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TP Lowe

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Instant Pot - what do you think?

by TP Lowe » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:44 am

I'm generally against all-things-instant, but this kitchen device seems to get a lot of kudos. What do you think? What is the real value - just time saved?
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Robin Garr

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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by Robin Garr » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:46 pm

TP, good question! I guess the best way to put it is that I like it, but I don't love it the way some people do, and I think that's because I like to cook. If I didn't like to cook, I might use it every day as a labor-saving device. As it is, I use it two or three times a week because it saves effort on busy nights.

It may be best of all as a bean cooker. I get heirloom dry beans from RanchoGordo.com, and find that the Instant Pot makes them slightly faster, but far better, than any other method I've tried.

I like it okay for cooking rice. It makes an interesting "baked" (actually pressure-steamed) potato in a fraction of the time it takes to bake one. You don't get crispy skin, but you do get an amazing creamy texture.

I use it now and then for dinner-in-a-dish recipes - Indian curries, Cajun gumbos - where I use its saute function to brown veggies and aromatics, then add tomatoes and liquid and pressure-cook.

I like it for its simplicity, a single (large) pot that simplifies cleanup. Despite the moniker "Instant," it's not quite as much of a time-saver as you might think, because it takes it time to build up pressure and more time to cool down before and after the timed cooking period.

I'd like to make yogurt some time, starting with a base of organic milk and Brown Cow (yum!) plain yogurt, but that's kind of time-consuming, and I haven't gotten around to it yet.

And it's not small, so if you decide to get one, it's good to have a plan to store it in a convenient place where you can easily grab it when you want to use it.

Bottom line, I'm glad I have it, but also glad that I got it on an Amazon Prime Day deal. I'm happy at $75, but might feel a little more buyer's remorse at full retail.

So, a praise but not quite a rave.
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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by TP Lowe » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:56 pm

Robin, thanks for that. Like you, I enjoy cooking, but I also might do better at healthy meals if I cooked a bit more on weeknights. This may be a solution to doing so.
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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by Robin Garr » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:53 pm

TP Lowe wrote:Robin, thanks for that. Like you, I enjoy cooking, but I also might do better at healthy meals if I cooked a bit more on weeknights. This may be a solution to doing so.

It's definitely a labor-savor for one-dish meals. Saute in the pot, add a little liquid, slam on the lid and run the pressure for, generally, five to 15 minutes. It's geeky enough to be entertaining, but on the right recipes, it saves a few steps and some pans to wash. A good thing. Plus, during the warm-up/pressure/cooldown stage, which may run a half-hour or so, you can safely ignore it completely and be doing other stuff. That is very nice ...
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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by Steve A » Sun Oct 01, 2017 11:55 am

I approach this as a frugal systems guy.

The branded instant pot advertises itself as performing seven functions, in their words: "Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté, Steamer, and Warmer."

I suppose the instant pot makes sense if you don't have kitchen space or already own any of the other items.

Of all those items on the list, the only one we don't already have is the pressure cooker. We have at least two slow cookers that I know of. One of them is well over 30 years old, with a stylish brown crock and avocado-colored exterior. We bought a rice cooker/steamer last year for around 20 bucks. For sauté we use something called a "frying pan", and for a warmer we have various pots and pans and a nuker.

It's nice to have discrete appliances for times when you want to do something like have a hunk of meat in the slow cooker, rice in the rice cooker, and a vegetable sauté-ing away on the stove.

If you only have one appliance to do all those things and that one appliance breaks, you lose all of the functions of that device.

Or, you can just go out for dinner :wink:
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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by Robin Garr » Sun Oct 01, 2017 1:16 pm

Steve A wrote:I suppose the instant pot makes sense if you don't have kitchen space or already own any of the other items.

Good points, Steve. In fact, though, we did not have a pressure cooker, slow cooker or rice cooker, so that combo made the Instant Pot (for cheap on Prime Day) a more interesting option. Also, although I can certainly sauté and warm with my existing tools, it's handy to have those features all-in-own. So, for instance, sauté onions, green peppers, celery, and garlic, then add chopped tomatoes and okra and some spices, slam on the lid, put it over to pressure for a few minutes, then leave it to warm until dinner's ready, without having to give it much attention at all.

Or, you can just go out for dinner :wink:

Always an option! :mrgreen:
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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by TP Lowe » Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:05 pm

I've never owned a rice cooker (I find rice incredibly easy to get "right") but I plead guilty to the slow cooker. We have a pressure cooker but I think we're scared to even try to use it, so Instant might be a good option.
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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by Alanna H » Sun Oct 01, 2017 3:36 pm

I love my IP! I like being able to put frozen meat in and have a meal ready in an hour. No more going out to eat becaus I forgot to take chicken out to thaw two days ago, and no more losing money because I have to throw out the thawed meat I never got around to using.

I find my food has a lot more flavor than when I've cooked the same thing all day long in a crockpot.

I can follow the hell out of a recipe, but I can't just throw things together and make something yummy. To me, cooking is like art and I am not an artist, lol! I can't paint or draw, but give me a coloring book and crayons and I'm happy. Same with cooking- give me a recipe to follow and I'm good. I do enjoy cooking, but sometimes (a lot of times) I simply don't have the time to figure out a doable recipe, buy and prepare all the ingredients, and get to cooking. IP saves the day for me!
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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by Deb Hall » Sat Oct 28, 2017 3:23 pm

I really cook, and love my Instant Pot- for some things. Like Robin, mine gets used excessively for perfect brown rice and dried beans. I've been loving it for single pot meals too- chili, Butter chicken, Indian foods, risotto and the wonderful Kalua pork from Nom Nom Paleo. Now that the weather has turned I expect I will be using it even more.
For me the biggest advantages are some speed advantage, but mostly 1) easy cleanup as most things in one pot, and 2) being able to start the food walking in the door, and walk away! I can sit, have a glass of wine, review homework, etc with no watching over the food; most recipes done in 40 minutes between come to pressure and cook.
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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by Carla G » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:51 pm

The woman I work for loves hers to the point she opted for the larger version and gave me her small one. She uses hers almost every night and it serves her well for her paleo diet.

Like Robin says, it’s good for some, not for others, not always time saving but when it is it really is. ( Like for beans. From unsoaked beans to marvelous soup with a ham hock in less than 40 minutes.) I even -Note!! All BBQ aficionados cover your eyes because this will be sacrilege to you - put in a rack of ribs for 25 minutes, removed them, sauced them then ran them under a broiler for 5-10 minutes and they were done. As good as slow cooked ribs? Nope, but very good still if you’re in a hurry .

It’s a large piece of equipment however and had I not been given one I doubt I would have bought one for just that reason alone. It’s a bear to store in a small condo.
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Re: Instant Pot - what do you think?

by Margie L » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:02 pm

I have a slow cooker and an electric pressure cooker. I'm thinking about getting an Instant Pot just to save the counter space.

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