Kitchen appliances are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are also meant to meet different needs. However, some appliances can serve several needs. A good example is an Instant Pot.
That is an electric pressure cooker that can steam, brown cook, keep food warm, sauté, and so on. It’s most beneficial if you have time constraints.
All benefits of the Instant Pot will not mean anything if you have no idea how to operate it. This appliance comes with several settings and features, but the most confusing is LO. This article will look at the meaning of LO plus other features on the Instant Pot.
What Does LO Mean on Instant Pot?
LO is an essential feature on an Instant Pot(IP), especially if you are not eating the food once it is cooked. If you see the LO sign on your IP, know that the cooker is on low heat or a “keep warm” setting.
Low heat or “keep warm” allows the user to still keep the food warm without risking the food getting burnt. Most IPs can keep the food warm for more than 9.5 hours.
Other Instant Pot Features
If you are a new IP user, you may be confused with the many buttons that appear on it. A normal Instant Pot may come with more than ten buttons; enough to put your head spinning if you are a novice.
However, it’s smooth sailing once you get the hang of it. Here are some of the must-know buttons.
Preset Cooking Time
These are the eight buttons on either side of the display. They are usually labeled soup, meat stew, beans/chili, poultry, rice, multigram, porridge, and steam.
These options may be preset, but that does not mean you can not make adjustments. You can make adjustments depending on preference or a specific cooking method. The preset setting is as follows:
- Soup is set to 30 minutes of cooking at high pressure. You can change this setting by using the adjust button to reduce the cooking duration to 20 minutes or add to 40 minutes.
- The meat or stew option has a high-pressure setting with a 35 minute cooking time. You can adjust the time to 20 or 45 minutes.
- The bean and chili option also has a high-pressure setting in 30 minutes. You can adjust time adjustments to 25 or 40 minutes.
- The poultry setting is high pressure with 15 minutes of cooking time. Depending on the recipe, You can change this to 5 minutes or 30 minutes.
- Steaming is an excellent option if you have vegetables that do not require much cooking. You have to place it in a steaming basket or something of that nature to avoid burning.
The preset pressure is high, and the cooking time is 10 minutes. That can be brought down to 1l3 minutes or added to 15 minutes.
- The porridge setting has high pressure and takes 20 minutes to cook. You can adjust it down to 20 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
- Multigrain preset is at high pressure and 40 minutes in cooking duration. You can adjust the time to a low of 20 minutes. It has to be 45 minutes of soaking in warm water then 60 minutes for cooking for a higher cooking time.
That depends on the type of grain being cooked.
- The rice preset is all set. There is no way to make adjustments. It will automatically choose the pressure and cook time depending on the amount of content.
- Yogurt makes sticky rice, pasteurize yogurt, and prepare yogurt.
A button is used instead of the preset cooking time. Using the manual button, you set the cooking duration and the pressure. There is a +/- option on the bottom of the display. That allows the user to adjust the cooking time to what’s desirable.
The pressure button located below the +/- buttons adjust the pressure. Note that when you switch to manual, the pressure switches to high.
Sautéing is the art of cooking in a small amount of heated oil. They are usually referred to as frying. An IP has a sauté option that allows the user to sauté until brown or as preferred. It is also an option for stewing and roasting.
The just button best to the pressure button allows you to change the temperature. Lower temperatures are best for stewing and higher tempers for roasting.
How To Release Pressure In A Pressure Cooker
After cooking, there will be a lot of pressure buildup inside the pot. It is not advisable to remove the lid just like that. It is dangerous as you might sustain burns. Steam is way hotter than boiling water, and the burns are painful, to put it mildly.
Fortunately, IPs come with instructions on how to release the pressure. They include:
That is the best option for those foods you do not want to cook longer—for example, steamed vegetables. You open the quick-release controller located on the lid in a quick release. That will allow the steam to escape quickly.
Be careful and avoid the direction of the steam. The release duration will depend on the quantity of the content in the pot.
Natural release is referred to as added cooking time. If the food you are cooking requires additional cooking time, this is the best option. As long as the dish’s integrity is not at stake, the natural release is the way to go. Meats and grains fall into this category.
Some specific recipes will indicate this type of pressure release. Note that this might take more than half an hour, so it is best to understand the recipe first. Thirty minutes is long enough to overcook some foods in an IP.
Instant Pot Misconception
Although many will term the name misleading, most IPs are about time management rather than time itself. IPs do not cook food instantly. They might take longer than the other modes of cooking.
The mechanism of the pot is that it takes some 15 or more minutes to heat up and create enough heat and pressure to cook. That added to the recommended time to cook increases the cooking time.
However, you can set the pressure, temperature, and timer with IPs and then go about other businesses. It will not burn or overcook. The best part is that the food will be kept warm for 9 hours plus.
What To Cook With Instant Pots
Instant Pots are pressure cookers. That means they depend on the pressure created by steam to cook different foods. If there is no liquid in a pot to create steam, there will be pressure buildup, and hence no cooking will take place.
In this regard, foods such as grains, meat stews, vegetables that you can steam, broths, and so on will do great with IPs.
Benefits Of Instant Pots
Using an instant pot has numerous advantages. It takes advantage of pressure cooking and preset features to a new level. Here are some advantages.
1. Time management
Instant Pots are handy when you are short on time. It keeps you from looking into pots trying to gauge if they are ready or not. Thanks to the preset feature, you can place the food in the pot, set the required time and pressure, and work on other things that need your attention.
2. It is a healthier choice
The cooking process uses more pressure than heat. That means that the cooking process is steaming, which is a healthier way to cook. Too much heat as in the vase of grilling and frying will kill the nutrients in foods such as vegetables.
Steaming leaves the food cooked with minimal effect on the nutrients.
3. Preset Features
The IP comes with a preset feature. That means that you can cook foods such as meat stew, porridge, vegetables, and grains thanks to preset pressure and time. This feature saves more than just time. It ensures the food is cooking at the right time at the right temperature and pressure.
4. Energy saver
IPs are considered the most efficient energy savers compared to most homes’ burners. IPs consume less energy hence leaving you with more pocket change, Not to mention your contribution to climate change.
Instant Pots are becoming a standard fixture in every modern home kitchen. They are efficient and time savers. They also offer hope for those who have no cooking skills. All the features make cooking a breeze. It is also a lifesaver for those who are health-conscious.
That said, it is essential to know all about the features in an IP, such as the meaning of LO. This way, it is much easier to use and enjoy the benefits in their entirety. We hope this read has been an eye-opener and gives you a glimpse of what an Instant Pot is.