The Best Instapot Safety Hacks You Need In Your Kitchen
So let’s play a game of “choose your own emergency line adventure”. What would be worse: completely ruining a quick and easy lunch, or getting your fingers burned off by scalding steam under insane pressure? Totally unfair question, we know. Both are totally possible though, so today we decided to put together a little hack list to help you avoid these horrors! Learn how to stay safe with your instapot pressure cooker and dazzle your friends with your culinary skills!
Keep away from the steam!
Starting off with a “Thanks, Cap’n Obvious” moment here, but seriously, this cannot be said enough. Unless you are looking for some serious burns, stay miles away, especially if any part of your body is exposed (think about cooking in summer outfits).
Take extra precautions to never go near, and definitely not over, the steam valve. This is critically important if you have children in the household – make dead-fast sure that your pressure appliance is far out of the reach of your curious little ones.
Be cautious in how you handle the lid
If you have any experience in dealing with hot dishes, you will know that quickness is the key to burn-free survival. When it comes to an instant pot, though, or any type of pressure cooking, you need to flip the coin, be a little patient, and take the time to be thorough.
Before you start any pressure cooking, make sure that the lid is properly locked in place. A lid that is unlocked or off kilter is likely to explode right off the pot, and you do not want that kind of fireworks. Check out this informative blog post to get a better grip on what pressure cooking actually is and how exactly the whole thing works.
In addition to confirming that the sealing ring is in its proper position (the arrow must align with the locked icon), make sure that it is squeaky clean and completely free of any food debris, or it will get in the way of sealing the lid.
Make sure to fill it up the right way
Unlike the age-old cauldron that your Grandma’s delicious soup comes from, the Instapot actually cares how much of what you put in it. Too much food or excess liquid can make a dangerous mess of the pressure levels, so make sure to keep it balanced.
Different pots may come with different instructions or advice, but one good rule of thumb to go by is that the total amount in the inner pot (of food and liquid combined) should not exceed two thirds of its volume. Make it even less, about half the pot, if you are planning to cook something that will expand along the way, like pasta, rice, dried vegetables, or beans.
You can also check out this link for a more in-depth look at why some foods expand when you cook them: https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/21776/why-does-rice-expand-by-more-than-the-liquid-volume-its-cooked-in
To make sure that the pot will pressurize properly, always add a minimum of 480 ml (so at least two cups) of liquid, water or otherwise. Also, be careful of foods that foam or sputter, such as noodles, split peas, pearl barley, rhubarb, applesauce, oatmeal, or cranberries, to name a few. These tend to make the steam release valve get all clogged up, which in turn makes the pressure skyrocket into danger. Either avoid these ingredients altogether, or use them only in pre-tested recipes provided by Instant Pot.
Let the machine do its job
One major perk of having a device for pressure cooking is the irreplaceable feature of the timer. Unlike our grandmothers and even our mothers, we do not have to time the pressure building and aim for the perfect moment to remove the lid. The cooker times everything for us.
Therefore, let the thing do its job in peace. It can take a couple of minutes, or as long as forty or more, but until it completely depressurizes do not even think about sneaking a peek – it can and will explode. Pro tip: if the lid is hard to turn, or the float valve is still up, it is still too soon!