Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Case for the Instant Pot

In the past couple years, a kitchen implement called the Instant Pot has taken America by storm. Its primary function is as an automatic pressure cooker, but that's just where the fun starts; it can also function as a slow cooker, rice cooker, or vegetable steamer. In addition, the Instant Pot makes yogurt or certain cheeses quite easily. With so many features, I contend that the Instant Pot is a valuable item in the prepper kitchen.

Pressure cooking allows you to easily make tough cuts of meat tasty and appealing. It can salvage freezer burned cuts of meat, bringing them back to a nutritious and delicious state, and slow cooking gives cheap meat an excellent taste and texture. All of these qualities are very helpful to the prepper wallet.

Pressure cooking also drastically reduces the time to cook meals. We made lasagna in ours last night, with a cook time of roughly 30 minutes; normal cooking time is 60-90 minutes, depending on size. Both time and money are things which exist in short supply, and it saves both.

Vegetables are loaded with nutrients, but so many of the common ways to cook them leach away all the best nutrition. Steaming is one of the least damaging ways to cook vegetables, and an Instant Pot makes that easy and fast as well.

My favorite Instant Pot trick is one of the newest I've learned: making yogurt. I've loved yogurt since I was a kid, but it can turn into an expensive habit, and now I can make my own for a fraction of the cost of buying it in the store. Even better, homemade yogurt is probiotic, meaning it encourages healthy bacteria growth in the digestive tract. This sounds boring, but it's important for good health, and that's a critical thing to maintain.

Now to the big sticky question: we're all about being budget friendly here, so what's the damage from this tool getting all of my love? While they often sell upwards of $150, smaller models cost as little as $60, and can often be found for less on sale. This is still not cheap by any means, but it's definitely affordable and well worth the cost. In the near future, I'll share some recipes that demonstrate dramatic enough savings that the cost of an Instant Pot amortizes very quickly.

Make healthy food faster, prevent food waste, and save money: a prepper wins all around.


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