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Mount InstantPotuvius: Potato water eruption at the Guheerts'


RegGuheert
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We recently purchased the 8-quart Instant Pot from Amazon.

 

On Wednesday evening, I decided to make potato salad and take advantage of the ability of the Instant Pot to cook both the potatoes and the eggs together.  So I scrubbed and cubed the potatoes and put them in the pot with their skins on.  The pot was slightly more than half full of potatoes, which does not exceed the limit of 2/3 full specified for non-expanding foods.  I then filled the pot with softened, filtered water to just cover the potatoes.  Finally, I placed 10 raw eggs in their shells on top of the potatoes.

 

The Instant Pot was set to low pressure and zero minutes.  After about 45 minutes, the alarm sounded and it was time for the "Quick Release" of pressure.

 

The eruption of potato water lasted for several minutes.  The ejecta did not quite reach the ceiling, but it did produce a lake of potato water on the counter and floor about three feet to the east of the pot and about five feet wide.  Every living thing in the vicinity of the eruption perished.

 

It was quite a mess!  Sticky, starchy potato water. :glare:

 

So I cleaned up the mess.  MomsintheGarden made the sauce using our standard recipe (from my mom) while DS15, DS17 and I peeled the eggs.  The outside of the eggshells were covered with a grotesque dark brown scum that was quite a challenge to rinse off.  But in classic Instant Pot style, the eggs were perfectly done and they peeled extremely easily.  Likewise, the potatoes were perfectly cooked through.

 

The bottom line was the the Instant Pot made a large amount of perfectly-cooked potato salad as well as a gigantic mess in the kitchen and the lid of the pot to be cleaned up.  If NASA called Apollo 13 a "successful failure", then I will deem this effort to be a "messiful success".  :tongue_smilie:

 

Like NASA, we feel the need to convene a review board to conduct a through review to determine the cause of the eruption and to ensure the the next deployment of the Instant Pot for potato salad results in ejecta that is comprised mostly or entirely of H2O.  As members of this critical review board, we would like to hear your expert opinions on why the ejecta contained so much potato as well as your thoughts on how to reduce the potato content in future missions.

 

Your participation in this effort is vital to the cause and is therefore greatly appreciated! :patriot:

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HEADS UP:   i went into the Kitchen and tried to relay the highlights of your post to my wife, who has begun cooking our Breakfast.  Assuming the Instant Pot is something like a Pressure Cooker (my wife uses a Pressure Cooker frequently) she said "The Golden Rule" is to always verify that the valve in the lid is clear, before starting to use it.  I see her blow through the valve in the lid of the Pressure Cooker, when she is going to use it. That MUST be a religious thing. People have been killed, because the Valve was blocked.

 

She said that you should not put Eggs into a Pressure Cooker.

 

She said that if it has been deformed in any way, you should not use it again.

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HEADS UP:   i went into the Kitchen and tried to relay the highlights of your post to my wife, who has begun cooking our Breakfast.  Assuming the Instant Pot is something like a Pressure Cooker (my wife uses a Pressure Cooker frequently) she said "The Golden Rule" is to always verify that the valve in the lid is clear, before starting to use it.  I see her blow through the valve in the lid of the Pressure Cooker, when she is going to use it. That MUST be a religious thing. People have been killed, because the Valve was blocked.

Yes, I've previously posted about the dangers of pressure cookers, but I will note that the Instant Pot is no ordinary pressure cooker, as it has significantly engineered out many of the risks of a stove-top pressure cooker.  In searching for examples of Instant Pot explosions on the internet, I have to say that I have not found a single example of an injury due to an Instant Pot explosion (though you will see videos on OTHER electric pressure cookers in the thread I started).

 

In any case, the vent is extremely well-engineered with two levels of screen to protect against blockage and there is an emergency release which does not appear to require significant pressure to blow.  (It is also easily user-replaceable in case it does blow.)

 

She said that you should not put Eggs into a Pressure Cooker.

Cooking hard-boiled eggs is one of the coolest features of the Instant Pot.  In fact, that was the first thing I ever cooked in our Instant Pot.  The eggs come out nearly perfect and they are MUCH easier to peel.

 

She said that if it has been deformed in any way, you should not use it again.

No deformation here.  The cooking was done at the low pressure setting.  The release of pressure was entirely intentional even though the release of potato water was not desirable.

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It was because you covered the potatoes with water. You should put them on a trivet with a cup or cup and a half of water underneath. If you fill it with water and do a pressure release, that happens. Same with soups. This is also great because it gets up to pressure much quicker. Essentially you should steam the potatoes rather than boil them.

Edited by Meagan S
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Hmmm, how much water are we talking here? When I cook potatoes in the IP, I either use the rack or a steamer basket and at most 2c of water. I cut up my potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes with a quick release. I've cooked 5lbs of potatoes this way in both my 6qt and my 8qt.

 

Generally speaking it's this technique - https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/quick-potato-salad-in-the-pressure-cooker/ but minus the eggs and my own dressing.

 

My guess is way too much water for a very starchy ingredient.

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Oh my!!! We've cooked potatoes several time with no eruptions, but we use natural pressure release because potatoes are starchy.

I believe the reason the recipe I used recommends quick release is to keep the eggs from getting over-cooked and rubbery.

 

It was because you covered the potatoes with water. You should put them on a trivet with a cup or cup and a half of water underneath. If you fill it with water and do a pressure release, that happens. Same with soups. This is also great because it gets up to pressure much quicker. Essentially you should steam the potatoes rather than boil them.

I covered the eggs with water because that's what the recipe I followed recommended:

 

pressure-cooker-potato-salad-820x462.jpg

 

 

Submerge all the potato cubes in the water mixture and layer the 3 large eggs on top.

 

 

Hmmm, how much water are we talking here? When I cook potatoes in the IP, I either use the rack or a steamer basket and at most 2c of water. I cut up my potatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes with a quick release. I've cooked 5lbs of potatoes this way in both my 6qt and my 8qt.

 

Generally speaking it's this technique - https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/quick-potato-salad-in-the-pressure-cooker/ but minus the eggs and my own dressing.

 

My guess is way too much water for a very starchy ingredient.

That sounds like it would work great and would be much faster!  But I'm not sure what to use to suspend the potatoes above the water.  The rack that came with the unit is completely inadequate for this purpose since the cubed potatoes would fall right through.  Can you please recommend something that we can purchase to place on top of that rack in the 8-quart unit to support the potatoes for steaming?

 

Sorry, I meant to weigh the potatoes after I got them into the pot, but I forgot.  It was quite a bit, since the pot was slightly over half-full.

 

Why do you exclude the eggs when you use the recipe you linked?

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IThat sounds like it would work great and would be much faster!  But I'm not sure what to use to suspend the potatoes above the water.  The rack that came with the unit is completely inadequate for this purpose since the cubed potatoes would fall right through.  Can you please recommend something that we can purchase to place on top of that rack in the 8-quart unit to support the potatoes for steaming?

 

Sorry, I meant to weigh the potatoes after I got them into the pot, but I forgot.  It was quite a bit, since the pot was slightly over half-full.

 

Why do you exclude the eggs when you use the recipe you linked?

 

 

You can put a collapsable steamer basket in the bottom if you have one of those. You can also place the potatoes in a metal bowl on the trivet -- this sometimes needs a couple more minutes cooking time to compensate for the bowl.

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You can also place the potatoes in a metal bowl on the trivet -- this sometimes needs a couple more minutes cooking time to compensate for the bowl.

I think this is what we would want to do.  My idea is to purchase the Instant Pot stainless-steel insert for the 6-quart unit and place it on top of the rack inside the 8-quart insert.  If we also purchased a 6-quart silicone lid, we could simply mix the potato salad in the 6-quart unit and then use that bowl for both serving and storage.  Has anyone tried this?  If so, how hard is it to lift out the 6-quart bowl after the cooking is done?

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But...but...we're BOTH electrical engineers! :w00t:

 

Ah.  Then your kitchen may run more smoothly than mine, as I was an English Ed. major.

 

My cooking style is vastly different than my dh's.

 

First of all, he measures.   :svengo:

 

I can't follow a recipe exactly to save my life.  (Figuratively speaking ;) )

 

Also, his quality standard is higher than mine.

 

My style is more like:  We eat at 6:00 no matter what it tastes like, so long as the meat is cooked through.  Because by 6:00 I'm done, even if the meal isn't.  :)

Dh will give a dish an extra 10-30 minutes to improve the quality of the meal from a C to an A.

 

Anyway, I hope you find a solution to your potato problem.  (I know it will drive you crazy until you do.)

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I've had potato explosions in the IP too. I'm very careful now to cut the potatoes up, or only fill the IP less than half way and use only the minimum of water. You see recipes for Mac and cheese or oatmeal too even though the manual recommends against it- I think it's because they can occasionally be explosive. Most of the time you're good, and I make it anyway, but sometimes it will explode.

 

Exploding potato water is nasty!

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Use either a stainless steel bowl (and cook under pressure for another minute or two) or use a colander or sieve to hold the chunked potatoes while cooking.  Set the colander full of potatoes up on the trivet, and steam the potatoes.  Only put enough water in the pot to make steam; do not boil them.  Place the eggs right on top of the potato chunks.

 

Works perfectly every time!

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I think this is what we would want to do.  My idea is to purchase the Instant Pot stainless-steel insert for the 6-quart unit and place it on top of the rack inside the 8-quart insert.  If we also purchased a 6-quart silicone lid, we could simply mix the potato salad in the 6-quart unit and then use that bowl for both serving and storage.  Has anyone tried this?  If so, how hard is it to lift out the 6-quart bowl after the cooking is done?

 

I have a silicone oven mitt that works just fine for removing the pot when done cooking -- I like it better than the cloth ones because I can easily rinse off the gunk that inevitably gets on the mitt when removing it from the IP.  

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HEADS UP:   i went into the Kitchen and tried to relay the highlights of your post to my wife, who has begun cooking our Breakfast.  Assuming the Instant Pot is something like a Pressure Cooker (my wife uses a Pressure Cooker frequently) she said "The Golden Rule" is to always verify that the valve in the lid is clear, before starting to use it.  I see her blow through the valve in the lid of the Pressure Cooker, when she is going to use it. That MUST be a religious thing. People have been killed, because the Valve was blocked.

 

She said that you should not put Eggs into a Pressure Cooker.

 

She said that if it has been deformed in any way, you should not use it again.

What does she mean by deformed? The inside or outside of the pot itself?

 

Also, we do eggs all the time. I think you have to find the right recipe.

 

As for OP, whenever we do a quick release for starchy things, I do a very slow quick release by just slightly turning the vent and holding it there to allow the steam to escape very slowly over about 5 minutes instead of just letting it rip.

 

Also, if you had pot set a 0 minutes it sounds like 45 minutes was way too long and that maybe something was wrong. I know the pot can take a while to pressurize but ours usually pressurizes in no more than about a half hour. 

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We have had a bean eruption! We now vent beans outside, lol. This basket strainer works very well when doing cut potatoes: https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-Silicone-Steamer-Green/dp/B00A2KD8IY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502463186&sr=8-1&keywords=oxo+silicone+steamer+basket

Most bean recipes I think call for natural release and if you did use a recipe with quick release I would do a very slow quick release by only letting the steam out very very slowly and stopping ans starting release if there is any sputtering. Also, putting a tablespoon of oil on top of the water helps as well as spraying the inside of the pan with oil on the bottom and about halfway up the sides. The make sure not to fill the pot more than halfway full. Instant pots do have some inner linings that are marked incorrectly according to Hip pressure cooking web site so to find the halfway mark use a ruler on the inner wall of the pot to find the halfway point for your pot.

 

Sorry if I am redundant:)

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I've had potato explosions in the IP too. I'm very careful now to cut the potatoes up, or only fill the IP less than half way and use only the minimum of water. You see recipes for Mac and cheese or oatmeal too even though the manual recommends against it- I think it's because they can occasionally be explosive. Most of the time you're good, and I make it anyway, but sometimes it will explode.

 

Exploding potato water is nasty!

Thanks for saying that!  Misery really does love company! :thumbup:

 

We have had a bean eruption! We now vent beans outside, lol. This basket strainer works very well when doing cut potatoes: https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-Silicone-Steamer-Green/dp/B00A2KD8IY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502463186&sr=8-1&keywords=oxo+silicone+steamer+basket

MomsintheGarden has one of those in the Amazon cart.  A silicone seal in the Instant Pot is enough rubber in the pressure cooker to absorb smells for me!

 

Use either a stainless steel bowl (and cook under pressure for another minute or two) or use a colander or sieve to hold the chunked potatoes while cooking.  Set the colander full of potatoes up on the trivet, and steam the potatoes.  Only put enough water in the pot to make steam; do not boil them.  Place the eggs right on top of the potato chunks.

 

Works perfectly every time!

That's what I'm going to do next time.  I've decided to throw money at the problem:  I just placed an order with Amazon for $30 MORE than we paid for the entire 8-quart Instant Pot just for accessories.  Here's what I got:

 

- Instant Pot Stainless Steel Inner Cooking Pot - 8 Quart (Amazon Warehouse Deal)

- Instant Pot Stainless Steel Inner Cooking Pot - 6 Quart (Amazon Warehouse Deal)

- Instant Pot Tempered-Glass Lid - 10 inch -  8 Quart

- Instant Pot Silicone Cover - 8 Quart

- Instant Pot Sealing Rings - 2 Pack - 8 Quart

- Instant Pot Mini Mitts

 

I plan to insert the 6-quart pot inside the 8-quart pot on the provided rack for cooking potatoes and eggs for potato salad.  I'll adjust the water and time until it seems right for a large quantity of potatoes (4 quarts or over).

 

I don't understand why I cannot purchase a 6-quart silicone lid from Instant Pot.

 

Also, is it just me or weren't these accessories MUCH more expensive just after we purchased the pot on Prime Day?  I could have sworn those things were ridiculous when I first looked at them.

 

I have a silicone oven mitt that works just fine for removing the pot when done cooking -- I like it better than the cloth ones because I can easily rinse off the gunk that inevitably gets on the mitt when removing it from the IP.  

That is what I will try.  We have a couple of those, but I purchase the set from Instant Pot in case they will work a bit better.  (The ones we have are big and my hands break out in sweat as soon as I put them inside. :tongue_smilie: )

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I think this is what we would want to do.  My idea is to purchase the Instant Pot stainless-steel insert for the 6-quart unit and place it on top of the rack inside the 8-quart insert.  If we also purchased a 6-quart silicone lid, we could simply mix the potato salad in the 6-quart unit and then use that bowl for both serving and storage.  Has anyone tried this?  If so, how hard is it to lift out the 6-quart bowl after the cooking is done?

I am unsure if this would work but could be wrong since how would it steam effectively?

 

We bought an additional 8 quart inner pot for our new 8 quart instant pot for those times when we wanted to cook one meal or dish after another without having to wash the pot out right away. I would look at the stainless steel steamer basket that open like a flower maybe.

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As for OP, whenever we do a quick release for starchy things, I do a very slow quick release by just slightly turning the vent and holding it there to allow the steam to escape very slowly over about 5 minutes instead of just letting it rip. 

It's good to know there is a way to do this inside the house!  But it also sounds like a bit of a PITA.

 

Also, if you had pot set a 0 minutes it sounds like 45 minutes was way too long and that maybe something was wrong. I know the pot can take a while to pressurize but ours usually pressurizes in no more than about a half hour. 

Do you have the 8-quart unit?

 

When you have an eruption, how do you all clean under the lip on the main pot? I'm talking about the track the the lid seals onto. I have small fingers, but I still have a hard time feeling that I'm getting it clean.

I used a damp paper towel and slid it around under the lip.

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We do have 6 quart and an 8 quart which I bought on sale on prime day :tongue_smilie:

 

As for doing a quick release very slowly Flo Lum (spelling?), instant pot guru on youtube does the very slow quick release by using the handle of mixing spoon to prop the vent in a slightly open position. I will try to find video.

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I am unsure if this would work but could be wrong since how would it steam effectively?

I'm thinking the steam will get everywhere (assuming I put in enough water).  The goal is to not have to move the potatoes to another bowl in order to make the potato salad.  If it doesn't work, we'll just make the 6-quart bowl a Christmas gift for DD24 to use in her Instant Pot.

 

We bought an additional 8 quart inner pot for our new 8 quart instant pot for those times when we wanted to cook one meal or dish after another without having to wash the pot out right away.

I bought it so that we could store one in the refrigerator with something in it and then cook something else for the next meal.  I wish I could purchase a silicone lid from Instant Pot for the 6-quart pot.

 

I would look at the stainless steel steamer basket that open like a flower maybe.

That's probably what we will end up with if using the 6-quart stainless-steel pot does not work out.  Thanks!

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Reg, what hard boiled egg recipe do you use? Just curious since there are several variations.

In this case, I cooked them with the potatoes, so they were in there as the pressure came up to low pressure (about 45 minutes) and 0 minutes at pressure followed by quick venting.  I felt that these came out great with no greenage, though MomsintheGarden felt they were a bit firmer than she normally cooks them.

 

When I cooked them previously, DD24 was here and talked me through it.  I *think* I put them on the rack with about 3 cups of water in the pot.  I cooked them at pressure for 2 minutes followed by a quick release.  Those eggs were not green at first, but after a couple of days they had green on the yolks.

 

In the future, I think I will ONLY hard-boil eggs on low pressure and for zero minutes, even if they are in the pot by themselves.

 

That reminds me:  I need to boil some eggs.  I wonder how many I can do at once?  Two dozen?

 

BTW, does anyone know if it is possible to soft-boil eggs in the Instant Pot with pressure, or do they always get hard-boiled?

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The outside of the eggshells were covered with a grotesque dark brown scum that was quite a challenge to rinse off.

Would anyone care to comment on this?  Fortunately it was located ONLY on the eggshells.

 

- Have you ever seen this when you cooked potatoes and eggs together?

- Is this scum some sort of reaction between the potato starch and the eggshells?

- Or does the scum always form from the potato skins and the eggshells act as a sacrificial anode?

- Something else?

 

It's not a big deal, but I was quite surprised to see it on the eggs when I opened the pot.

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That sounds like it would work great and would be much faster! But I'm not sure what to use to suspend the potatoes above the water. The rack that came with the unit is completely inadequate for this purpose since the cubed potatoes would fall right through. Can you please recommend something that we can purchase to place on top of that rack in the 8-quart unit to support the potatoes for steaming?

 

When I first got my InstantPot I just used the rack. If your potatoes aren't diced up then very few fall through and it works just fine. I ended up buying the Oxo silicone steamer basket at Target which is what I use now (https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Grips-Silicone-Steamer-Green/dp/B00A2KD8IY/), but that was because I had other uses for it.

 

One of the features that I appreciate about the IP is the ability to use less water so I try to leverage that as much as possible. If your potato pieces are on the smaller side then sometimes I cook them for 2-3 minutes instead. I cook my potatoes for mashed potatoes the same way, but for 7 minutes.

 

Oh, and corn on the cob is great in the InstantPot too and again, with way less water - https://www.hippressurecooking.com/easy-pressure-cooker-corn-on-the-cob-tips/

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In this case, I cooked them with the potatoes, so they were in there as the pressure came up to low pressure (about 45 minutes) and 0 minutes at pressure followed by quick venting.  I felt that these came out great with no greenage, though MomsintheGarden felt they were a bit firmer than she normally cooks them.

 

When I cooked them previously, DD24 was here and talked me through it.  I *think* I put them on the rack with about 3 cups of water in the pot.  I cooked them at pressure for 2 minutes followed by a quick release.  Those eggs were not green at first, but after a couple of days they had green on the yolks.

 

In the future, I think I will ONLY hard-boil eggs on low pressure and for zero minutes, even if they are in the pot by themselves.

 

That reminds me:  I need to boil some eggs.  I wonder how many I can do at once?  Two dozen?

 

BTW, does anyone know if it is possible to soft-boil eggs in the Instant Pot with pressure, or do they always get hard-boiled?

Yes you can soft boiled eggs:

 

http://instantpot.com/steamed-soft-boiled-eggs/

 

 

I have used this recipe for hard boiled eggs with good luck but have seen a recipe for 2 minutes which I will hunt down:

 

1 cup water in bottom, rack, eggs

 

5 minutes steam button

 

quick release

 

Note most of the recipes I have seen suggest only one layer of eggs on bottom of rack and not to stack them. I forgot to add that I find that youtube has a lot of good recipes and you get to see how it turned out for them before you try it.

Edited by NoPlaceLikeHome
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Yes you can soft boiled eggs:

 

http://instantpot.com/steamed-soft-boiled-eggs/

 

 

I have used this recipe for hard boiled eggs with good luck but have seen a recipe for 2 minutes which I will hunt down:

 

1 cup water in bottom, rack, eggs

 

5 minutes steam button

 

quick release

Thanks!  Some of the comments on that page say that resulted in hardboiled eggs.

 

Note most of the recipes I have seen suggest only one layer of eggs on bottom of rack and not to stack them. I forgot to add that I find that youtube has a lot of good recipes and you get to see how it turned out for them before you try it.

Too late!  I'm living dangerously:  I just stuck two dozen eggs in there (two layers) with three cups of water on low pressure for 0 minutes and I will quick release.  I'll post a picture if anything interesting happens in there.

 

One thing I am seeing is that most of the recipes out there are for smaller quantities than I want to make.

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I use a collapsible metal steamer basket in my IP all the time.

 

This morning I cooked a dozen extra-large eggs (just a hair more than soft boiled-- yolks light yellow and fluffy).  I put in 2 cups of water then the basket of eggs and set it to manual 7 minutes-- I let it slow release for 7 minutes then quick released. 

 

I've only had one 'volcano' with some soup-- not sure why it was perfect the other 99 times with same/similar recipe...  I had to replace the seal after that so maybe that was an issue...

 

LOVE me my Instant Pot!

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Too late! I'm living dangerously: I just stuck two dozen eggs in there (two layers) with three cups of water on low pressure for 0 minutes and I will quick release. I'll post a picture if anything interesting happens in there.

Success! Two-dozen perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs in about 20 minutes.

 

I did have a slight deviation from what I said: The eggs stayed at low pressure for about four minutes before I vented them. I was doing something outside and they got done before I came in. Here is what two dozen eggs look like in an 8-quart Instant Pot:

 

IMG_0287.jpg

 

One egg had a slight crack, but it did not have any other eggs above or below it and nothing came out. You *might* be able to make it out on the left in the picture above.

 

I broke another egg while cooling them in a water bath. It's a bit tricky controlling that many eggs! I peeled it and sliced it to see how it was cooked:

 

IMG_0289.jpg

 

As you can see, it is about as soft as you can get and still be qualified as "hard boiled". This is exactly how MomsintheGarden likes them, so I'll try to do them like this in the future.

 

Perhaps if I had only one dozen and vented them immediately I would have had soft-boiled eggs.

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Would anyone care to comment on this?  Fortunately it was located ONLY on the eggshells.

 

- Have you ever seen this when you cooked potatoes and eggs together?

- Is this scum some sort of reaction between the potato starch and the eggshells?

- Or does the scum always form from the potato skins and the eggshells act as a sacrificial anode?

- Something else?

 

It's not a big deal, but I was quite surprised to see it on the eggs when I opened the pot.

I had it happen when I cooked eggs by themselves and the inside of the eggs was a weird beige color as well.  The first time I cooked eggs they were perfect the second time brown and icky.  There hasn't been a third time.

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I have somewhat frequent eruptions with my stove top pressure cooker. I don't think I've had one in my instant pot yet. Usually I end up suspecting that I've added too much water. One time though, that wasn't the case and I'm still not sure what caused it. I think i was boiling beef that time. 

 

But every time it starts to shoot water out, I throw a dishtowel or oven mitt over the release valve so the soupy mess doesn't end up all over my cabinets and floor. So there's a protip for you ;)

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I had it happen when I cooked eggs by themselves and the inside of the eggs was a weird beige color as well.  The first time I cooked eggs they were perfect the second time brown and icky.  There hasn't been a third time.

:ack2: Yeah, I think I'd have a hard time convincing myself to cook eggs in the Instant Pot after that.  Fortunately, the scum I saw was clinging to the outside of the eggshell and nowhere else.  BTW, I've only seen this when cooking the eggs with the potatoes, not when cooking the eggs alone.

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Assuming the Instant Pot is something like a Pressure Cooker (my wife uses a Pressure Cooker frequently) she said "The Golden Rule" is to always verify that the valve in the lid is clear, before starting to use it.  I see her blow through the valve in the lid of the Pressure Cooker, when she is going to use it. That MUST be a religious thing.

I've been thinking about this further and there is another benefit of the Instant Pot related to this issue:  The vent can only clog if it is venting.  A stovetop pressure cooker MUST vent in order to maintain pressure.  But that is not how the Instant Pot works.  It maintains pressure WITHOUT VENTING.  The simple result is that there is virtually no way for the vent to get clogged while cooking unless the pot is tipped or the food expands up to the level of the vent.  When an Instant Pot is being vented, the cooking is already done and heat is no longer being applied.

 

By way of contrast, stovetop pressure cookers can have the vent clog because of the flow of gases up to the vent that occurs during cooking.

 

This important difference is something that Instant Pot does really explain in their description of their products' safety features, but it is a very important safety difference.

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That's way too much water. I use only a cup when I'm cooking chunked potatoes to mash.

This. I've put an entire 5 lbs of cubed potatoes in my 6 qt with just a cup of water. They steam beautifully and no volcanoes.

I do throw a dish towel over the top if I'm quick-releasing something starchy. Easier to throw a towel in the wash than to clean up starchy splatters. And I always always always put a little water in the lid and make sure it flows freely through the release valve when I'm washing up.

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