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From: Guy (
Subject: Re: what is an insert?
Date: September 3, 2003 at 11:15 pm PST

In Reply to: what is an insert? posted by Fellini on September 3, 2003 at 6:42 pm:

An insert can be a bowl or a pot which fits inside of a pressure cooker. For example, I have a 4.5 liter pressure cooker & found a steep sided, 3 1/2" deep, flat bottomed ceramic serving bowl which fits just about perfectly on a 1" high tripod inside the 4.5 liter PC. It functions as a double boiler pot does. It keeps direct heat from scorching whatever food is cooked in a pressure cooker. Using such a setup allows much more control of how much liquid is used for cooking a variety of foods. For example, I cooked 1 1/2 cups dry thick rolled oats yesterday with just under 2 cups of water in the "insert". The resulting oatmeal is far less mushy than cooking it in a standard pot or pressure cooker. Along with more appealing texture, I think it even tastes better.

Just about any grain or legume lends itself very well to insert cooking. My favorites are split peas, lentils, rice, quinoa and oats.

I have used pressure cookers for about 15 years. Since trying out insert cooking about two years ago I have never cooked any grains or legumes without one. I like cooking with one so much that I found a 6 quart pot which fits (minus the handles) just about perfectly inside of my 10 quart pressure cooker. It is great for cooking large quantities of beans for freezing or whatever other grain or legume that I cook.

Any downsides? The only ones that I can think of are slightly longer cooking times and more things to clean up and store. To me the slight bit of extra effort is far outweighed by how well food comes out.

If you are interested in trying out insert pressure cooking I suggest that you get an ordinary ceramic bowl and cook something double boiler style in your PC. If you have a tripod I suggest placing a steamer basket on it and the bowl inside the basket. If you don't have a tripod or steamer inserts, you may consider purchasing them. If you try oatmeal this way, a ratio of 3 parts rolled oats to 4 parts water works very well. Also, when cooking oats, it is a great idea to manually vent steam for about 2 minutes after closing the lid of a boiling PC. This prevents oats from foaming and the resulting mess inside the cooker. (the same goes for rice) I cook oatmeal for 9 minutes after closing the lid. The 9 minutes includes about 2 minutes of automatic steam venting.

Have fun if you try it. I bet you won't be disappointed.

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