Pressure Cookers and Instant Pots

I’m obviously very late to the Instant Pot party.  How about you?  I remember a few years ago when my nieces were in college, they told me they were all the go.  Everyone had them.  You’re not likely to see a bridal registry these days without an Instant Pot listed.

9748782_fpxThe way the Instant Pot was described to me, was that it is a combination of a slow cooker and a pressure cooker.  That description in itself was a little baffling to me because Slow Cookers cook, well, S-L-O-W,  and pressure cookers cook things unusually fast.  So how could it be both?  I was confused.  From what I understand from reading, the Instant pot is nothing more than an electric pressure cooker.  It looks like a crock pot in that you plug it in and it sits on your counter instead of on top of a burner on your stove.  It’s actually a versatile multi-cooker and can act as a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, a steamer, a rice cooker, etc.  The first time I saw one in a store, the control panel looked similar to the cockpit in a jet.  I told my husband, it looked like I might need to head back to college for an engineering degree to learn how to use one.  And there’s a whole slew of different types of Instant Pots.  My head was spinning when I recently read an article about them.  I also read that they are made with many more safety features than our grandmother’s old pressure cookers from the 1950s.  That’s good to know.

When my husband and I got married in 1985, one of the things my dear mother-in-law gifted us with was a Presto pressure cooker.  Now here we are over thirty years later, and I’m ashamed to say that said pressure cooker is still sitting on a shelf in the basement in its original box.   Why, might you ask?  Because I was too scared to ever use it!  My mother impressed upon my young homemaking mind with a story she told once about a pressure cooker exploding in someone’s kitchen.  Besides spewing food all over the ceiling, walls, and floor, the pressure cooker owner barely escaped with their life.  Stories like that tend to stick with you my friend.

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My mother-in-law has cooked with a pressure cooker for as long as I’ve known her (which has been 40+ years).  I’ve tasted the delectable, mouth-watering pot roasts and beef stews that have come from her pressure cooker.  I can’t deny how tender her pressure cooked roasts are.  My mother taught me to cook roasts in an iron skillet and that’s the way I always made them.  Until I got my flat-topped ceramic stove and was told to NEVER use iron cookware on it.  I don’t and I sure miss using my iron skillet.  Now, when I cook roasts, I cook them in a crock pot.

I remember a time when I was dating my soon-to-be husband.  His dad always planted a large vegetable garden and so every year his parents canned beets.  We had come in from a date and when we walked in the kitchen, we were accosted by the strong smell of beets and found his parents cleaning a mess, his mother on her hands and knees wiping up the kitchen floor.  They had been cooking beets in the pressure cooker when the lid came soaring off, causing a beet explosion that sprayed ceiling and floors.  I’ll never forget the purplish-red beet juice that was all over their kitchen. Beet juice everywhere. I learned that night that my mother-in-law has a lot more patience and self-control than I do.  Had that happened to me, I probably  would have plopped myself down in the middle of the kitchen floor for a good cry before I had to begin cleaning up what look like a bloody massacre.  I was just thankful they were not injured after hearing my mother’s pressure cooker horror stories.

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preserving-248030_960_720But it didn’t deter my mother-in-law from using her pressure cooker.  Maybe one day I’ll get brave, conquer my fears, and get that thirty-three year old Presto pressure cooker out of the basement and learn to use it.  I did actually get it out of the box many years ago and began reading the instructions, but I never made it past all the “preparation” instructions of the seal, etc.  The warnings were too much and back into the box it went.

My mother’s pressure cooker explosion story obviously made an impression on me.  I can remember other stories my mother told me that stuck with me.  I’ll mention that it’s because of my mother that I never vacuum without shoes on.  I remember her getting after my sisters and me if she ever happened to catch us vacuuming barefooted.  She told us a memorable story about a roommate of hers who got electrocuted while vacuuming barefooted.  I don’t remember the story well but I think it involved running over what was probably a frayed electrical cord on the vacuum cleaner.  Like I said, stories like that tend to stick with you and to this day, I will not vacuum barefooted and only vacuum in tennis shoes.

Are you a fan of Instant Pots?  Have you ever cooked with a pressure cooker?  I’d love to know your thoughts on both so feel free to share in the comment section if you so desire.  

Gail 

About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
This entry was posted in Cooking, Memories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Pressure Cookers and Instant Pots

  1. Relax... says:

    In a few years, I’ll enter the 7th decade of never using a pressure cooker! Nope, nada. Maybe you should use your cooker for planting some geraniums!

  2. I don’t blame you Gail. My mom had one of each of those in the pictures. I remember being nervous around them when Mom was using them. Seemed like they could blow at any moment!

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