How is the pressure cooking function of an instant pot different from a regular pressure cooker?
I own both, and use both for different tasks. Technically, both items produce a higher pressure environment inside, by heating up the contents in a sealed container the pots raise the boiling temperature of water. The main difference that I notice is that an Instant Pot applies that heat at a constant rate, where a pressure cooker is subject to the variations and fluctuations of your gas or electric stove. This means you do not need to constantly monitor and adjust your heat source to maintain, raise or lower pressure in the pot. You can set it and walk away, something you can't really do with a stove top pressure cooker. The IP comes to pressure faster than a traditional cook top model as well, at least mine does- and that means cooking is faster overall.
Thanks, that makes sense and I can see that would be a clear advantage, especially when cooking different types of lentils.
Now to unlearn decades of practice!
You don't necessarily need to unlearn your skills. In fact, it will help you use the IP easier, because you already know dishes and food you can make with it. The basic cooking remains the same, just with a slightly more efficient application of the pressure. The booklet that comes with the IP contains a time/suggested pressure level chart, and that's a good place to start. You will learn if you need to adjust those times for your particular recipes. The nice thing about the IP is that it is far easier to release pressure and check doneness, and then set up for more cooking time if needed. After using it a few times, you will figure out what works best for you. By the way, if you are doing lentils, you will want to err on the short time of things. I discovered that it was really easy to go from done just right to downright lentil mush in a short time.
Thanks so much for a really thoughtful reply. And particularly to your point of not letting the lentils go to mush. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih...
As for the instant pot, I think I'll give it a go once I can convince my sons, or either or them, to take up cooking. I do see it as the pressure cooker of the future.
Thanks again for your input though.