clean the float valve, to do so you will need to remove the silicone covering beforehand, it should come off easily as long as it is cleaned regularly.
The inside of the lid also features a sealing ring, which sits on a metal rack that can also be removed for cleaning purposes. It is important to be extremely careful with this sealing ring as if it is stretched or altered in any way, it will be impossible for the 8 Qt Instant Pot to generate a reliable seal, severely limiting its versatility. The lid can also be propped open by simply inserting one of the fins into the notch in the handle on the base of the Instant Pot.
To close the Instant Pot securely, all you need to do is to place the lid on the unit so the arrows on the cooker and the arrows on the lid line up. Turning the lid will then align the arrow on the lid to align with the closed lock picture on the base. This will require a clockwise movement and will be accompanied by a chime if the unit is plugged in. Opening the Instant Pot requires a counterclockwise movement and will also be accompanied by a chime if the unit is plugged in.
If you have not yet used your Instant Pot to steam cook something, it is important that you first complete the water test to ensure the unit is not defective. This test will also serve to familiarize yourself somewhat with the controls.
For starters, you will want to make sure the inner pot is properly situated in the Instant Pot. With it properly seated you will want to add 3 cups of water to the inner pot. Close the Instant, Pot, taking care to listen for the chime, before pressing the steam button, followed by setting the unit for 2 minutes by pressing the minus button until the display reads 2.
If done correctly, the unit will shift to a display reading “on”, up until the point cooking pressure is reached. Once this occurs, the float valve will engage, and the display will shift to show the amount of time remaining until the meal is ready. All told, this process will take about 5 minutes and may be accompanied by a noticeably plastic smell. If this occurs, complete the rest of the process and run through it a second time, the smell should not occur the second time.
Once the unit has finished cooking, you will hear a beep, and the Instant Pot will switch into standby mode which will keep your meal warm. If this mode is activated, you will see an L followed by an increasing timer that shows how long this mode has been engaged. This mode will remain active for 14 hours. To cancel this mode, you simply push the cancel button.
Remember, as long as the float valve is in place you won’t be able to open the Instant Pot. To open it successfully you will either need to manually release the built-up steam, known as a quick release or wait for the float valve release on its own, known as a natural release. A natural release can take up to 30 minutes depending on the length of time the pressure was maintained.
How the best 8 Qt Instant Pot Works
The Instant Pot looks like any other regular pot or pressure cooker. But there are a few definitive differences. The Instant Pot has a modified lid which that creates a seal on the pot by locking on over a rubber gasket. With this sealing, the cooker traps the heat and raises the temperature of the boiling water. That’s what speeds up the boiling, braising, or steaming of water.
You need to add a minimum of one cup of water or other liquid to the food you intend cooking in the pressure cooker in order to produce sufficient steam pressure. As the high heat is applied the pressure trapped in the pot that cannot escape because the lid is locked in place, the atmospheric pressure inside the cooker will increase by 15 psi.
Once this pressure is increased by 15 pounds above the normal sea level, the water boiling point goes to 212°F to 250°F. And the higher the temperature, the faster the food cooks. But there are electric pressure cookers that have a lower setting than 15 psi. You can use a lower setting like 10 or 11 psi, which is about 235°F for delicate foods. There are pressure cookers that you can program to graduate from the low temperature that you use to soak beans and whole grains, to higher temperatures that you cook on.
There usually is a gauge or a pop-up rod on top of the lid that gives an indication when the pot has reached the full pressure. The release valve is opened and allows the steam out in a regulated flow. This helps to maintain the pot’s constant pressure.
In summary, the Instant Pot works with steam pressure. As a sealed pot that traps a lot of steam, it builds up high pressure when being heated and this is what cooks your food faster. There are two basic effects of this pressure steam. First, it raises the boiling point of the water in the pot from the maximum 212°F in a regular pot to the as high as 250°F. The second effect is that the pressure forces liquid and moisture into your food more quickly and keeps it there. This also contributes to the speed of cooking. An extra effect of the extra-high heat is that it aids browning or caramelizing excellently.
How to Use the Buttons on the instant pot
Keep Warm/Cancel Button This button is pretty self-explanatory. You press this button to either cancel a cooking function or if you want to switch off your Instant Pot. You may also click on the Adjust button to increase & even reduce the heat of the Pot.
Sauté Button This function is to sauté your ingredients in the pot, just as how you sauté things in a pot. You may also click the Adjust button & Sauté button for more charring & to a simmer, you press the Adjust & Sauté button twice.
Manual Button This button has an all-purpose function. If your recipe mentions cooking on high-pressure for a specific cook time-use this button. You may adjust the cooking time with the ‘+’ or ‘-indicators. There are also pre-set buttons that you may use instead of the manual one. A lot of pressure-cooking recipes already come with Directions: on how many hours & minutes you need to cook a meal for. But with the Instant Cooker Pot, it makes your life easier if in the event you don’t have any available recipes or if you want to build or make something from scratch. The preset buttons guide you into determining the amount of time needed for an individual meal.
Here’s a list of these buttons & what they may do for pressure cooking: To make soup For tasty soups, pressure-cook them on high for half hour cook time. All you need to do is put all your ingredients in the pot, press the ‘Soup’ time & the ‘Adjust’ button once (more) increase cook time to forty minutes. If you want to cook for 20 minutes, press ‘Soup’ & ‘Adjust’ twice (less) to cook for less time. No more slaving over the stove to make the perfect soup.
For meat & stews High-pressure cook time is required for thirty-five minutes for stews & meats, so the meat drops off the bone. To adjust more, click on Adjust more to cook for forty-five minutes & to cook less, adjust less to cook for twenty minutes.
For Beans & Chili Thirty-minute cook time on high-pressure is required. To add more time, press ‘Adjust’ ‘+’ to increase to forty-five minutes & ‘- ‘to decrease to twenty-five minutes. The Instant Pot cuts the time in half when making chili.
For Poultry You want the meat tender but not too flaky, so the cook time for this is fifteen minutes of high pressure. Of course, you may adjust to a halt hour cook time with ‘+’ or twenty-five-minute cook time with ‘-.’
For Rice. Too much water & its lumpy & too little water will make your rice undercooked & dry. The rice function is the only fully automatic programming on the Instant Pot Cooker. The electronic programming adjusts cooking time depending on the ratio of water & rice that you put in the cooking pot.
For Multi-Grain Ideal to be cooked on high pressure for 42 minutes
Cook time. If you need to soak them, & then adjust the timer to 46 minutes soaking & 1 hour cook time.
For Porridge & Congee The texture you’re looking for is soft & somewhat lumpy. Cook on high pressure for 22 minutes. To add more tie, press Adjust ‘+’ to cook for half hour. For less adjust ‘-for 17 min cook time.
For Steaming Use a steamer basket or a rack for this function because you want to prevent the food from having to touch the bottom of the pot when it heats at full power. You may cook on high pressure for just ten minutes. Once the pot reaches the desired pressure, the steam button automatically regulates pressure. Use the ‘+’ or ‘-buttons to adjust cook time or use the Pressure button to change the fixed timing for lower or higher temperature.
Apart from the buttons above, you also have on your Instant Pot Cooker: The Instant Pot switch which is set to default to 4-hour slow cooking time.
You may adjust the buttons to slow cook at 192 – 212-degree Fahrenheit for low pressure, 195 to 206-degree Fahrenheit to normal pressure & 198 – 212-degree Fahrenheit for high pressure. Again use, the “+” & “-” buttons to adjust the cooking time accordingly to your desired doneness.
The Pressure button which switches to low or high pressure.
The Yogurt button to make amazing homemade yogurt & may be set to low or high pressure.
The Timer button which is ideal for delayed cooking. Depending on what you’re cooking, you need to select a cooking function 1st & the make the necessary adjustments. Next, press the timer button & the adjust button to set more or less cook time with then “+” & “-” buttons.
Benefits an 8 Qt instant pot
An instant pot uses pressure and heat; it will take a much shorter time to cook foods through completely. For example, if you use an oven to bake a chicken, it may take an hour. However, with an Instant Pot, you may only need 20 minutes or less to do the same job.
Using the instant pot is as easy as pressing a few buttons. No more complicated recipes that take you forever to read through and then just as long to make. Now the instant pot does all the work for you.
With so many different instant pot functions you can make different and exciting dishes every night of the week. Creamy soups, delicious stews, juicy roasts, and screamer vegetables. No matter what you’re craving.
The instant pot lets you safely cook healthy meals. By pressure cooking at high temperature, food cooks in its juices, keeping both flavors and nutrients right in the pot. When you’re focusing on eating right, cooking for two has never been so easy the instant pot is completely safe to use. When food is prepared, the instant pot automatically releases pressure to lower the temperature. Or you can control the pressure by using the release valve.
Helping to preserve the food’s taste and appearance
Oxygen and excessive heat that the foods get exposed to can alter the tastes and dull the colors of your food when you cook in open containers. This will happen even when you use containers with a lid but that are not airtight. But the pressure cooker doesn’t let in oxygen. The steam cooking will thus help retain the food’s brightness of colors and phytochemicals. And flavors will develop faster and more profoundly.
It cooks consistently
Again, thanks to the intelligent programming, it cooks consistently regardless of the volume of food. For instance, the duration for the cooking of one egg is the same with the cooking of one dozen of eggs. The only difference is the quantity of water.
Saving Time & Energy
Food can be cooked much faster by pressure-cooking than by any other method of cooking. An Instant Pot can help you in reducing the time of your cooking by 70% when compared to the other methods of cooking. Since much less water is made use of in cooking and it is cooked in a fully insulated pot, much less energy is required as well when compared to any other cooking technique like boiling or steaming while cooking on a stove top. An Instant Pot will help you in saving energy when compared to microwave.