• By Elizabeth Coots, Extension Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences: The multicooker craze

The “instant pot,” a small kitchen appliance, is the latest craze to hit the culinary world with consumers touting health benefits and ease of use in the trendy appliance.

The Instant Pot is just one brand of multicooker. Several companies manufacture multicookers like the Instant Pot.

Multicookers have several different functions all contained in one unit. A single appliance can be used to steam, sauté, brown, slow cook, pressure cook, make yogurt or stir food while it is cooking. It depends on the unit design and brand.

The multicooker offers some great advantages over other machines. One appliance does it all so there is no need to have several different ones taking up counter space. The pressure cooker does not blow up as several safeguards have been put in place to prevent the unit from exploding. It’s fairly quick and easy to use. You can start off by browning or sautéing then transition to a slow or pressure cooking method for the same pan within seconds.

Before using, read the manual to discover the features and become familiar with the appliance. Keep the manual with the appliance in a handy location for future use. Also, make sure to register your new appliance so the manufacturer will have a record of your purchase in the event of a malfunction or recall.

Depending on the unit size, you may be limited on how much you can cook at once. You may need to invest in additional dishes or pans, made specifically for use inside the multicooker to get the most from your machine. For certain functions, cooking times do not include pre-heat time. For example, if a recipes says, “done in seven minutes,” you might need to plan for an additional seven minutes heating time prior to cooking and additional release times depending on natural or quick release.

The multicooker is a great small appliance, and the more you use it, the more comfortable and creative you become when preparing food.

For more information, join us for a class on “Electric Pressure Cookers 101” at the Woodford County Cooperative Extension Office on March 15, at 6 p.m.The class is free to attend, but registration is required and space is limited. Call 873-4601 or email elizabeth.coots@uky.edu.

Multicooker Fried Rice

Servings: 4 2 cups long grain rice (not instant) 4 cups water 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 egg 6 oz. frozen mixed vegetables Ginger or mustard sauce Steam rice according to multicooker directions for the function. Once steam is vented, remove lid and switch function to sauté. Push rice to the sides of the pan creating a well in the middle of the rice with the bottom of the pan visible. Pour oil into well, crack open the egg and add to the oil. Fry until done, chopping as you go. Once done, add mixed vegetables and stir all ingredients together. Continue to sauté until vegetables are hot and steamy. Add your favorite sauce, such as ginger or mustard, to complete this easy side dish. Approximate nutritive value per one cup serving: Calories -180, Total Fat - 5g, Cholesterol - 45mg, Sodium - 35mg, Carbs - 28g

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