“Who here has an Instant Pot™ or electric pressure cooker at home? Who here has dusted off the box and used it?” This is how Lisa Peterson, Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, begins her hands-on electric pressure-cooking classes. The 90-minute workshop is designed to teach individuals how to use the popular electric pressure cookers to make healthy meals safely and efficiently. University of Illinois Extension is excited to partner with Taylorville Memorial Hospital in offering “Preparing Food Under Pressure,” on Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m. and again at 6:00 p.m.       

The class will discuss the differences between a pressure cooker, a pressure canner, and a multi-cooker, the different variety and features of cookers, and one unique feature of the class is participants will work in groups to prepare different types of food using a range of different electric pressure cookers. Peterson will talk about the safety features of the cookers, and methods not ideal for the multi-cookers. “Pressure canning is not recommended in a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers typically cycle and do not maintain appropriate heat and pressure to destroy harmful bacteria found in home-canned food,” Peterson suggests.

Using an electric pressure cooker is also energy efficient. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, pressure cookers use 50-70% less energy than traditional cooking due to shorter cooking time. “The hope with this type of class is it encourages more people to feel confident when preparing food at home. Electric pressure cookers help lock in flavor using less salt and fat and a quick way to prepare one-pot meals with vegetables,” Peterson states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state 1 in 3 people have pre-diabetes and high blood pressure, which can be managed or lowered by making healthier food choices and regular exercise.

Preparing Food Under Pressure will be offered at the Janice Hopper Auditorium at Taylorville Memorial Hospital on Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m. and again at 6 p.m., if you sign up for the 6 p.m. class, please enter through the Emergency Entrance. Participants will have the opportunity to taste test each prepared recipe and take home additional recipes, even a few with holiday themes. Register by calling the Christian County Extension Office at 217-287-7246, register online at extension.illinois.edu/cjmm, or contact Janelle Cornell, TMH Dietitian, at 217-824-1840 for questions. There is a small fee to cover the cost of food supplies for the class.