Under Pressure


Learn how to use your pressure cooker and multi-cooker appliances with these tips from Walton EMC.

It seems every other American kitchen now has one of those nifty electric pressure cooker/multi-cooker appliances. It’s been one of the hottest-selling Christmas gifts for several years running, according to Amazon.

But owning a multi-cooker and actually using it seem to be two different things. Too often, these trendy machines are left unboxed or pushed to the back of the pantry, unused and forgotten.

Why? There seem to be two common roadblocks. First, those devoted to slow cookers see no reason to make a change. Second, the thought of cooking anything under pressure conjures up very scary, messy things.

But today’s electric multi-cooker isn’t your mother’s old pressure cooker. As it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons why these appliances have earned a choice spot on many kitchen countertops. In addition to being a pressure cooker, the electric multi-cooker is a sauté pan, rice cooker, slow cooker and yogurt maker all rolled into one.

To help you decide if that electric multi-cooker is worth taking for a test drive, Walton EMC did the research to answer some of your most commonly asked questions.

How does the pressure cooker feature work?

It’s like a Crock Pot on steroids. The cooker heats food in liquid under a tight seal, at a temperature much higher than the boiling point of water. The trapped steam cooks food much more quickly than traditional stovetop or oven cooking, but it will taste (and have the texture) of something braised for much longer.

What’s the time advantage of pressure cooking?

Food cooks in about one-third the time it would normally take — a real positive when you haven’t planned ahead for meal preparation. Even frozen meats can be cooked quickly to make a meal. Just throw some frozen boneless chicken breasts and some chunks of carrot and potato in with some chicken stock or sauce, and dinner can be ready in 10 minutes.

How do modern electric pressure cookers differ from older stovetop models?

Electric pressure cookers are easier to operate and safer by design. Compared to the stovetop versions, they need less monitoring during cooking — just set it and forget it.  Another plus for electric pressure cookers is that they are nearly silent for most of the cooking process.

What’s the difference between a multi-cooker and an Instant Pot?

Though it’s become a generic name for the appliance, Instant Pot is actually the name of the top-selling brand of multi-cookers. Several manufacturers market similar appliances with generally the same features.

Are multi-cookers energy efficient?

Yes! They are second only to microwaves in energy efficiency. Instant Pot, for instance, claims its cookers use 70 percent less energy when compared to cooking with other appliances, such as roasting in an oven or boiling/steaming on a stovetop. Insulated cooking chambers, fast cooking times and about 75 percent less liquid (compared to stovetop preparation) all contribute to greater energy efficiency.

How does pressure cooking affect food quality?

Pressure cookers cook food quickly, deeply and evenly, allowing foods to retain up to 90 percent of their water-soluble vitamins. Because pressure cooking saturates food with steam, food’s bright colors are retained. The cooker’s airtight design enables flavors to develop faster, and more profoundly.

Are electric cookers safe?

Years ago, stovetop pressure cookers got a bad reputation for their lids being relatively easy to remove before the pressure released, potentially causing burns and messes. You could literally end up with soup on the ceiling. To avoid those issues, modern electric models are equipped with built-in safety features that prevent you from releasing the lid while the pressure is still high. Walton EMC reminds that safety should be a priority when using any electric kitchen appliance. Always follow manufacturer guidelines and employ good practices.

LEARN MORE: 7 Safety Features of Modern Pressure Cookers

What can I make in a multi-cooker?

Food bloggers and time-saving experts have turned out thousands of recipes and tips for maximizing the value of your multi-cooker. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Baked Potatoes – Have delicious baked potatoes ready to serve in minutes, using this recipe from “Sidetracked” Sarah Robinson at www.sidetrackedsarah.com.
  • Cheesecake – It turns out the whole cake-baked-in-a-pot thing is real. Try this recipe from blogger Jamie Lothridge at mybakingaddiction.com.
  • Dog food – Love your fur baby? Try this healthy food recipe created by a dog lover like you.
  • Hard-boiled eggs – Imperfect hard-boiled eggs are a thing of the past when you follow these easy steps.
  • Jam – Use some Georgia-grown blueberries to make this recipe shared by Wardee Harmon, lead teacher at Traditional Cooking School.
  • Popcorn – Put a new spin on old-fashioned popcorn-making with this recipe from CopyKat.com.
  • Risotto – If you love creamy risotto but don’t have the patience or time to stand over a stove and stir it, see this recipe by Ashley Fehr.
  • Spicy Boiled Peanuts – Take a Georgia delicacy to new heights with this recipe from Christin Mahrlig of spicysouthernkitchen.com.
  • Sterilizing Baby Bottlesinstapottinwithpoonam.com offers steps for ridding baby bottles, sippy cups, etc. of germs.
  • Yogurt – If you’ve been too intimidated to try the yogurt setting on your multi-cooker, check out this easy recipe from amomsimpression.com.

Whether it’s dinner for the family, supper for Rover or a sweet treat just for you, an electric multi-cooker can make preparation quick and easy. So pull that cooker out of the box and give it a whirl!

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