I finally tried out an electric pressure cooker and I kinda liked it! I’m still trying to decide if I would use one enough to warrant buying one. I have a small kitchen in a small house, and I have slowly but surely been eliminating stuff we don’t need. So adding another appliance is a huge decision.
Sorry about the awful pictures. I ordered a new phone with a better camera.
When I was growing up, my Mom worked full-time and she used her stove top pressure cooker a lot to get dinner on the table after work before I was old enough to cook. I have a simpler stove top pressure cooker than Mom had, but it still kind of scares me. Mostly because I don’t have enough experience with it.
But I have gotten pretty good at using my pressure cooker for beans and rice. I just couldn’t venture too far from the kitchen, because the kitchen timer has to be set when it reaches pressure, then when the pressure time is up, I have to manually turn off the stove burner. Still not brave enough to try cooking a meal, though. Now it’s mainly for fear of wasting the food if it doesn’t turn out and less about an exploding cooker.
But I’ll be attempting a meal in an electric pressure cooker soon. Very soon.
Anyway….one of my friends has an electric pressure cooker, so I borrowed it and went on a cooking frenzy recently. It wasn’t the Instant Pot brand, but it looked pretty similar with the same buttons. I wasn’t concerned about the brand as much as I was about the process, wanting to see for myself what all the rage was about Instant Pots. Especially since I started blogging a year ago, and Instant Pot meals are so popular. I figured I better start adding some Instant Pot meals to my blog to keep up with the times.
I decided to start with some basics . . . just to get my feet wet, so to speak. I did a couple of practice runs with black beans to figure out the pot, when I wanted to make my Slow Cooker Autumn Chili. The worst part was figuring out the exact position for the pressure release lever on top. It took three times to figure out the exact spot to get the beans cooked.
I love having cooked staples in the freezer. Dry beans and rice are super cheap and will generally make about 5 cups of cooked for each 1 pound of the dry product. With the beans, that’s the equivalent of 3 cans. I can use cooked beans and rice in so many different dishes.
I found a variety of cooking instructions for beans and rice on Pinterest. Evidently, the directions I used were for meal size portions and not for stocking the freezer, because the yields were pretty low. If yours has specific instructions for larger quantities, that’s wonderful. The cooker I used just said don’t go over a specific line with beans and water.
But I’m happy with my first run. I did get a nice variety of cooked staples for the freezer that I will easily use within a month’s time. When I get my own electric pressure cooker, I will figure out how to make full pots of both the beans and rice. They’ll keep in the freezer up to a year. Not that they will stay in there that long , since I use them so often.
Each of my freezer packages listed below were about 2 cups each:
- 5 brown rice
- 2 white rice
- 2 black beans
- 2 butter beans
- 3 kidney beans
The directions are pretty simple and pretty much the same for each electric pressure cooker brand. The beans or rice are rinsed, drained and then put in the pressure cooker with the appropriate amount of water, make sure the pressure release lever is in the correct position, and then hit the button to start. Super easy and a lot less stressful for me than a stove top pressure cooker.
The directions below are aimed more at cooking for a meal. To put some in the freezer, calculate what you can safely cook in your electric pressure cooker according to the instruction booklet. Be sure to let the beans or rice cool completely before freezing.
Instant Pot Beans
The basic formula for beans is 2 cups dry beans to 4 cups water. I used the no-soak method, and had no issues at all with the quality of the cooked beans. After rinsing and draining, put them in the inner pot with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of cooking oil, if desired. The most common beans are cooked for 20-25 minutes, letting the pressure naturally release.
Beans will double in size, so 2 cups of dry beans will make about 4 cups of cooked beans, which is about 8 servings.
Instant Pot White Rice
The basic formula for white rice is 2 cups rice to 2 cups water for 4 – 5 servings. After rinsing and draining, put the rice in the inner pot with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of cooking oil, if desired. The best cooking time for white rice is 12 minutes, letting the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then manually release the rest of the pressure before opening. Fluff the rice with a fork.
Instant Pot Brown Rice
Brown rice is a little different. The ratio is 2 cups brown rice to 2 1/2 cups water. Just like above directions for white rice: after rinsing and draining, put the rice in the inner pot with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of cooking oil, if desired.
The cooking time is also different. Program the electric pressure cooker manually for 23 minutes on high, letting the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then manually release the rest of the pressure before opening. Fluff the rice with a fork.
Well, once I figured the pressure release lever, it was a breeze to use. I love the easy push button menu, so I don’t have to look up the time for every food I want to cook. Each pot of beans and rice turned out perfect. No mess, no draining and easy to clean up!
Since some come with a slow cooker function, I could eliminate one of my slow cookers. Some even have a yogurt feature. I also found out that Instant Pot now has a canning feature. I imagine that would be perfect for my small household, since I don’t do a lot of canning anymore, and I could replace my large Presto Pressure Canner.
So, YES, I am going to buy an electric pressure cooker. I just can’t decide which one. I was leaning toward this really nice Instant Pot in the 6 quart size, but it doesn’t have the canning feature. It has a 4.5 star rating. Then I found this one by Mueller. It features 10 programs and has everything I want, including yogurt maker, canning & multi-grain buttons, plus it has a 5 star rating.
Is there an electric pressure cooker on your Wish List?