There are a lot of appliances that just handle one task at a time. Sometimes, Slow Cookers are built in such a fashion to surprise you on that topic.
Slow Cookers are known for the fact that they can be left alone while the food is made, however it is best to take some precautions. Keep in mind that the outer stainless steel part of the cooker can heat up, too. So be sure to clear anything that might be affected by that. Also, make sure you place the Slow Cooker on a counter top that’s stable, so you don’t risk it falling over.
As a huge time saver, the Slow Cooker doesn’t require a lot of preparing when it comes to the ingredients you’re about to put in there. Some cutting and trimming might be required, but the preparation is at a minimum.
For best cooking, make sure you leave some space at the top of your ingredients, so that your dish will be cooked properly.
All you need to do now is put the lid on, choose a cooking time and a temperature setting, and you’re done!
Chopping vegetables up in bigger chunks helps keeping their shape during cooking, so if you don’t want them all to get mashed, this might be the way to do it.
Don’t put a lot of water in, as it doesn’t usually evaporate, and you might wind up with too much of it the end. It usually requires 1/3 less than you usually put in a normal pot.
Submerging ingredients in liquid can help to evenly spread the aroma to the whole dish. This applies to herbs too!
Never open up the lid, as the heat will get out, letting you with a longer cooking time, and a lower temperature.
Specific Slow Cooker tips to know
- Don’t over fill the cooker, as the food won’t be prepared properly. Be sure to fill the pot just right, as having too little liquid might leave you with burnt food.
- Trim excessive fat from meat (including skin from poultry), as they will leave extra grease in your finished dish.
- Almost all meats take about 8 hours to be done on a low setting. Checking the manual for different types of meat is recommended if you’re not sure.
- When putting food in a Slow Cooker, layering is important. The ingredients placed at the bottom of the pot will be done quicker, so it is best to put root vegetables there first.
Different types of food and how to make them in a Slow Cooker
Besides the classic soup and meatloaf, Slow Cookers can do a lot of other recipes. Most meat, especially ground meat, require a little cooking forehead, and also draining.
Given the amount of time it takes for a meal to be ready, some ingredients might become bitter, like cayenne or tabasco, so be sure to put a small amount of them so you don’t ruin the whole dish.
Some products need to be added at the end of the cooking, like dairy products, spices, or seafood.