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Celebrating cooking under pressure

 
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I have an instant pot, my first pressure cooker ever, in the mail right now. I'm really hoping the convenience factor will help overcome my laziness to cook real food! I buy real food but then don't want to spend the time making it, on top of learning new recipes. The linked videos above are great, it really makes it feel simple, which can help overcome that mental hurdle of mine!
 
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I have a *really, really* old Presto 4 quart pressure cooker which I admit spends most of its life either making bone broth or cooking dried beans (I do the soak overnight pre-treatment method). 25 years ago, I happened to find a stainless straight sided basket with wire handles and small wire feet, that fits perfectly into the cooker. This is incredibly handy for both making broth and cooking beans. When the cooker's cool enough to open, I can just lift the basket out, leaving the liquid behind. In the winter, I always stick a matching pot lid on the cooker and allow the cooker to cool in the house. In the summer, it's easy enough to carry it outside to cool.
 
pollinator
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This year I cut the turkey up in to pieces in was able to do it in the insta pot !  :-)     I used 2 8 quart pans.       I bought an extra turkey,   and in about 4 months I will do this again.    


I love the Insta Pot, but a Carvey is what is next on my list being able to pressure can would be the dream for me.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:I have a *really, really* old Presto 4 quart pressure cooker which I admit spends most of its life either making bone broth or cooking dried beans (I do the soak overnight pre-treatment method). 25 years ago, I happened to find a stainless straight sided basket with wire handles and small wire feet, that fits perfectly into the cooker. This is incredibly handy for both making broth and cooking beans. When the cooker's cool enough to open, I can just lift the basket out, leaving the liquid behind. In the winter, I always stick a matching pot lid on the cooker and allow the cooker to cool in the house. In the summer, it's easy enough to carry it outside to cool.



I LOVE my old 4 qt presto pressure cooker!  It was a wedding gift from my mom who knew how handy it would be for turning those cheap tough roasts and dry beans into delicious food without taking all day to do it.  I used it with a matching lid to pop popcorn (heavy pots are hard to find, LOL) the old fashioned way.  I still treasure that old pressure cooker, just the right size for two retirees now days.  My collection of recipes comes to almost 50 pages; and that isn't the whole batch of them.  Although I have a big canner for canning (the 4 qt one only does 3 pints at a time) the small one is my go-to for sterilizing tools, bandages, and the like when I re-stock the first aid kits.  Wrapped in brown paper they are not 100% sterile but certainly a whole lot less germy than just knocking around in a box!  
 
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Well I did it.  I am a proud owner of an Instant Pot.

What I didn't know is that I can cook desserts in it.  mmm...

 
r ranson
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The pea soup turned out amazing.  I adapted the family recipe, which usually takes three days, but I did it in four hours, only about 15 min of actual work.  

Tonight, I want to try chicken
 
r ranson
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We tried a whole, frozen chicken today.  5.5 pound bird cooked in less than 1.45 hours including prep and cool down.

Taste is excessively bland and it was a good chicken too.  It is like the cooker leached the best out of it.
 
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r ranson wrote:The pea soup turned out amazing.  I adapted the family recipe, which usually takes three days, but I did it in four hours, only about 15 min of actual work.  

Tonight, I want to try chicken

If you like pea soup, try the Dutch variant called ''erwtensoep'' or ''snert'', it's so hearty it's a meal on its own.

 
r ranson
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risotto is fantastic!  Super happy with how this turned out in the pressure cooker.
 
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I learned to use a pressure cooker by helping my mom make dinner - in the 1950s. Stews, swiss steak, pot full of potatoes, corned beef hash etc. My mom in turn gave me a (4 qt.)pressure cooker when I was first married (1970) which I still use today. I use my probably weekly on average, more in winter for cooking, more in summer for food storage uses. Over the years I have collected several pressure cookers - a 22 qt. canner, 4 qt. stainless steel, 2 qt. 'fry pan style' ($1 at garage sale) and 6 qt. stainless steel which is fabulous for canning small batches (4 pints) of garden produce when harvest trickles in a few tomatoes/beets/apples etc. at a time. Come winter I use my cookers on our wood stove getting extra work from BTUs otherwise only used for heating the house.

One thing I like to make is sweet/sour red cabbage. Traditionally its cooked for hours and produces an aroma many don't like. The pressure cooker makes this in minutes and with much less odor. However it still draws flies like a magnet! (even thru screens on windows!).
 
r ranson
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Today was cheesecake.

The batter made too much, so I made some cheesecake nuggets in the egg cup.  I ate it warm which might be the problem because it tases like a scrambled egg with cheese in it.  I'm not a big fan of things that taste like egg.

(update - the cheesecake was FANTASTIC the next day)

But we are having risotto at least once a week now.  It's so fast to make in this thing.  Even if I never cook anything but risotto in it for the rest of my life, it's worth it just for that.  
 
r ranson
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Today was Garlic Confit.  So delicious.

We harvested our garlic but have a huge amount leftover from last year.  So I'm pealing the last year's garlic and putting them in a dish, smother the garlic with oil, wrap it with tin foil, put two cups water in the bottom of the pressure cooker and the garlic bowl on a steamer rack.  High pressure 45 min.  

 
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garlic confit sounds AMAZING.
 
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I learned to use a pressure cooker by helping my mom make dinner - in the 1950s. Stews, swiss steak, pot full of potatoes, corned beef hash etc. My mom in turn gave me a (4 qt.)pressure cooker when I was first married (1970) which I still use today.



This was something like my experience, except it was my grandmother that taught me. I don't have the same pressure cooker she gave me, but I can't live without a pressure cooker. I use it far, far more than my slow cooker.
 
r ranson
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I've made chicken biryani a few times.  It's been hard to get the spices right but the pressure cooker is more forgiving with the stale spice from the grocery store than regular cooking.  

One time I used breasts instead of thighs and there wasn't enough moisture so the pressure cooker started to burn on the bottom.  When this happens, the instant pot shuts down - which I love!  

 
pollinator
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r ranson wrote:I've made chicken biryani a few times.  It's been hard to get the spices right but the pressure cooker is more forgiving with the stale spice from the grocery store than regular cooking.  

One time I used breasts instead of thighs and there wasn't enough moisture so the pressure cooker started to burn on the bottom.  When this happens, the instant pot shuts down - which I love!  



How long does it take in a pressure cooker?
 
r ranson
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It's cooked in three stages.

1. prep - marinade the chicken and fry the onions (which can be done in the pressure cooker)
2. par-cook the chicken - 4 min high. quick release
3. layer the rice and onions on top, 6 min on high. quick release

So about 20 to 30 min total depending on the size of the pressure cooker (bigger takes longer to come up to pressure).  When it burnt, I was in stage 3, but only 2 min into the pressure cooking time.  The rice and chicken were cooked through so we ate it, but the chicken wasn't as tender as when it cooks the full time.  
 
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Today I want to make rice and chicken in my instant pot at the same time.

I decided that I would use the pot in pot method, as I have two stacking pots.  One will have rice, the other chicken.

I haven't got much further than that yet.  The big problem is making sure they have more or less the same cooking time.

some links I've been reading about cooking rice in a pot inside the pressure cooker pot.

https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/instant-pot-pot-in-pot-rice/
https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/how-to-use-the-pot-in-pot-method-in-your-pressure-cooker-instant-pot/

Since I have an 8-quart electric pot, I need to remember to add a minimum of 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pot - most recipes call for less as they are using smaller pots.  
 
Mark Brunnr
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I recently combined frozen cauliflower, frozen brussel sprouts, diced carrots, and cubed potatoes together and at 4 minutes on high pressure they came out great. Mine states a minimum of 3 cups water, and there was plenty of water left after cooking. But storing the extra servings with the water was a mistake, it was really mushy the following day. Next time I'll be adding chickpeas or lentils (or both) to the mix on the bottom, so they can soak up the water and result in firmer leftovers. Just used a generic combo spice mix I had and it worked well flavor-wise.
 
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r ranson wrote:. . . different ways we can open a pressure cooker . . . how fast we release the pressure. . . . wait a while or put under cold, running water. . . .

I learnt the technique of putting the pressure cooker in cold water when I was young. I use cold water most of the time.
 
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Go on-line to both the InstaPot and Mealthy Web Sites and search for recipes.
They both have tons of those on hand.
And, did you know that you can also make a cheese cake in those? Try it!
But, the very best beans I've ever had came out of my Mealthy - and amazingly went in dry, no pre-soaking.
 
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Bumping the thread.....Thanks, I’ve got a Instapot pressure cooker with me in my van but needed inspiration and information to make bone broth and other recipes. My refrigeration is limited so that’s been discouraging me from making batches of food. One of the challenges of vanlife is food preservation, preparation, and electricity (I’m limited to solar and propane for cooking). Another challenge is too much packaging because I don’t order in bulk. I’m working on it.
 
Jay Angler
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Jeremy Baker wrote:I’ve got a Instapot pressure cooker with me in my van but needed inspiration and information to make bone broth and other recipes. My refrigeration is limited so that’s been discouraging me from making batches of food.

If you make bone broth with some fat in it - like chicken bones with skin added - and pour it into single use jar size while it's still hot and make sure each jar has a 1/4-1/2 inch of fat at the top, the fat will seal the broth and it should keep a week or more at a cool temperature. Tall, skinny jars will require less volume of fat vs broth. Adding healthy greens like dandelion and fresh parsley to the Instapot will boost the nutritional value of the bone broth a lot.
 
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I absolutely love using our pressure cooker. I make so many recipes. Some of the favorites that I've made are on https://apressurecooker.com and https://bakemesomesugar.com. They never fail.

 
Mark Brunnr
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For a while now my Instapot go-to combos have been 1.5 cups of steel-cut oats, 1.5 cups red lentils, and 6 cups water, cooked on high for 4 minutes. I then split that up into 3 bowls, add almost a cup of frozen berries to each, and 2 Tbsp of ground flaxseed to each. Tons of fiber, and the berries make it plenty sweet, it's been my breakfast for months. I've also been cooking up some "10 bean mix" I get in bulk at the store, and adding some extra black beans I had, soak it 12-24 hours and then pressure cook it to add to pasta and sauce, in about equal portions (so pasta with LOTS of beans). As I'm a huge fan of hummus, I picked up some dry chickpeas and will cook those up to make my own. I typically dip sliced apples or carrots, but this way I can get rid of the plastic hummus containers for store-bought, and also cut the cost a lot.
 
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I love my Instant Pot... and may be tempted to cook beans again.  I 'left' beans because of the anti-nutrient phytate content, but,  think I'll 'sprout' them, then Instant Pot them.  It's pretty easy, just soak overnight, drain, then rinse/drain couple times a day til first tiny signs of germination (not really sprouting), when the enzymes will have done their conversion work.  Then cook... fast and flavorful, and freeze surplus.  Hmmm.....

Also, check out Hip Pressure Cooking info on producing 'Resistant Starch*' - a good excuse to eat more spuds!  See link in article to more 'health research' info...
https://www.hippressurecooking.com/pressure-cooker-potato-nutrition/

*'resistant starch' resists digestion in small intestines, so it arrives in large intestine ready to feed the hordes of good guys!  (yum... more spuds!)
 
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r ranson wrote:Let's have a great big thread celebrating the pressure cooker.


I have the Fagor Duo. I'm pretty happy with it, but I'm trying to get the lid's castle nut (the assembly for the steam vent/psi control) loose, and I do not know how to do it. Anyone have any pointers? I've sorta begun tearing the steam vent up so I don't want to proceed any further without some guidance. When I turn the castle nut, the steam vent turns, so the castle nut will not loosen the steam vent, but there's no way to grip the steam vent to stop its turning when I turn the castle nut when I'm trying to get the castle nut to come loose when I turn the castle nut.
 
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Great discussion! I adore both my pressure cookers, the stainless steel one I cook everything in and my All American I use strictly for canning. For years I didn’t know that you shouldn’t use an aluminum pc for cooking in so I had to make changes but I use the cooker at least once a week and usually can something almost as often. I have a load of bone broth currently canning after cooking it in the cooker. My son just got married and his own stainless cooker was his first gift from home. I learned to rely on my cooker as a working mom when I figured out that cooking took so much less time.
 
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When I was a child, mum cooked everything in the pressure cooker - the whole Sunday dinner (except the Yorkshire puddings). First the meat which fell off the bone, then the veggies and lastly the rice pudding for dessert. Then, one Christmas day she discovered that the capon (big chicken) we were having for dinner wouldn't fit in the pressure cooker. She had to phone my aunt to find out how to cook it in the oven! When we all moved away form home, somehow I ended up with her pressure cooker and it is still going strong, even though it is older than I am and I am not young. It has had the sealing gasket and the vent valve replaced but still works well. The only problem is that it has a slightly bowed base caused by people letting it boil dry - it was like that when I got it, honestly. I love how quickly it cooks things, particularly beans.
 
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A pressure cooker is one of these investments that you can pass from generation to generation: they last forever. We have 2: a small one [a stainless steel Presto] that Ron likes to use for tougher pieces of meat. It is OK but I don't care for it: It uses a pressure gage that you have to look at to make sure it doesn't go over.
I use mine [a much larger, 22 quart aluminum from Fleet Farm] for all sorts of canning: meats, soups, broth...
Even though it is aluminum, which I do not like because  of the dangers of Alzheimer, I prefer it because is has 3 giggle pieces: A 5 Lbs. 10 Lbs. and 15 Lbs. I can go about other tasks while the pressure canner is heating up. I select the recommended pressure giggle. All I have to make sure of is that I keep the gas high enough to keep the thing giggling once in a while.
When my laying chickens are too old, they go to "soups and broth camp". Sometimes, I can them solo, sometimes I can them with carrots/ celery/ onions for a hearty soup. Sometimes I just use the cleaned up carcasses for broth. When we are both tired, don't feel like cooking, it is wonderful to have a pantry full of canned items. We just pull one up and nuke it. For large quantities canning, there is just no comparison. For meats and low acid veggies, it is the only safe canning solution.
Every 3 years, I make a huge batch of sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is one of these jobs that takes a lot of effort, cleaning, cutting, plus it kinda stinks up is workshop, so I don't want to do it every year. When it is done, I have about 25 gallons of delicious sauerkraut. It is acid enough that I could do it in several batches in a water bath, but doing it in my canner is a sure time saver!
Some folks have heard bad stories about a pressure cooker exploding. If you fill the canner way full and you have peas or lentils, these veggies will gum up the safety valve and BOOM! But in 50+ years of using mine, I've never had one blow out on me.
 
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r ranson wrote:The thing I use my pressure cooker for most often is cooking chickpeas from dry.  On the stove, it takes me 4 to 8 hours to cook store bought chickpeas, but in the pressure cooker, I can cook them in 20 to 30 minutes (14 to 18 minutes on high pressure, plus heating up time)*.  That saves a lot of time and energy.  It also uses considerably less water, as I don't have to top up the chickpeas.


Amen, sister!  I LOVE cooking beans from dry in my Instant Pot!  And chickpeas are among the most convenient I've done so far.  Soaking dry beans overnight can cut down the stove-top time significantly, but you still cook them faster in a PC.  And that way there is no 24-hour-in-advance planning required.
 
Matthew Nistico
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K Putnam wrote:Since I had stock ready to go, I tried a quick soup with pulses...overcooked the hell out of that!   I think anything that is not meat or beans, err on the side of undercooking.   It's hard because the recipes out there vary greatly in time.  For lentils everything from three minutes to twenty, which is a massive difference in range.  I went with ten and let it depressurize for a few minutes...fail.  Flavor was there, but carrots that could pass as baby food...maybe not so much.


Yes, in my experience all PC cooking is a matter of fine balance.  A few minutes can make the difference between perfect and overcooked.  My Instant Pot came with an indispensable quick-reference cooking guide with basic time pressure, and ratio guidelines for commonly cooked items.  But I take that as a starting point.  A bit of trial and error will be necessary for most things.  Just be sure that you write it down when you find the perfect settings!

Lentils are particularly difficult.  I would not even attempt red lentils in a PC unless you intend to produce baby food.  But to be fair, red lentils tend to break down into mush on the stove top as well.  As for regularly brown/green lentils, I am down to setting a 1-minute cooking time followed by a quick pressure release.  Anything more and they will overcook!
 
Matthew Nistico
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Other than cooking dry beans, my biggest use so far for my PC has been making bone broth.  I know I am not alone in this.  But while I love it, and unlike cooking the dry beans, I can't say bone broth in the PC is a huge time saver.

My Instant Pot has a "broth" setting.  I fill the pot with chicken bones (plus turkey and pork, as available - pretty much everything except for lamb and beef, which I keep separate for their own broth), plus veggie scraps.  I put all of it into a large cotton mesh bag for easier handling.  Add a splash of vinegar, water up to the fill line, turn on the PC... and then wait a very long time.  Seriously, pick out a couple of good movies to watch or schedule a lot of other cooking to do the same day.  Including the long time it takes to heat all of that mass up to high pressure, the total cycle time is about 5 hours!  As a rule, I never leave a pressure cooker unattended.

Then, when it finishes, I drain out the broth into a big mixing bowl, replace the bag of ingredients into the PC, refill with water, and cook through a second cycle.  Another 5 hours!

So, the way I do it, making bone broth is still an all-day affair even with a PC.  But the results are wonderful.  After going through two broth cycles in the PC, the chicken bones can be pulverized to mush with just finger pressure!  That's a lot of mineral extraction.

I combine the second batch with the first and then pour it all through a couple layers of cheese cloth.  This produces about 5 quarts of broth.

Then start saving bones and veggie scraps in the freezer for the next bone broth day : )
 
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I have a 6 qt. InstantPot that I mostly used for making yoghurt and boiling eggs (two things it does superbly).  However, half the time it wouldn't seal when it was supposed to, so a few weeks ago I finally replaced it with an 8 qt. Ninja which also has an air fryer lid.  I also have a big 22 qt. pressure canner, one of the kind with the lid that has clamps all around it (bought it for $10 at a yard sale, just realized they are over $500 on Amazon!).  I can't use it at present because I only have an induction hot plate, and the canner is aluminum and won't work on an induction burner.  Not sure what I'm going to do about that.  But I really like the Ninja cooker -- I set a challenge for myself to see if I could go a week cooking only in the Ninja, and we are going on two weeks now!  At the moment I have a big pork roast in it, pressure cooking.  When it's done, I'm going to put it on roast to seal up the outside of the meat a bit.  We aren't currently eating any dairy or eggs, so I haven't made yogurt in the new machine, or boiled eggs in it.  We are only eating meat right now, so I'm using the saute, pressure, roast and air fry functions mostly.  
 
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I have an Instant Pot and I absolutely love it!! It's one of the mainstays in my kitchen for sure along with my Kaloric Air Fryer. When we were renovating our kitchen (which took a couple of months) I had to turn my dining room into a makeshift kitchen. With Air Fryer, Instant Pot, hot plate and toaster we never even missed the stove!  I inherited a pressure canner but have yet to try that out as I'm new to canning and have been getting comfortable with water bath first. Sometime this winter I'm going to give the pressure canning a try. Some of the things I love about my Instant Pot:
1. Meals in a hurry without having to stand at the stove. Great on busy days as I can toss things in, close it up, set the program and walk away to do other things.
2. Beans are great and not gas making even when I don't soak them first. I think what causes gas is the lectins which are effectively destroyed with the pressure.
3. Bone broth so easy to do because again, throw it in, turn it on, walk away and since I don't have to simmer it nearly as long as on stove top it's done quicker and without filling the kitchen with a lot of steam.
4. Great for the days when it's 'oops, forgot to take something out of the freezer to thaw' because I can put frozen chicken breasts in, cook them a tad longer and still doesn't take a really long time.
5. Perfect rice every time. I always had trouble getting rice right, sometimes was good and sometimes mush but in the instant pot it's perfect every time.
6. Less pots to clean because I can brown meat on the saute setting right in the pot, then add the liquid and pressure cook. Only one pot to clean and it's dishwasher friendly!
7. Perfect for the men in the house because I can put stuff in the pot liner and stash in the fridge with instructions to drop it in the instant pot, seal and tell them what setting to use. So even when I'm not home the fellas have a nice hot meal without a lot of fuss required on their part :) A win-win there!
 
Jesse Glessner
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They even have a recipe for a Cheesecake for the pressure cookers!
I made one and it didn't turn out too bad. The taste was good, but this dumb old dude didn't release it from the Spring Pan before he sprung it and it pulled a partial side of the cake off, which made it look bad, but it was actually MY BAD!

I've attached the recipe for the one I made but check out InstaPot recipes for more.
 
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When I cook beans, I always add some baking soda to help them soften. Most of my beans I bought a while ago, and as beans age, they get tougher. Baking soda solves this problem, but you'll want to rinse them afterwards to get rid of the baking soda flavor.
 
Charles Kelm
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You can even use a pressure cooker to make baby food. https://babyfoode.com/blog/instant-pot-baby-food/
 
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Charles Kelm wrote:When I cook beans, I always add some baking soda to help them soften. Most of my beans I bought a while ago, and as beans age, they get tougher. Baking soda solves this problem, but you'll want to rinse them afterwards to get rid of the baking soda flavor.



Good to know!  Thank you!

I love my instant pot!  I used to have a stovetop version but love the multiple functions of the insta pot.  I also have a number of cookbooks and accessories.

I've made stews, roasts, vegetables, muffins, cake, beans (needed baking soda!), sauces and more.  In addition, I'm always looking for new recipes to try.
 
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