If you have heard of an instant pot you are probably wondering what is so special about it. Basically, an instant pot is an electric pressure cooker that can heat water under pressure up to 120 °C compared to the normal boiling point of water which is 100°C. Similar to a slow cooker, an instant pot contains an inner pot that is heated by an electric element situated in the bottom of the unit. The multi-purpose Instant Pot speeds up the cooking process and replaces other kitchen appliances such as a steamer, rice cooker, sterilizer, and yogurt maker.
The Benefits of an Instant Pot
There are many benefits to cooking with an Instant Pot like saving energy and time, retaining more nutrients and vitamins when cooking food, eliminating harmful toxins, and preserving the appearance and taste of food.
Saving Energy and Time
An Instant Pot is an energy-efficient kitchen appliance that will save you time and energy. Two major factors that contribute to its energy efficiency are:
1. The fully insulated cooking chamber or inner pot that allows the cooker to heat up without using too much energy.
2. Because the method of cooking requires less liquid to cook food it will get to the boiling point much faster.
It is estimated that cooking time and energy usage can be reduced by up to 70% when using an Instant Pot compared to other methods of cooking such as boiling, steaming, roasting, or baking.
Retaining Essential Nutrients
Boiling and steaming methods of cooking cause water-soluble nutrients like vitamins to leach out during the cooking process significantly diminishing the nutritional value of the cooked food. By cooking food quickly, evenly and deeply in an Instant Pot, up to 90% of its water-soluble nutrients may be retained.
Preserving the Taste and Appearance of Food
Cooking in stove-top containers, even with a lid, exposes food to oxygen which causes diminished flavor and dulls the color of food. Cooking under pressure allows the retention of phytochemicals and the brightness of colors. The airtight design also enables flavors to develop faster and be retained for longer.
Eliminating Harmful Microorganisms
Pressure cooking creates an environment that permits water to reach temperatures higher than the normal boiling point of water which effectively destroys harmful bacteria. It’s exceptional, multi-faceted functions make it an excellent tool for sterilization of jars, baby bottles, or to sterilize water for drinking or other purposes.
Pressure cooking also effectively neutralizes various types of naturally occurring toxins such as lectins found in red kidney beans. Ingestion of just 5 undercook kidney beans can cause phytohaemagglutinin poisoning but just ten minutes of cooking kidney beans in a pressure cooker have been proven to reduce the toxic haemagglutinating units to safe levels.
Another form of toxins called aflatoxins is mold-based mycotoxins that occur when beans, wheat, corn, and rice and stored improperly and exposed to humidity. Normal boiling cannot destroy aflatoxins but in a study conducted in 2006 by Korean researchers, it was found that the higher temperature in a pressure cooker reduced aflatoxins to safe levels.
An Instant Pot provides a clean, easy, and pleasant method of cooking that provides you with tender and flavorful meals at a fraction of the time it takes to prepare conventional meals.