Musings: Do I Really Need An Instant Pot?

We’ve survived another “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.”..those post-Thanksgiving events where retailers incite the masses into an insensate buying frenzy. I’ve already groused about disliking “Prime Day” for using similar techniques, but I do have items that I idly watch (in my cart) to see if they’re offered at a can’t-pass-it-up price. Finally, one was: an Instant Pot®. It was a “Deal of the Day” for $69.99 (regularly $139.95 on Amazon).

You may be wondering why I think I may need an Instant Pot (IP) . Based on the research I’ve performed on the IP models, the feature I’d appreciate most is the pressure cooking function, which would allow me to cook dry beans (I buy them in 50 pound bags) in about 90 minutes. Without presoaking! It sounds pretty good, right? Especially when you consider that making beans in the slow cooker involves overnight soaking (and remembering to put them in to soak before bed) and all-day cooking (on low).

The IP DUO80 8 Qt “7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer” is clearly a multi-functional appliance. Of course, I already have several slow cookers, a really good rice cooker, and I can make yogurt (if desired) using other methods, like in a slow cooker. But if I purchased the IP, I could replace all of those other appliances that take up precious shelf space, right?

Not necessarily. As I researched the IP, I read reviews from people who had purchased the unit, and some complained that it didn’t make rice well. That would be a major problem, as I have come to expect perfectly-cooked rice from my Zojirushi Induction Rice Cooker. The Zojirushi also makes a mean congee (the IP also has a congee function); further, mine is more than 10 years old, has survived several long-distance moves, and still works like a champ – hands down, the best rice cooker I’ve ever used. It looks like this particular model has been replaced by a newer one, so I guess that makes mine vintage – ha!

And yes, I do have five different slow cookers, all Crock Pot® brand. And each has proven itself valuable for specific uses. Could I pare it down to, say, three slow cookers? Maybe, but I don’t have a compelling reason to do so. The largest is probably the one I use least often, but I’ve recently discovered that it’s just the right size for making large batches of vegan dog food that I feed in combination with grain-free kibble.

The IP also has built-in “smart” programs for Soup, Meat/Stew, Bean/Chili, Poultry, Sauté, Steam, Rice, Porridge, Multigrain, Slow Cook, Keep-Warm, Yogurt, Pasteurize & Jiu Niang. I can figure out how to do these things in my slow cookers, and I don’t have need to pasteurize, so that’s not really a draw, but the Jiu Niang program is particularly intriguing. Jiu Niang is a fermented sticky rice, a popular sweet dessert in China…and can become Chinese Rice Wine if allowed to continue to ferment. That’s right up my alley, zymurgy-wise. While it can be made without an an IP, it seems like the IP streamlines the process. Points for convenience.

After giving it some serious thought, with the clock ticking on how long the “deal of the day” was available, I went with my gut and decided I didn’t need to buy that IP. I dislike feeling rushed into making a decision, and without a well-supported justification for the purchase, I decided to pass. Was I filled with regret the next morning, realizing I’d missed that deal? Nope. Quite honestly, this is a “would be nice to have”, rather than a “need to have”, for me. Would it be fun to have? Sure…and I may yet buy one someday, when I’ve adequately justified it to myself. Until then, slow food is just fine by me.

Maybe not as fancy, but still my favorite!

One thought on “Musings: Do I Really Need An Instant Pot?

  1. I use an old slow cooker that belonged to my Nana. It never lets me down and has to be about 35 years old. It’s great to have these state of the art gadgets isn’t it but not always necessary. Thanks for the article. Cheers Sebby

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