Cooking under pressure

When I was growing up, my mam used a pressure cook to cook vegetables, stews and broths. The vegetables always came out really soft; when I left home, I could never get the same effect from just boiling them. I had two choices: either use a pressure cooker or get used to harder veg.

I never learnt how to use the pressure cooker, partly because it seemed complicated with the weights and the turning it up or down part way through cooking, and partly because it scared me with its steam and its hissing. The choice was easily made: I’d get used to harder veg.

Instant PotUntil now: they have invented the electric pressure cooker. Colin, who prefers softer veg, bought me a third generation Instant Pot for my birthday. I was still scared of it because of its being a pressure cooker and because I’m always a bit wary of new appliances.

The electric pressure cooker is nowhere near as scary as the hob-top one. Once you’ve worked out what settings to use, you leave it until it beeps. You don’t need to turn the heat up or down, you don’t need to do things with weights and there’s no huge clouds of steam, unless you do a quick pressure release. Once the Instant Pot beeps, you can either let it come to atmospheric pressure naturally, in which case you leave it till the button drops, or you can release the pressure quickly, in which case, you do get a cloud of steam. But it’s not too scary a cloud of steam (unless you’re Mr Perkins). I’d recommend the pressure is released naturally for meat and quickly for fresh vegetables.

I’m not an expert with it, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it.

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