An Exploration of the New

Before I get started, a request of my growing number of followers. Please SHARE on your own social media channels! Twitter is coming for this blog soon but in the meantime, please share with your other frugal friends. I could throw money at boosting my social media presence but…wait, we are a frugal bunch here aren’t we. So, like my garden, let’s grown the frugal community organically.

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I am not a fan of birthdays, my own in particular. I have a life long history of avoiding birthdays and have strongly discouraged any fuss for decades. I have finally come to a place where I simply tell people what to get me (gift cards work best) and inform my partner of how my day is going to go from where we are eating to when my massage is scheduled. Simple.

I also think that as we age, giving people gift cards may just be the best way to go. I am not materialistic by any means and as I grown older I find there are fewer and fewer things that I actually want and if I actually do want something, I tend to prefer to purchase it myself.

And I wanted an Instapot . You know, that all-in-one minor appliance that you can use as a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, pressure cooker, cake cooker, sauté and more. Lest anyone think I am the type enamored by shiny new kitchen toys, I truly am not. I was drawn to this particular device out of sheer practicality; I have pitiful little space in my kitchen and even less counter space. To have an appliance that basically does it all is something I can really get behind.

So I bought myself one. Of course I frugally used birthday money. Of course.

My present arrived in the usual brown box yesterday and I’ve been eyeing it ever since. I need me time to unwrap and explore and figure out how best to use this tool. I not only want to use it to save valuable counter space but to save money on food and meal prep. I actually have a pressure cooker but I never use it. I have to haul it out of storage, clear a space for it and then clean and return it to storage. It’s simply too much work in a tiny kitchen but I am thinking that now that I have a tool that serves so many purposes, I will use the pressure cooker option more often. I also believe if the fryer option works as hoped then I can re-gift my pressure cooker. At my age and with my time constraints, less is definitely more.

The only thing I refuse to get rid of is my juicer. It’s a monster but I love it even though cleaning it is quite the process. When they come out with one that works the way mine does but takes up half the real estate, I will definitely consider replacing what I have. Maybe. It would have to be some amazing juicer for me to spend money and replace a perfectly good appliance.

As I opened the heavy box and took my first good look, I realized it looked exactly like a pressure cooker only it had a lot of buttons (actually it has 12 button options) and maybe took up a bit less counterspace. I would have preferred an air fryer function over a porridge option but I have not read the manual so maybe there is still a way to use it to air fry various foods. I need this function in my kitchen because my partner eats way too much fried food and I have just recently trained him up to think that food coming out of the air fryer is EXACTLY THE SAME as food fried in oil. As if. Hilarious.

My initial impression is that I like the footprint. It takes up less room than my beloved crock pot and because counter space is so sparse, this is a definite plus. There is also a colorful mini-poster inside the box showing with cook times for a wide variety of foods. Nice. I have decided my maiden run with this puppy will be an artichoke. I just bought a couple of artichokes which generally take upwards of an hour to cook on the stove. I hope the Instapot  will make short work of them. The Instapot website says large chokes can be cooked in 8 to 9 minutes. Can’t wait to see if that is the case.

Post Mortem:

I spent the better part of my cooking time this past weekend putting the new Instapot through its paces. I tested the pressure cooker numerous times and found that along with the slow cooker option, it worked perfectly fine. True to its claim, large artichokes take nine minutes though the second choke I pressure cooked I elected to cook it for ten as it was slightly larger. Perfect. I also pressure cooked frozen solid, very large, chicken quarters. From the time I threw them in the pot with a couple of cuts of water to the time they were done, was precisely 22 minutes.

Only…..not quite. When you use the pressure cooker option, you have to wait for about five minutes for the heating element to be ready. It is a small price to pay but be sure but you should definitely factor in heating up time. Other options don’t seem to have a wait time or it is just very quick to heat. I used the soup/;broth option to reduce the chicken broth that was extracted from the chicken quarters and that took the normal amount of time, about 30 minutes, so no time saver there although it was in the same pot so I simply pushed another button and kept going. The Instapot is a very decent way to multi-task in the kitchen.

All in all, I find the Instapot to be an excellent option for a wide variety of uses in the kitchen. I recommend mastering the pressure cooker option first and foremost because it saves the most time and makes short work of many time-consuming cooking tasks while allowing you to make quick work of tougher cuts of meat. The fact that this appliance takes up significantly less space on my counter is a genuine bonus in my space-starved kitchen. Tonight I will test out the rice and the sauté options because I am making beef tips and rice but I already have a strong belief that both options will work out just fine. All in all, my initial recommendation is that the Instapot is a versatile kitchen tool which actually encourages pressure cooking because the option is so readily available and cooks no longer have to haul out another appliance.

Next up: checking out the Instapot and how it stacks up with respect to stews, chilis and beans, oh my. The testing of tough meat cuts and the cooking down of beans and other legumes.

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