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INSTA-POTS

 
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There is supposed to be a version that has a canning setting.
 
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This is certified for a pressure canner.     I have been debating about getting one...
 
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Yes, the instant pot works great for all water bath canning. If it is something that is not going to be hurt by the heat, a good example is tomatoes (I have canned more tomatoes than any person should have a right too, they are one of my families favourite foods and we use them for practically everything and in every form except ketchup. I hate ketchup.) I run it at pressure for its normal water bath time. I then set it, leave and do not have to think about it at all until I come in and find perfectly sealed jars, waiting for me to move to a cooling towel. I teach people all sorts of skills, but because no electric pressure cooker is approved for home pressure canning, I do not teach using an electric pressure canner to people because I would not dare take a chance someone could get sick because of my advice.

I used mine for pressure canning at my own discretion. This is something each person must decide is safe for them or not. You guys here though are awesome and understand SO much more than the average person I run into does. So here is the information I used to make my decision in case some of you are curious. I cannot recommend anyone else do this, and for full disclosure, my farm is not at high altitude (it is just barely above sea level) which would change everything.

When I use my big massive pressure canner (And I do love my big huge pressure canner, it gets the most glorious spot of all, it took up the entirety of the space atop my refrigerator Amazing Pressure Canner), most things I pressure can between 10-12 lbs PSI. And according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation:



The entire text can be found here: NCHFP

So in my mind, I want to make absolutely certain I am killing any potential spores so I looked into things a bit further and I found that most normal recipes for a pressure canner assume a 15lb PSI. This is just for regular cooking, not pressure canning. And if you have an electric pressure canner they just have you add a few more minutes for recipes attuned to 15PSI which made me start looking into operating pressure. If you have an electric pressure cooker you must check your owners manual, I am sure they can all vary. My electric pressure canner had an operating range of 10.15-11.6 at high pressure so I feel that it is safe for anything that requires a PSI of 10 or more. Again, this is just me deciding it was safe for me and my family.

I also was thinking, when my stove-top model reaches pressure and starts whistling, I lower the temperature some and finagle with it to try to get it to stay as close to that line as possible but it is also fluctuating, I just do not know to what degree. And many of my pressure canning recipes only called for 10lbs of pressure in my stove top pressure canner which I feel also likely fluctuates at least some.

But I also found this which I use as a constant reference:



I got it from wikipedia, and I use that along with my recipes and charts from sources I trust like the NCHFP to calculate what times I should use to get foods canned safely. And because I am a worry wart, I would often add just a few extra minutes to make sure it had attained the needed temperature for long enough.

The only thing I felt I did that was iffy was lard/tallow, I ran through in half-pint jars two times at 100 minutes. (I am only comfortable doing this because I got much of my power through solar panels) I preserved the fat in this way because I tend to have such a crazy excess of it despite using it for cooking, candles, and soap. I was hoping to prevent it from going rancid and so far it seems to have worked, but I would like more time to test this.

I have always been above and beyond what they normally require for canning, I test the PH of my foods and I do not just process tomatoes without checking their acidity for example. Everything is sterilized a few times just to make certain, everything wiped with vinegar, every sealing ring carefully checked, every jar closely inspected. if something didn't seal I never re-processed it, I used it immediately and that sort of occurrence is exceptionally rare. I do not ever can potatoes because I hate the texture change, and I make sure the foods I do can are low in fat (with the exception of rendered tallow or lard) and never have too much starch, these things increase the time needed to can something.

My instant pots are the 6 quart size, and I could can 3 pint jars at a time or 7 half pints. It does say it cannot be used for pressure canning low acid foods because the pressure can fluctuate (on high) and most electric pressure cooker manufacturers have stated they have no interest in pursuing FDA approval for pressure canning foods but I hope they change their minds. Especially after the insane amount of work they had to do making the electric pressure canners many times safer than the stovetop models just to be able to bring them to market. So I could be very wrong in doing this, and please if I have missed something important let me know. I do not eat any processed sugars, so most all of my canning are stocks/broths, tomatoes, fermented vegetables, and ooodles of soups. (I find canned soups in pint jars are one of the best gifts you can give people, it is so hard to beat all that home grown produce and the convenience of being able to pour out a good homecooked meal that is ready to eat after being heated up for a few minutes.)  I am sure you guys know way more about pressure canning than I do, and everyone on permies teaches me a LOT! And I am very thankful for that.

But I have also found teaching people how to preserve food, how to cook, grow, etc. to be incredibly rewarding. It is absolutely stunning how many people do not grow their own food purely because they do not even know how to cook. I even had a kid come to my farm with his parents (I call him a kid, he was older than me! lol) and he honestly did not know chicken eggs came out of the chicken's butts. I know it sounds so crazy that anyone could not know that, but it is true! He said he was never going to eat another chicken egg again!!! (I sent his family home with two dozen fresh laid eggs though, and it seems he got over his trepidation within a few days thankfully.) Things like that happen, and it just reminds me how vital it is to keep teaching others what I know, and to keep learning more from you all. =)
 
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We have used our Insta-pot for canning green beans, carrots and peas for years.  We just do pints as it is only 2 of us.  

Never had a problem with them.
 
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Dennis Barrow wrote:We have used our Insta-pot for canning green beans, carrots and peas for years.  We just do pints as it is only 2 of us.  

Never had a problem with them.



Dennis, can you share the times you use? And do you start with fresh from the garden? I've got a ton of green beans planted this year and already am feeling very nervous....

 
Diane Kistner
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Aimee Hall wrote:My instant pots are the 6 quart size, and I could can 3 pint jars at a time or 7 half pints. It does say it cannot be used for pressure canning low acid foods because the pressure can fluctuate (on high) and most electric pressure cooker manufacturers have stated they have no interest in pursuing FDA approval for pressure canning foods but I hope they change their minds. Especially after the insane amount of work they had to do making the electric pressure canners many times safer than the stovetop models just to be able to bring them to market.



I just tested my 8-quart Instant Pot using the lift-out rack with foldable handles that came with it. I can get 4 pint jars or 6 half-pint jars in it. The handles take up a good bit of space, so if I was using one without handles, it might hold more. Four pints is certainly plenty for me in one canning session. I've also got one of those red silicone flexible racks that might hold more, but I didn't feel like digging it out to test it.

Thank you for the tons of information. You should write a book....



 
Dennis Barrow
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Diane Kistner wrote:

Dennis Barrow wrote:We have used our Insta-pot for canning green beans, carrots and peas for years.  We just do pints as it is only 2 of us.  

Never had a problem with them.



Dennis, can you share the times you use? And do you start with fresh from the garden? I've got a ton of green beans planted this year and already am feeling very nervous....



Diane,

We will pick the veggies and can them immediately.  It worked that we would have a pint or so ready each evening.
 
Diane Kistner
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Dennis Barrow wrote:

Diane Kistner wrote:

Dennis Barrow wrote:We have used our Insta-pot for canning green beans, carrots and peas for years.  We just do pints as it is only 2 of us.  

Never had a problem with them.



Dennis, can you share the times you use? And do you start with fresh from the garden? I've got a ton of green beans planted this year and already am feeling very nervous....



Diane,

We will pick the veggies and can them immediately.  It worked that we would have a pint or so ready each evening.



Can you share how you do it for idiots like me? Especially the timing you use. How many minutes on High/Low pressure?

 
Mart Hale
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This looks to be good info on canning with the insta pot,  research,  and results.

 
Mart Hale
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This what she does.      
 
Dennis Barrow
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Diane Kistner wrote:

Dennis Barrow wrote:

Diane Kistner wrote:

Dennis Barrow wrote:We have used our Insta-pot for canning green beans, carrots and peas for years.  We just do pints as it is only 2 of us.  

Never had a problem with them.



Dennis, can you share the times you use? And do you start with fresh from the garden? I've got a ton of green beans planted this year and already am feeling very nervous....



Diane,

We will pick the veggies and can them immediately.  It worked that we would have a pint or so ready each evening.



Can you share how you do it for idiots like me? Especially the timing you use. How many minutes on High/Low pressure?



Diane, we just wash the beans, snap them to about 1 inch lengths, pack them in pint jars, fill to about 1 inch of the top, pour hot water over them, (to on inch of top), 20 minutes for pints in the instapot. We have done some quarts and can them for 25 minutes.  We let the instapot release the steam on its own, don't force it.
 
Diane Kistner
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Dennis Barrow wrote:Diane, we just wash the beans, snap them to about 1 inch lengths, pack them in pint jars, fill to about 1 inch of the top, pour hot water over them, (to on inch of top), 20 minutes for pints in the instapot. We have done some quarts and can them for 25 minutes.  We let the instapot release the steam on its own, don't force it.



Fantastic. Just what I needed. And that's especially good info about doing the natural release...I wouldn't have thought to ask that.

Looks easy peasy.

 
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I have really enjoyed this thread, I would like to thank K Lopez for starting the thread and everyone for sharing so much wonderful information.

I read about cooking pasta in it so I can't wait to try using it for pasta.

I have a couple of questions.

1. My Insta Pot has the Cake Function.  How well do cakes bake using the Insta Pot?  

2. What about baking potatoes?  Would the cake Function for that?  Do the potatoes come out like baking in an oven?

Thanks again for sharing.

 
Diane Kistner
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Anne Miller wrote:2. What about baking potatoes?  Would the cake Function for that?  Do the potatoes come out like baking in an oven?



I bake potatoes in my Ninja Foodi using the bake function. You can set the temperature to what you want, then set the time for what you want. I put a little oil on the skins. But I really prefer just to cut the potatoes into steak fries and roast them that way, because I'm counting carbs and don't eat a whole potato at once. I can't give you a time, but I believe the recipe book tells you want to do. I've never tried to do baked potatoes in the Instant Pot. Hey, try baking potatoes with the Cake function! What's the worst that could happen?

As far as pasta is concerned, timing will be different depending on what kind you cook. I was used to pressure-cooking semolina pasta on 0 (yes, ZERO) because that seemed to be perfect for al dente pasta. But when I tried cooking ZenB yellow pea pasta, it took a good bit longer. I wasn't happy with how the ZenB macaroni turned out (it fell apart, but it falls apart when I cook it traditionally, too); the rotini and penne did better.

With anything, you just have to experiment. Start with a shorter time and then add more time to it if it doesn't get as done as you want. Better to err on the side of not enough time than too much.

I just cooked fresh collard greens by following a YouTube video. When the guy said "cook at pressure for 5 minutes," I thought that couldn't possibly be right. But it was!

 
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Usually pasta is cooked at 1 or 2 min less than half the boil water cooking time.  The books recommended get pasta with 8 min or longer boil water cook time and cook on high for 3 min high pressure,  quick release.

I use 4 cup water, one broth cube, and 1 pound  of pasta.
 
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I'm wondering if one of these could replace the gas hotplate that I use when the woodstove isn't going. I think some of the functions on these could be useful off-grid in summer.

Does anyone want to do an experiment on a 6 quart Insta-pot for me?

1. Put 2 cups cold water in and time how long it takes to get it starting to boil (tiny bubbles rising to surface is fine)

2. Try the same thing for two quarts of water

Bonus points if you can check how many watts it takes to do this using a kill-a-watt!

I found this article about amp hour usage off-grid for different functions on the 3 quart insta-pot, which is helpful to know: https://www.loveyourrv.com/instant-pot-boondocking-power-draw/
 
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I absolutely love my instant pot. I have the 8 qt and have used it nearly daily for a couple of years now. I make bone broth, hard boiled eggs(4min), and chicken and rice most often.

For chicken and rice I put several cups brown rice and a few lentils, season it and add a bay leaf and thyme and the liquid for the rice. Put a few cups of greens(kale, chard, collards) on top. Then put a chicken on top of the greens. Depending on the size of your chicken and if it is frozen or not you may have to adj cooking time upwards, but my chickens tend to be about 4lbs and a thawed chicken takes the 22 minutes with a 10 min cool down that just cooking brown rice takes. When done take the chicken out and fluff and stir the greens into the rice. Cooking it all together imparts incredible flavor to the rice and greens and is one of my favorite and easiest one pot dinners.

For homesteaders the instant pot allows for cooking up all the parts that are harder to eat or cook when using the whole animal. The instant pot makes an incredibly delicious meal of hearts and gizzards with rice. I use the instant pot to tenderize and cook very quickly things like beef short ribs, venison ribs, and venison neck. Easily makes a tough rooster into pulled bbq chicken.

Anything you want to put on the grill to bbq should go in the instant pot first!! Make the best bbq chicken wings! Put meat in with some Apple Cider Vin and some BBQ sauce and do wings for 8 min, pork ribs for 20, venison for 30 beef for 40... take them out and sauce them up(grill or not= awesome)

I love to make pasta, 4 min with quick release(but messy), use just enough liquid/sauce to almost cover pasta(add any chopped veg you have) and when done just stir it and add a little cheese...yum!

Quick "mexican quinoa"... just put quinoa in with sauce/leftover chili/stewed tomatoes/water to right amount of liquid needed. Add any chopped veg you have. add "taco mix" and/or chili powder, 2 min for white and 3 min for mixed with 10 min cool down)

For me, the instant pot tends to cook things faster then the stovetop which saves energy. It also is hands off, saving me time and allowing me to focus on other tasks or even leave the house.

I also like being able to sauté things and use it as an extra stovetop burner sometimes. It also makes the best 3 min soups... just throw in any veg you have and any leftovers all together and cook for a few min... awesome and different every time!  

Best way to cook sweet potatoes and squashes, fast and tender

Probably so much more I'm not thinking of...
 
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