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Crazy accidents happen all the time when you’re messing around with a pressure cooker for the first time.
When you’re working on assembling your instant pot, sometimes things can get complicated, and I for one, get paranoid about the possible mishaps that could happen.
Some instant pot guides and reviews give a good understanding of the precautions you need to observe when you’re using an instant pot. But some of them don’t provide a detailed analysis of what’s necessary when using this powerful piece of cooking equipment.
We’ll give you a quick rundown on the basic dos and don’ts you need to follow when cooking with your Instant Pot.
Avoid Accidental Burns
Trust me, you’re going to regret the $100 you spent on the Instant Pot Ultra when your hand or face is placed directly on its steam release valve. It seems pretty obvious, but it’s actually the most common source of burns for instant pot owners.
In general, don’t touch the instant pot on the surface when it’s in the heat of cooking. The heat can get up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit, which can give you a first-degree burn if your hand stays on the surface for even a few seconds. Use the handles all the time and be extra cautious when the instant pot contains hot liquids.
When cooking, make sure the lid is tightly closed before you start cooking, and the steam valve must be sealed for all programs under pressure cooking.
When cleaning the equipment, make sure that it has already cooled down before you start removing individual parts.
Also, make sure the pot and its electric cord are out of children’s reach at all times. Don’t ever use with extension wires and MAKE SURE not use outlets below the counter that are accessible to children.
Ensuring Equipment Safety
When using an instant pot, make sure that your house follows the standard North American electrical system. All packaging materials and warning stickers must also be removed from the cooker and its accessories.
And the important parts such as the sealing ring rack, float valve, the steam release must be carefully studied for any damage and installed correctly before using.
And please don’t make the mistake of placing the Instant Pot near other cooking equipment such as the burner, stove, etc. Cords and other accessories must not be hanging over the edge of table counters, and make sure those cords stay away from hot surfaces.
Finally, to avoid damaging the heating element of the pot, don’t move it while it’s cooking, and make sure that the outer part of the inner pot is dry and doesn’t have any remaining food debris before you pop it back in for cooking.
Avoid Electric Shocks
It seems obvious, but getting electrocuted is a common problem when it comes to instant pots. Make sure to insert the power cord into the pot first before connecting it to the wall outlet. Make sure that’s its snug, and turn the control knob to the OFF setting before disconnecting the plug from the wall.
If there’s any damage to the power cord, call your vendor and immediately have it replaced. If your instant pot is malfunctioning in any way, also call the vendor and have it replaced. It’s not worth the $100 that you spent to end up electrocuted and in the hospital.
Never ever immerse the pot’s electrical parts in water or any liquid. You already know what could happen.
Avoiding Equipment Damage
You don’t want to throw your money down the drain so carefully follow these instructions to avoid equipment damage:
- Follow advised liquid level warnings. Pre-cooked foods cooking on pressure programs must not go beyond the ⅔ line and foods that expand, like rice, must not go beyond the ½ full as it can clog the steam release. Non-pressure cooking programs do not need to follow level warnings.
- Foods that foam, froth, or sputter like berries, oatmeal’s, macaroni, spaghetti, etc can also clog steam release. Do not cook them on pressure cooking unless directed by an Instant Pot authored recipe.
- Any sign of leakage is an indication of damage to the cooker, and use must be stopped immediately.
Maintaining Proper Cleaning
Accidents often happen because of a dirty pot. Remaining food debris in the outer part of your pot can be tough to scrape off, but the consequences of not cleaning can be serious.
Improper placement of sealing rings and silicone rings can also cause accidents as hot steam can get out and burn your unprotected skin. Make sure these sealing rings are in mint condition and are carefully cleaned throughout the life of your instant pot. They should always be properly positioned on the lid’s underside.
Do not use harsh chemicals or detergents when cleaning your cooker. And regularly check the condition of the steam and float valve to ensure that they’re ready for your instant pot’s next use.
What You Should Take Away
Instant pots are awesome, but safety is of the utmost importance when you’re using them. Like a lot of cool kitchen devices, they can save time, money, and most importantly, they can make a week’s worth of tasty meals in under an hour.
However, it’s not worth the time, money and tastiness if the consequence is a trip to the hospital. So follow this guide and you’ll stay accident-free with your instant pot for life.