The beauty of using a slow cooker or crock pot is that it is easy to use and offers a healthier, low-fat method of cooking requiring minimum effort. It is as simple as preparing your ingredients, adding them to the slow cooker and pressing the start button. However, there are several things to keep in mind so that you end up with great slow-cooked meal rather than just a slow-cooked meal. Here we show you what you need to be wary of:
Use the right size: Slow cookers are available in a range of sizes, from 1 liter to 8 liter. Use the size cooker recommended in each recipe. This helps ensure that the slow cooker is not overflowing or under-filled, so that your meal can cook properly.
Do not overfill: To make sure your meal is finished in the time listed on your recipe, and to avoid potential food-safety hazards, do not overfill your slow cooker. Most manufacturers recommend filling them no more than two-thirds full, but it differs among brands, so check your owner’s manual before use.
Keep a lid on: Resist the urge to take off the lid and peek at your meal. Opening the slow cooker lets heat escape and slows cooking. Only open it 30 to 45 minutes before the low end of the cooking range to check doneness.
Plan your meals ahead:
If you want to turn your slow cooker on first thing in the morning, a little planning goes a long way.
• The night before: Cut and trim any meat, chop any vegetables, measure out dry ingredients and prepare any sauce; refrigerate the components in separate containers.
• In the morning: Add ingredients to the cooker according to the recipe; reheat any sauce to a simmer before adding. If you will not be home close to the end of the cooking time, make sure you have a slow cooker that can switch to the warm setting when cooking is done.
Keep temperature in mind: A slow cooker is certainly convenient, but if not used correctly there is the potential for food-safety hazards. Temperatures between 4 and 60 Degree C fall into the so-called ‘danger zone’, since bacteria thrive in these temperatures. When using a slow cooker be sure to take precautions that keep food from being in the danger zone for too long. To avoid, never add frozen ingredients to your cooker; refrigerate any ingredients you have prepped ahead in separate storage containers and bring liquids to a simmer if you are cooking on low before adding them to your cooker to give the heating process a jump-start. Never attempt to cook a whole chicken or roast in your slow cooker: large hunks of meat will not cook thoroughly enough in the slow cooker. Instead, make sure it is cut into smaller pieces that will cook throughout.
Make sure you have the best crock pot: You may have a 20-year-old slow cooker that still works great, but it is probably a basic cooker for which you need to time your cooking manually and then be there to turn it off. A programmable slow cooker on the other hand cooks your meal for a predetermined time and then switches to a setting that keeps the food at a safe temperature until you are ready to eat.
|Hazeena||Posted on : May 22, 2016 2:20 pm|