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This winter I bought an Instant Pot. I’d been hearing about them for a year and had to have one for myself. Here is the backstory to why I value my Instant Pot so much…
My health wake-up call
Four-and-a-half years ago I had a health wake-up call. My second child was a few months old when I caught a cold that would not leave. Extreme exhaustion was a normal part of my day, from the time I woke up until the mid-afternoon. Most days when 10am hit, I was so drained I could hardly walk or function and had to lie down. I decided to visit a naturopath, which was the best thing I have ever done for my health. I found out that I had adrenal fatigue, most likely brought on by food intolerances, pregnancies, stress, interrupted sleep, as well as bad eating habits. For the next two years I educated myself on feeding myself and my family nutritiously and changing my sleeping habits. When I was restored to health, I knew I was ready to be pregnant again and we had our third daughter a year later, without any of the health repercussions of the second pregnancy. I was totally aware of how to nourish my body properly this time around!
My new diet became a way of life
I read the book “Nourishing Traditions” cover to cover. This is half cookbook, half textbook. This book opened up my eyes to the problems in our modern American diets and food processing methods. I have made major changes since then, but I have to say that the food in our kitchen has remained flavorful and delicious – even more so than before these changes.
How I use my Instant Pot to make nourishing food
If you don’t know what an Instant Pot is, it is an electric pressure cooker. With it’s many safety features and automated buttons, it is a super easy-to-use pressure cooker, with “rice”, “steam”, “sauté”, “yogurt” functions that make it even more versatile. There are actually seven different functionalities on the Instant Pot.
Pressure cookers cook food in a fraction of the time it would normally take, especially root vegetables, grains, beans, and meat.
One easy, nourishing staple I added to my routine was bone broth. Almost weekly I buy an organic, free-range whole chicken from Trader Joes. This is the absolute cheapest way to buy organic, free-range chicken, by the way! After cutting apart and baking the chicken I use the bones and carcass to make bone broth. I freeze the bone broth in straight-sided canning jars, to be thawed when I need them to make soup or rice.
My old method for making bone broth was to simmer the bones in a pot of water for 18-24 hours. I had to constantly check to see if the water was full enough – I sometimes ruined the bones and stunk up the house by letting the water evaporate dry. NOW I can use my Instant Pot to make amazing broth! Here are the steps:
Instant Pot Bone Broth
- Place bones and carcass in the Instant Pot
- Cover with filtered water
- Put in onion, celery, and carrot pieces (I keep them in a container in my freezer where I add them throughout the week when I chop veggies)
- Set it on “manual” for 2 hours
- Use “quick release” or “natural pressure release”
- After the broth cools, strain it through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
Cage free eggs are SUPER healthy – especially the yolk! I buy my eggs from a friend who has a farm and lets her hens go cage-free. Hard-boiled eggs are great, but a pain to regulate while cooking, and a pain to peel! Hard or soft-boiled eggs in the Instant pot are incredibly easy to make (I set the manual setting for 4 minutes for soft-boiled, and did a quick pressure release) and the shell comes off so much more easily than eggs boiled on the stovetop.
Cultured dairy from healthy sources is a very nutritious food. Turning homogenized, pasteurized milk into yogurt is a way you can add the healthy bacteria back in that was lost in the heat processing.
Yogurt is one of those things I always wanted to make at home because we plow through it so quickly – and organic, whole milk yogurt isn’t cheap. After ruining multiple gallons of milk trying to make yogurt on the stovetop, I gave up. Now with my Instant Pot I have made the thickest, creamiest yogurt I could hope to find on the shelf at the grocery store! I followed this tutorial exactly, and it turned out perfectly. It sounds complicated the first time, but you’ll get the hang of it!
I also love making rice and shredded meats in this incredible contraption. Everything cooks more quickly and becomes so tender. I use it every day. Do you have an Instant Pot? What is your favorite recipe?