December 8, 2018 at 11:38 am #887160TraijanParticipant
Is there a way that I can test my Instant Pot’s slow cooker function?
I tried making a pot roast using the slow cook function and after 8 hours the halved potatoes and carrots were basically raw, so I turned it to pressure cook for about 10 to 15 minutes (I don’t recall if I had it on low slow cook or high slow cook but 8 hours is 8 hours so it should have been done).
Is there a test to tell if it’s working properly, such as add xx amount of water and put on slow cook for xx time then measure the temp of the water?
ThanksDecember 8, 2018 at 3:31 pm #887165GregParticipant
I don’t know any specific test for the IP slow cooker function. Nor for that matter what it should be.
But I do know that veggies need to reach about 85°C (185°F) or thereabouts for the pectins in the vegetable matter to break down. I sous vide my beetroots at 88°C for about an hour for deep red goodness.
So measure the temperature in your IP in slow cooker mode after a few hours heating. If you are not at or near 85° (Kenji who I trust almost as much as Laura says 84°C is the magic temperature) those root veg are not ever going to cook. It may be that you will need to use “high” for a few hours then switch to low. Depending on the model you have, your IP may be able to do this automagically.December 15, 2018 at 4:56 pm #887179SuzanneParticipant
Traijan, the Instant Pot’s slow cooker function often disappoints. User reviews on Amazon attest to that. This is why.
The America’s Test Kitchen group tested how hot multicookers slow cooked. Instant Pot “maxed out at 206.2 degrees, compared to 207.9 to 214.1 degrees in the other models, a 1.7- to 7.9‑degree difference. . . Unsurprisingly, the Instant Pot had the least amount of energy reaching the food: 0.19 watts per cubic centimeter, compared to 0.21 to 0.23 watts per cubic centimeter in the other models. While seemingly minuscule, these differences mean that the Instant Pot had 7.6 percent to 18.5 percent less available energy to cook with than the other models did. No wonder it ran slower.”
(You must click the Read More link to access the review)
The review further states that the lower operating temperature plays out most unfavorably when what is cooked is dense, such as chili or ribs. I would include your raw carrots and potatoes in that category.
Greg, even though the IP does exceed the critical temperature you cite for veg, the heat is transmitted by air/steam and only from the bottom of the pot. Maybe the more direct and enveloping heat transmission of sou vide is more effective at breaking down the veg at low temperatures??January 9, 2019 at 5:00 am #887441villandraParticipant
I’m finding that things are taking twice as long as they should to steam – unless it’s the instructions that are batty, which seems possible, given the range in times for doing anything, eg 4 to 18 minutes, 15 to 40 minutes. The pressure cooking function itself seems to work on steam, though I used a generous setting and presoaked and boiled the beans, and I’ve only tried it on one recipe.
How does one check the temperature and pressure inside the instant pot?January 12, 2019 at 9:20 pm #887798GregParticipant
“How does one check the temperature and pressure inside the instant pot? ”
With difficulty. As the pot is sealed, you cannot just run a wired probe into it. Because it is a Faraday Cage (Metal box) you cannot use a wireless transmitter.
I know that Laura uses a sealed logging probe and checks the results after the event. Short of cutting holes in the lid, I cannot think of any other way.
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