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The Instant Pot Thread

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Since the Instant Pot is a common topic in the "Indispensable Kitchen Gadgets" thread, I thought it deserved its own topic.

If you have questions about what an IP is, what it does, should you get it, how it compares to anything else, etc. please discuss it here. Please feel free to share any tips and recipes as well. 

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Okay; so what is an Instant Pot exactly, and how is it different from any other cooking device?

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49 minutes ago, Trini said:

Okay; so what is an Instant Pot exactly, and how is it different from any other cooking device?

It's an electric pressure cooker that can also be used as a crock pot and yogurt maker. 

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3 hours ago, Lisin said:

It's an electric pressure cooker that can also be used as a crock pot and yogurt maker. 

I never used a pressure cooking before. How complicated is it? Also, how would one make yogurt in the Instant Pot? That sounds interesting.

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5 hours ago, Trini said:

Okay; so what is an Instant Pot exactly, and how is it different from any other cooking device?

I asked myself that for some time, and finally looked it up after so much chatter about it.  It's a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan, and warming pot, with the selling point it's all those things in one.  I don't use a pressure cooker, use my crock pot/slow cooker maybe once a year, make rice only a few times a year (and easily do so on the stove), never make yogurt, and steam, sauté and warm regularly, but easily on the stove.  It's not for me; just another thing to gather dust.  But it seems the idea for those who use multiple cooking implements for those various functions is that this one thing could replace them all.

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I love mine because it helps me stay organized.  A lot of bloggers say crap like "A  Whole Dinner in 10 Minutes!" which isn't exactly true.  The pot has to come up to pressure and then come down from pressure.  Some things aren't as fast as you'd think.

BUT why I love it is I can put my stuff in and like go take a shower or get some work done.  No watching, stirring or babysitting involved.  I love my slow cooker too, but I'm gone 14 hours a day and everything gets dried out and starts tasting the same.  The Instant Pot infuses flavor into everything.  Things taste like they've been marinating for hours when you don't have to marinate them at all.

For busy people that are trying to stay away from fast food and take out it is really a good option.  

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I am just getting to know mine.

I have used a stove top pressure cooker for many years to make chicken and vegetable stock, but not too many other things. 

The instant pot made a perfect batch of chicken stock with my first attempt. It also did it more efficiently and cleaner than the stove top model, so that alone makes it a decent tool to add to my kitchen for the rest of my life. And because it's cleaner and more efficient, I took a crack at something else I've always wanted to try in my pressure cooker, and that was Texas Chili. I followed this recipe pretty closely, however in the future I will start messing with the spices. The meat itself came out perfectly cooked and tender, which to me is the whole point. I will definitely attempt short ribs and other similar items this winter.  

The other early win for me with this tool is the baked potato. I dropped three big Idaho potatoes on the steamer rack with a cup of water, hit it on high pressure for 12 minutes and let it cool naturally. In a half hour I had three perfectly cooked potatoes. This discovery puts the baked potato into the standard weeknight dinner plans. 

I also tried using it for hard cooked eggs, which seems to be a big hit with people. My first batch was a little under where I like them, but it certainly was easy. I may or may not use it for eggs over the boiling method in the future. It's a nice, simple and clean way to cook eggs. 

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5 minutes ago, JTMacc99 said:

I am just getting to know mine.

I have used a stove top pressure cooker for many years to make chicken and vegetable stock, but not too many other things. 

The instant pot made a perfect batch of chicken stock with my first attempt. It also did it more efficiently and cleaner than the stove top model, so that alone makes it a decent tool to add to my kitchen for the rest of my life. And because it's cleaner and more efficient, I took a crack at something else I've always wanted to try in my pressure cooker, and that was Texas Chili. I followed this recipe pretty closely, however in the future I will start messing with the spices. The meat itself came out perfectly cooked and tender, which to me is the whole point. I will definitely attempt short ribs and other similar items this winter.  

The other early win for me with this tool is the baked potato. I dropped three big Idaho potatoes on the steamer rack with a cup of water, hit it on high pressure for 12 minutes and let it cool naturally. In a half hour I had three perfectly cooked potatoes. This discovery puts the baked potato into the standard weeknight dinner plans. 

I also tried using it for hard cooked eggs, which seems to be a big hit with people. My first batch was a little under where I like them, but it certainly was easy. I may or may not use it for eggs over the boiling method in the future. It's a nice, simple and clean way to cook eggs. 

I was always to afraid to use the stovetop one.  When I was a little kid my Grandma's exploded.  I think there were chicken parts on her ceiling for years.  It didn't faze her though...lol

I won't cook hard boiled eggs any other way now.  The shells come off so clean and so easy.

This is my before and after.  I swear the Instant Pot is what got me to goal this time!  I rarely eat out anymore - and furthermore I don't want to because I make better stuff at home :)

 

after.JPG

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My first, and so far only, meal in the IP was BBQ ribs and they came out great.  I took a fairly big rack of Costco dry-rubbed ribs and cooked them at high pressure for 24 minutes, natural release for 15 minutes then vented.

 I used a YouTube video recipe as my guide.  Having the video to show my mother really calmed nerves about the process.  I don’t think she trusted me that I was doing it right until she could see how others did it.   

Mom still thinks she wants to keep one of her stove-top pressure cookers for now, but she has consented to it going on a closet shelf.  She was pretty impressed - not an easy thing to accomplish. 

 

The biggest bonus, and the reason I wanted to try ribs, is probably not one that others will see.  I have a cat that hates it when she smells hot grease or anything burning in the oven.  (I swear I doesn’t happen that often.)  Our oven rib recipe called for 30 minutes at a very high temp then 90 minutes at a lower temp.  As the fat would start to sizzle fairly quickly, the cat would start meowing, loudly, until the oven was off.  She reactes the same to bacon cooking in the oven.  I felt terrible for causing the cat such distress, so it is IP ribs from now on.  At least the bacon doesn’t cook for very long and if I remember to open a window and turn on the vent fan, she doesn’t complain too long.

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I agree.  While I love my crockpot for transporting food to parties, the Instant Pot has replaced it for slow cooker type food like pot roast.  The meat is just more tender, moist and tasty to me.  And don't forget the eggs.  Nothing peels faster than an egg cooked in the Instant pot.  I also appreciate that you can brown your meat in the same appliance you are pressure or slow cooking it in.  My slow cooker doesn't have that feature, though I know some do.

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4 hours ago, mansonlamps said:

I agree.  While I love my crockpot for transporting food to parties, the Instant Pot has replaced it for slow cooker type food like pot roast.  The meat is just more tender, moist and tasty to me.

Do you use the slow cook or the pressure cook to make pot roast? 

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I'm thinking of buying one and just read Amazon's detailed pros/cons review of various types of instant pots (stovetop and electric) plus standard pressure cookers. Kind of fascinating!

Edited by 2727

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I bought a Fagor 8-1 Versa Pot at BB&B. I made a great pot roast with carrots and potatoes using the pressure function.

I'm still struggling with the hard boiled eggs. I can get the eggs cooked, but the shells just slipping off is eluding me. My best luck was 14 minutes low pressure, quick release. 2 of 5 eggs came out well, the other 3 had whites sticking to the shell, even peeling under running water. I'm open to any suggestions.

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Wow, congrats, @kj4ever! It sounds like you took a healthy approach to weight loss and it shows. I am going to frequent the 30 point life site that you referenced. Looks interesting!

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12 hours ago, chessiegal said:

I bought a Fagor 8-1 Versa Pot at BB&B. I made a great pot roast with carrots and potatoes using the pressure function.

I'm still struggling with the hard boiled eggs. I can get the eggs cooked, but the shells just slipping off is eluding me. My best luck was 14 minutes low pressure, quick release. 2 of 5 eggs came out well, the other 3 had whites sticking to the shell, even peeling under running water. I'm open to any suggestions.

I do 3 minutes high pressure, 5 minute natural release, then release pressure and fill the pot with cold water.  It makes them perfect (for me).

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14 hours ago, chessiegal said:

I bought a Fagor 8-1 Versa Pot at BB&B. I made a great pot roast with carrots and potatoes using the pressure function.

I'm still struggling with the hard boiled eggs. I can get the eggs cooked, but the shells just slipping off is eluding me. My best luck was 14 minutes low pressure, quick release. 2 of 5 eggs came out well, the other 3 had whites sticking to the shell, even peeling under running water. I'm open to any suggestions.

14 minutes sounds like a really long time; all of the "recipes" I've seen are for between 5 and 8 minutes.  I like my eggs DONE, and 5 minutes works great for me.  You don't mention putting the eggs in an ice bath or even in cold water after the pressure release; if you're not doing that, it might be part of your problem.  I do 5 min under pressure, natural release for 5 min, and then fill up the pot with cold water and let them sit for about 20 min.  Shells come right off.

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I've been putting the eggs in cold water, but not for 20 minutes, just until they weren't hot anymore.. I tried 5 minutes at high pressure, quick release, cold water. I got soft cooked eggs that were miserable to peel. I might try 5 minute high with natural release. (The 14 minute was on low pressure, not high - found a website that recommended it.)

ETA: Just tried 5 minutes high pressure, natural release, cold water for 20 minutes. It worked!

Edited by chessiegal
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Holy smokes, I just realized I can probably make a corned beef in this thing. My first internet search says 90 minutes on high or meat/stew, four cups of water, couple cloves of garlic, spices, and set the beef on the rack. Quick release when it's done, and take it out of the pot. Then cook the cabbage, carrots and potatoes on high for 5-6 minutes without removing the liquid. 

I can see me doing this fairly soon. 

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I made a turkey breast dinner (kinda failed - had to place it in the broiler to thoroughly cook the meat) and salsa chicken (all you need is salsa and chicken!  Fifteen minutes in pressure cook and quick release.  That's it!) so far.  The salsa chicken lasts three meals for the two of us (I still have one in the freezer) and is pretty good!  I'm attempting meatloaf next. 

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I thought natural release was reccomended for most thick cuts of meat since it seals the juices in?

I've had mine for awhile and joined IP Facebook groups where I've read many recipes. I'm going to finally make something in mine soon. I feel like an idiot letting a kitchen appliance intimidate me like this.

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After I finally successfully made easy to peel hard boiled eggs today in my electric pressure cooker, I saw Alton Brown make them in his "electric kettle". his was an induction heating model like my KitchenAid. Put eggs in pot with cold water, heat to boiling, let pot turn off, let sit for 15 minutes, pour off hot water, replace with cold, let sit a few minutes and peel. I gave it a try and the eggs came out perfectly with the shell just falling off. I feel like I have now conquered easy hard boiled eggs.

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So glad I found this board!  I'm on the verge of pulling the trigger on one of two models, and I'm just wondering if anyone can nudge me in one direction or the other.  There's the Crock-Pot for $69.95 on Amazon and the Instant Pot, which I just now discovered has become unavailable in the model I was looking at yesterday, so I guess it'd be this one, which is ten bucks more than the one that just disappeared.  The main difference I can see is that the Crock-Pot has a nonstick coating on its pot and the Instant Pot is stainless steel.  I don't know if the nonstick is the old-fashioned kind or the newer ceramic, which I like.  Reviewers are expressing concerns about scratches in the nonstick.  All things being equal, I always prefer stainless, but it hurts to spend $60 more for just that one difference--that's almost double the price!  Any recommendations?

Also, thanks so much @chessiegal for the kettle method of hard-boiling eggs.  I tried one (too chicken--ha, ha--to try more than one) yesterday, and it came out great!  The only thing I'm going to do differently next time is pierce the fat end of the egg.  Yesterday's had a big air pocket at that end, so I'm going to see if I can eliminate that and get a perfect oval shape.  But I'm obsessed with getting eggs that peel without any damage, and this seems to be the easiest way so far!

Edited by Mondrianyone · Reason: punctuation fetish

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58 minutes ago, Mondrianyone said:

So glad I found this board!  I'm on the verge of pulling the trigger on one of two models, and I'm just wondering if anyone can nudge me in one direction or the other.  There's the Crock-Pot for $69.95 on Amazon and the Instant Pot, which I just now discovered has become unavailable in the model I was looking at yesterday, so I guess it'd be this one, which is ten bucks more than the one that just disappeared.  The main difference I can see is that the Crock-Pot has a nonstick coating on its pot and the Instant Pot is stainless steel.  I don't know if the nonstick is the old-fashioned kind or the newer ceramic, which I like.  Reviewers are expressing concerns about scratches in the nonstick.  All things being equal, I always prefer stainless, but it hurts to spend $60 more for just that one difference--that's almost double the price!  Any recommendations?

I have a couple thoughts. First, the stainless steel is terrific, and really what I think is necessary with a pressure cooker. Second, I have to think that the 6-quart 7 in 1 will eventually be restocked.  Third, if you don't want to wait around for the restock, I would definitely recommend using the $130 to purchase the 8-quart 7 in 1 as opposed to the 6-quart 9 in 1 you linked me to at Amazon. 

You would definitely get more use out of the two extra quarts than the two extra features.

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52 minutes ago, JTMacc99 said:

I have a couple thoughts. First, the stainless steel is terrific, and really what I think is necessary with a pressure cooker. Second, I have to think that the 6-quart 7 in 1 will eventually be restocked.  Third, if you don't want to wait around for the restock, I would definitely recommend using the $130 to purchase the 8-quart 7 in 1 as opposed to the 6-quart 9 in 1 you linked me to at Amazon. 

You would definitely get more use out of the two extra quarts than the two extra features.

My friend bought one with the Teflon and had to throw it away after like 4 months because of scratches/flaking issues.  I think it was like Power XL or something?  I prefer to cook with stainless so that's actually why I went with the Instant Pot.  I have the 6 and the 8 quart.  I have a problem...lol

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I went with the Instant Pot for the simple reason that it was what all of the cookbooks and online stuff was written about.  I know nothing about pressure cookers and I didn’t want to have to figure out what a setting on the IP corresponded to on another brand or if the “whatever” brand was hotter or faster or ... than the IP.  

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In my experience most recipes work on the IP. i have an older pressure cooker recipe from when I got my stoveyop pressure cooker amd they worked with no modifications in the IP.

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I took my husband to the Urgent Care Dept of our HMO facility this morning. We left in such a hurry I forgot to take water with me. I went to the food kiosk to get a bottle of water, and saw an Instant Pot behind the counter. I thought - hum. I was too upset to ask what they had in there - maybe oatmeal? Or keeping soup hot?

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So I put the instant pot to good use yesterday. With the second day of dreary cold rainy weather, I was reminded of the lentil soup I used to make. So at the supermarket I made sure to pick up a bag of lentils and a jar of decent tomato sauce (I'll come back to that) and set it all aside until I came back from visiting my parents for lunch.

The plan was to make a batch of vegetable stock in the instant pot at 3:30, which gave me the hour I needed to go see a really cool live music show around the corner at the local craft brewery. I would get home at 4:30, toss all of the rest of the ingredients into a soup pot and be ready to eat by 5:30.

But here's what actually happened: I got home at 4:30 and the girl pre-disliked the soup and asked for fake chicken nuggets for dinner instead. The vegetarian didn't like the smell of the vegetable stock and therefore decided she wasn't going to like the soup. I was going out of my way to make a batch that was pure vegetarian before splitting it and adding smoked ham to my half. 

So that was issue one. Issue two was that I haven't made this soup in a long time and completely forgot that the short cooking time of like 30 minutes is only because I was supposed to soak the lentils for several hours ahead of time. Oops.

If only I had a pressure cooker...

So here's what I made, its from a cookbook called Modern Italian Cooking:

2 cups of dried lentils, rinsed and picked over

5 cups of chicken broth

5 cups of water (As explained above, I used 10 cups of vegetable stock. I believe the chicken stock/water would be a superior choice)

1 Smoked Ham Shank (I used an 8 ounce hickory smoked ham steak diced into small pieces)

28 ounces of tomato sauce  (You can make your own with a can of crushed tomatoes, onions, etc. or just use a jar of good sauce)

Throw the whole lot of it into the instant pot, cook on high for 20 minutes. Let it cool naturally or at least 5 minutes before releasing the steam.

I waited about 8 minutes because it was now 6:00 and I was hungry. 

Serve with grated cheese.

 

From a Weight Watchers perspective, and calling a serving size somewhere between 1.5 - 2 cups, it's three points without the cheese.

If you make your own tomato sauce and skimp out on the olive oil you can probably get it down to 2 points, but then you'll definitely need the cheese. It's not actually a bad trade off.

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9 hours ago, BW Manilowe said:

That article is misleading, it is not the popular Instant pot tgat it is pictured. Its the much less popular GEM 65, this article has the correct picture if you scroll past the video which isn't the pressure cooker multicooker that most people own.

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I got an instant pot for my birthday last month!  Hurray.  Now I don't just make soup on the weekend.  :)  Don't get me wrong, I have made other things, but getting a good soup in 20ish minutes is so great.  I tend to make soup or chili every weekend (yes, even in the summer), so this is a big win for me.

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Enjoy it @aquarian1. It's fun tool.

I was thinking about making short ribs last weekend in my instant pot. I went in a different direction, but it's on the table now. 

The big question now is do I use it to make my corned beef on Saturday.

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1 hour ago, JTMacc99 said:

The big question now is do I use it to make my corned beef on Saturday.

I found quite a few recipes for it when I just looked in a couple of the Facebook IP groups I'm a member of. Pretty much all of them include cabbage except for one so far. I can link to some of the ones posted from various sites if you want.

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Thank you! I'll browse through them and see if anything sounds too good for me not to try. 

I actually gave it a test run with a corned beef back in January and it came out fine but I didn't like the vegetables. I may use it to cook just the beef and then go with colcannon instead of the traditional potatoes, carrots and cabbage. 

I want the corned beef to be tender. I have it down to a science the traditional way, but the instant pot has a couple giant advantages if I can get it just right. (Advantages: Cooking time goes from forever to totally convenient less than an hour, and things don't smell like corned beef in my house for a day.)

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On 3/13/2018 at 12:56 PM, JTMacc99 said:

Advantages: Cooking time goes from forever to totally convenient less than an hour, and things don't smell like corned beef in my house for a day.)

No smell! That is one of my favorite things about the instant pot. I cook frozen fish fillets a lot and never have that fishy smell lingering in my house. 

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I finally got one of these. I have cooked a few things, but have some questions.

Can I cook round steak and potatoes (for mashing) at the same time? Would I put the potatoes on the grate thing (I can't remember what it is called).

And if I add broccoli to mac and cheese, do I need to add more liquid?

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59 minutes ago, chessiegal said:

Macy's has Instant Pots on sale for $59.99.

They will probably be cheap on AmazonPrime day which is now two days 7/15-7/16 because they have gone on sale there every year.

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Finally got around to making a cheesecake in the IP, not a huge timesaver because it still has to chill but absolute spot on texture so will definitely be doing it in the future. Bonus is that it’s significantly smaller so I eat less of it, downside it’s significantly smaller so there is less to eat. 

Edited by biakbiak
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Just moved an IP-full of yogurt into the fridge. I've made the IP cold start version with Fairlife and sweetened condensed milk (so good), but wanted a batch with less sugar. It looks thick and I haven't drained it yet. 

Have also made my favorite red sauce in it, taking a half hour to get what 3+ hours on the stovetop turns out. 

Edited by buttersister
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I am late to the party, as usual, but I just acquired an Instant Pot.  My mother was given one that she doesn't need and won't use (she's retired, she doesn't care how long it takes to make food), and she passed it off to me.

I find that the small booklet that came with it is lacking.  Does anyone have any recommendations for recipe books?  Or even just a general cooking guide?  Like cooking chicken or other meat from frozen?  Or fish -- can you cook any fish, or does it need to be a sturdy fish like salmon or tuna?  I like the idea of a baked potato in 12 minutes, @JTMacc99!  But I need a bit more guidance!

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Not cookbooks but three sites that definitely helped me out when I got one Amy & Jacky’s Pressure Cooker Recipes they go through how they developed each with the timing and different steps so really gives you an idea of how it works and the recipes are good. Also for more tasty recipes This Old Gal (the cheesecake recipe is divine and Nom Nom Paleo (I am not Paleo but all of her meat recipes have been fantastic. If there is an ingredient that I don’t have that is used to keep it Paleo, I just omit or use a substitute.

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I'll have to look at those sites. I bought an IP a couple of years ago and have been afraid to use it...old lady here not used to pressure cooking. I have since bought a small crock pot that I am comfortable with, but I would like to have the  confidence to use the IP at some point.

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3 hours ago, Gramto6 said:

I'll have to look at those sites. I bought an IP a couple of years ago and have been afraid to use it...old lady here not used to pressure cooking. I have since bought a small crock pot that I am comfortable with, but I would like to have the  confidence to use the IP at some point.

Most of the horror stories are about stovetop pressure cookers exploding and they don’t even happen anymore because they have a basic safety lock  that they didn’t used to have, so there is really no need to fear it! 

Edited by biakbiak
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Back in the 70s, my mother used a stove-top pressure cooker/canner to can vegetables.  I was terrified of that thing!  I avoided the kitchen on canning days.  But I hope I can get this IP going.  I am the queen of forgetting to thaw meat and I end up eating a lot of pasta at suppertime.  

Thanks for the recs!  I'll check those out.

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