Pressure Cooking Wheat Berries

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I’ve recently added wheat berries to my diet! Pretty exciting stuff. You can find them relatively easily in Whole Foods or another health market, and even though you can easily spend $200 in a health food store, wheat berries are pretty affordable. Here’s some stuff to know if you want to add them to your life:

Hard wheat berries, also labeled hard red wheat, are the most nutritious. They are chewier than the soft variety, but not too chewy (if you ask me). They also take the longest to cook, and often call for soaking, but it’s no big deal in a pressure cooker.

Soft wheat berries, sometimes labeled soft or pearled white wheat, are lightly processed for easier cooking and eating. They are more tender and take less time to cook.

To cook wheat berries: Add 1 cup of rinsed and drained wheat berries, 4 cups of water, a pinch of salt, and a glug of oil to an electric pressure. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes (for soft berries) or 40 minutes (for hard berries) and use a natural release. Drain.

Serve as a grain in soups, salads, or other savory dishes. Make a breakfast bowl with yogurt and fruit. It’s all goooood.

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Pressure Cooking Wheat Berries

Pressure Cooking Black-Eyed Peas

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As a kid I did not like black-eyed peas. I thought they tasted like dirt. My grandpa grew them in his garden, so my grandmother would end up with bags upon bags of them in the freezer. Looking back, I’d kill for those bags of fresh-picked peas.

Since I typically have to settle for the dried variety, I use my electric pressure cooker to make quick magic of the now-loved little beans. I have found some conflicting information about how long to cook black-eyed peas, so I had to do a bit of experimenting. Below is how I make them, along with some ideas for flavoring. Note that if you have a stove top pressure cooker the PSI and cook time can differ.

Black-Eyed Peas in an Electric Pressure Cooker

1 lb of black-eyed peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil (any cooking oil will do)

Optional but recommended (all or some):
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 onion, quartered

1. Rinse your beans in a colander and pick over them. What does this mean? Sift through the beans and looks for any bad ones (shriveled up and gross looking) or rocks. Yes, it happens.

2. Add the oil, garlic and onion (if using) to the pot of your pressure cooker and select Saute. Once hot, cook for a few minutes and stir until fragrant. Turn off the Saute function.

3. Add the beans, salt, and bay leaf (if using) and stir. Add 6 cups water or, even better, 3 cups stock and 3 cups water. Secure the lid.

4. Cook at high pressure for 8-10 minutes if you think your beans are pretty fresh and depending on how tender you like your beans. Cook  for 10-12 minutes if they’ve been on the store shelf for a bit and depending on how tender you like your beans. Don’t worry, we can fix it if they are not cooked enough.

5. Use a natural release. Once depressurized, check your beans. If they are tender enough, then move on! If not, select Saute and loosely cover. Check every five minutes until they are tender.

6. Drain your beans and flavor them. If they’re going in a soup or you like them plain, then leave them bean (get it??). If you want a little more flavor for your side dish, then see my suggestions below.

Flavor ideas:

  • harissa adds a kick
  • chopped fresh tomatoes, peppers, and onion add fresh flavor and texture
  • cumin, cayenne, and/or paprika add smoky spice
  • a dollop of sour cream and chives gives them the baked potato treatment
  • chopped bacon adds, well, salty bacon
  • chopped fresh parsley adds herbiness and can be used in combination with any of the above flavorings
Pressure Cooking Black-Eyed Peas

Making Yogurt in the Instant Pot

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It’s no real secret that the Instant Pot 7-in-1 has a Yogurt setting, but how many IP owners actually use this setting? I’ve finally started using my IP to make yogurt, and it’s saved me a lot of guesswork and really streamlined the yogurt-making process. Even though there are instructions available in the manual, I found it easier to refer to other users’ advice before beginning. So, in an effort to pay it forward, here’s my guide for making homemade yogurt in an Instant Pot!

First off, why make your own yogurt? It’s much cheaper, you can make it to fit your taste and texture preferences, and it’s easy, hands-off work (especially with an IP). Did I mention how much cheaper it is? Now let’s get started.

You’ll need:

  • Your Instant Pot 7-in-1
  • The included steamer rack
  • Jars with lids
  • Milk
  • Plain yogurt
  • Skim milk powder (optional)

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First, scald the milk:

  1. Grab one to four jars (depending on how much yogurt you want to make) that will fit inside your Instant Pot sitting on the steamer rack. Fill each jar about 3/4 of the way or less with the milk of your choice. The fattier the milk, the thicker and creamier the yogurt—but even skim milk will work.
  2. (Optional) Add up to 1 teaspoon of skim milk powder per jar for a thicker yogurt and stir.
  3. Add 1 cup of water to the IP and top with steamer rack. Add the jars (without the lids) and close the lid. Make sure the valve is in the Sealing position.
  4. Select Steam and adjust the time to 1 minute. Once the timer goes off and the IP is done steaming, select Cancel and let the pressure release naturally. This will take about 15 minutes.
  5. Open the IP and remove the jars. Dump out the water and replace the steamer rack. Let the milk sit, uncovered, until it comes down to 115 degrees—this will take about an hour. Use a thermometer to keep track of the temperature.

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Yogurt time:

  1. Once the milk is 115 degrees or slightly less, add a heaping spoonful of plain yogurt to each jar and stir. Any kind of yogurt will do as long as it has active cultures.
  2. Add the jars back to the IP and close the lid. Select Yogurt and let it do its thing for a whole eight hours. That’s right. Walk away for eight whole hours.
  3. Once the Yogurt cycle is complete, carefully pour off any accumulated whey (if desired) and screw on the tops. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Tips:

  • You can make yogurt directly in the IP, but I prefer the convenience and cleanliness of making yogurt directly in jars.
  • Be sure to start early so that your yogurt has time to complete its 8-hour cycle. You can leave it longer but it will become tarter the longer it sits. If you time it right you can make yogurt overnight!
  • If you like your yogurt really thick and creamy (Greek-style), you can strain your homemade yogurt with cheesecloth for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

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My cookbook is now available for pre-order on Amazon! The Instant Pot® Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals

Making Yogurt in the Instant Pot