Especially for the holiday cooking craze!
You know how they say that changing your life is quite simple, but it's not easy? Plus it can take some significant time and resources?
Well... mine changed pretty quickly and relatively easy (if lining up for almost an hour to cash out a Black Friday deal feels like a breeze to you) and it only costed me $69.99. Plus tax, of course. This is Canada after all...
Meet The new love of my life!
...and if you think I am overreacting, I think I will make you to change your mind by the end of this post...
It took me a while to convince myself that a pressure cooker can be a tool safe to use in the kitchen. I may be adventurous in my cooking, but somehow all things "pressure" do not sit well with me. Even though I know my way around compressors and power tools (another story).
I am not sure if it was the itch of picking up a good deal or a perfect alignment of the universe (angel choirs...lol). Whatever it was, I have been a VERY satisfied customer of Instant Pot brand since that Black Friday and here are my top 5 reasons why:
1. This little thing can cook meat in about 15 minutes. From frozen!!
I used to rave about my slow cooker and how easy it is to dump all the ingredients, push a button (three, technically speaking) and forget about it. 4 hours later we'd enjoy our meal. All cute and cuddly, but... sometimes all you have is 30 minutes and with starving kids you have to think quick. And cook even quicker!
I have tried a few types and cuts of meat in my Instant Pot by now and I heard no complaints so far. I literally took out frozen, unseasoned chicken wings from the freezer, rinsed them quickly under running water (my thing, I always rinse meats) placed them in the pressure cooker, seasoned with some salt and pepper and added about 1/2 cup of water. 1 button push, couple of beeps and 20 minutes later (15 minutes was the cooking time) I had them cooked just the way I like them - falling off the bones. Quick coating of sauce and dinner was sorted! Not only that - those cooking liquid served as an amazing base for a soup right after!
What I absolutely LOVE about its speed is that I can have my bone broth ready in about 30 minutes and either use it right away as is or freeze as my "bouillon cubes", or... cook up something else with it!
2. It literally takes one push of a button to start cooking!
A life-saving tool if you are not big on prepping things in advance! It's totally cool to pull out a whole frozen chicken and have it ready on the table in about 40-50 minutes (depending on the size of your bird) selecting a "Poultry" function. Throw in your seasonings and veggies and you can have your gravy done at the same time. No brainer, really! For a soup - I have tried a couple of soups that traditionally would take about 1.5 hrs (frozen meat plus grains and veg) and it took 25 minutes of cooking time to have the meat tender and the rest of stuff cooked to perfection. A vegetarian soup (sprouted beans and veg) took only about 10 minutes of cooking time! With pre-programmed functions for majority of your cooking needs (from stews and grains to steaming your veg and even making yoghurt!!), this machine makes it dead easy to cook up a meal even for the most "kitchen-challenged" cooks around.
And if for some reason you still miss the "low'n'slow" approach, there is a button for that too. 😉
3. It can also make things more flavourful
Another big advantage over the slow cooker - you can sear your meats and veg right in the same pot when using the "Sauté" function. Sometimes this function can be quite important if you like your meats browned first for additional layer of deliciousness. I used it couple of times (once for meat and once to sauté vegetables) and in both instances, I was happy how quickly it heated up and how quickly the job was done.
4. not only a time saver - it saves you $$ too!
Pressure cookers are said to be about 70% more energy efficient than the usual cooking methods (stove tops and ovens). It is mainly due to their short cooking time. Even though I cannot really tell you (just yet) that I saved tons of money by using this appliance daily, mainly because I got it about 3 weeks ago, I am sure it is much more efficient than cooking in pots on the stove.
5. Last but not least! it is the best way of preserving nutrients!
I wouldn't be an OCD'd (slightly) nutritionist, if I haven't had checked for that, right? It turns out that due to it's relatively low cooking temperature and speed, pressure cooker is a superstar in terms of preserving vital nutrients in our cooked foods! More on this from the Wellness Mama blog:
"In fact, a 1995 study found that pressure cooking preserved nutrients in food more than other cooking methods. Another study measured levels of Vitamin C and B-Vitamins in food and found these levels of vitamin retention (the amount remaining in food after cooking):
- Boiling reduced nutrients the most with a range of 40-75% retained (up to a 60% loss of nutrients!)
- Roasting and steaming preserved up to 90% of nutrients (but in some measurements, almost half of nutrients were lost!)
- Pressure cooking did the best job at preserving nutrients with a 90-95% retention rate"