Have you jumped on the electric multi-cooker (such as an Instant Pot R) craze? These appliances are used for slow-cooking, searing, sautéing, simmering, steaming and much more.

Probably the most talked-about use for electric multi-cookers is the pressure-cooking feature.

Digital thermometer

When looking online for electric pressure-cooking information, a variety of cooking times are listed for foods such as meat, poultry and fish. The cooking time needed varies with the size and model of the multi-cooker, size/cut of meat, amount of liquid, pressure release used and other factors.

However, the most important step is often left out — use of a food thermometer to ensure food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature.

Using a food thermometer is the only reliable way to ensure safety of meat, poultry and egg products. Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food, making sure not to touch the bone, fat or gristle.

According to USDA, food should be cooked to the following minimum internal temperatures as shown in the chart below. For personal preference, you may choose to cook food to higher temperatures.

If food has not reached the proper temperature after pressure cooking, it is important to continue the cooking process. Whether it is going back to pressure cooking, using the sauté feature on your multi-cooker or switching to using the stovetop or oven, make sure a safe temperature is reached.

Safety tips

When using multi-cooker or any other cooking method, follow these important food safety tips to keep your family safe from a foodborne illness:

• Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before cooking and after handling raw meat or poultry.

• Make sure your appliances, utensils and work area are clean.

• Keep perishable foods refrigerated until it is time to cook them. Be cautious using a “delayed” cook feature on slow cookers or electric multi-cookers. Bacteria multiply rapidly when food is left at room temperature.

• Place leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate or freeze immediately. Discard food that has been sitting out longer than two hours.