How to choose a multifunctional pot?

Technological progress affects every aspect of our lives, including cooking. Nowadays, there are many practical gadgets on the market to help you prepare your meals. You are likely to come across the following terms related to modern multi-cookers:

  • smart pot
    • in most cases this refers to the multifunctional pot described below
  • electric pot
    • in most cases this refers to the multifunctional pot described below
  • electric pressure cooker
    • in most cases this refers to the multifunctional pot described below
  • hot air fryer
    • allows roasting and cooking with hardly any fat, healthy food preparation
  • multifunctional pot
    • replaces multiple appliances with multiple functions, we describe it in detail below
  • multifunctional pressure cooker
    • a combination of pressure cooker and multifunctional pot
  • rice cooker
    • generally allows you to cook just rice and some other side dishes (buckwheat, potatoes, etc.)
  • sous vide pot
    • slow cooking – ingredients are cooked in vacuum bags at low temperatures

Below, we will only be looking at the category multifunctional pressure cooker.

 

Multifunctional pressure cooker

This device saves time, energy, and lets you prepare food in ways that would otherwise be impossible without a pressure cooker. People buy them not only for their homes, but also for their weekend cottages, where they replace several appliances and therefore save quite a lot of space. Putting it in the simplest possible terms, we can describe how these gadgets work as follows. Put the ingredients in the pot, set the programme, and you are ready to go. Because you are cooking in a multifunctional pressure cooker, there is no need to worry about, for example, food bubbling over the edge of the pot. In addition, we can keep food warm for a selected time after cooking. You can also set the delayed start function, which enables you to start cooking at a later time.

 

What to look for when choosing a multifunctional pot?

  • Price/performance ratio and accessories

More features and accessories make a product more expensive, of course, but a higher price does not always mean superior equipment. Prices usually range between CZK 1,700 and CZK 14, 000 with VAT. Electric pots can have the following functions: pressure cooking/braising/hot air fryer/slow cooking/rice cooker/yogurt maker/egg cooker/reheating food/frying or sautéing/steaming/sterilising. If you want to save as much time, energy and cookware as possible, it is worth getting a smart pot with a side-dish pot, which allows you to prepare both a side dish and a main course in one pressure cooker. A hot-air oven (air fryer) is not standard equipment. Sometimes people buy a multipurpose pressure cooker and are disappointed to learn that they cannot bake or roast in it. You have to pay extra for a hot-air oven. This is usually done with a special lid that you put on top of the pot.

When making your purchase, think about the possibility of buying additional accessories or spare parts later on. 

  • Number of programmes

The number of programmes is related to the functions described above. Usually there are about 15–30 programmes, which select the level of pressure and the programme time. For multifunctional pressure cookers there are standard programmes: pressure cooking for different types of food, steaming, roasting, braising, and roasting. 

  • Pot capacity

When cooking, you must take into account that ¼ of the pot must remain free. The food must therefore fit into ¾ of the container. Most pots have a capacity of about 6 litres, which is enough for all meals for 4 people. Another limiting factor is cooking the side dish in a separate pot together with the main course in one big pot. In this case, you put the main course in the bottom of the pot and above it place the container with the side dish on a special base. Some multifunctional pots allow this method of cooking, although there is generally a downside: cooking a side dish in this way reduces the volume of the cooked meal, and sometimes it is only possible to cook a meal for 3 people in a 6 litre pot. If you are cooking a side dish together with the main course at the bottom of the pot, a 6 litre container should be enough for 5 people. 

  • Wattage

 Wattage affects cooking speed. Typical power consumption ranges from 600–1500 W. 

  • Customer support availability

The manufacturer or seller should provide support, on a written basis, in a language understandable at the point of sale. On the manufacturer’s or dealer’s website this is often referred to as the “HelpDesk”. You can test the speed of support by making an enquiry before buying the product.

  • Real user reviews

It is worth reading the reviews of real users on dealer websites, price comparison sites, or on forums or FB groups focused on multifunctional pots.

  • Recipe availability

Some manufacturers publish product-specific recipes for their customers. It is a nice bonus that can bring something new to your table. Nor is it uncommon for men to cook in smart pots – and they particularly appreciate the recipes. Ladies, enjoy the experience! Your partner will take over in the kitchen and even have fun cooking 

 

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Why should you get an electric pressure cooker?

 

What can you expect from it?

  • shorter cooking times for most meals
  • energy savings thanks to a smaller pot volume (than a conventional oven) and cooking under pressure
  • easy to use (thanks to preset programmes even novices can cook)
  • ability to go away and let the food cook unattended (the electric pot is self-monitoring)
  • deferred start function
  • function to maintain the temperature of cooked food
  • less dirty dishes 
  • possibility to prepare different foods in one pot 
    • frying – find out if the pot of your choice has this function
    • pressure cooking
    • gratinéeing in a hot air oven – only products with a hot air oven (air fryer)

 

With an average cooking frequency of 5 times a week and an energy price of CZK 4.10/kWh, you will save CZK 2,860 per year when cooking in the multifunctional pot and your cooking times will be 13 days shorter in total.

 

The electric pressure cooker gives you almost two weeks of free time and saves you money.

 

Enjoy!

 

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