A slow cooker is truly a great kitchen appliance, as it doesn’t only produce some really healthy meals but can also save you money and lower the amount of time you spend in the kitchen. You can use it to make chicken, beef, lamb, all sorts of vegetables, and many other recipes that you and your family will love – and that’s why we decided to help you by providing you with some handy tricks and tips for the slow cooking:
Keep the lid closed
Every time you take a peek during the cooking, you’re adding extra 15 minutes of the cooking time. Try to avoid glancing, as it slows down the whole process and is usually totally unnecessary.
Avoid the frozen food
When you’re loading the slow cooker with some icy ingredients, you’re keeping the food in the danger zone in which all sorts of bacteria can quickly flourish (40° to 140°). Always make sure that your vegetables and meat are thawed before you turn the cooker on.
Trim the fat
If you’re planning to make a silky sauce or gravy, take some time and carefully cut all the excess fat from the meat. If you skip this step, you’re in a risk to end up with the greasy, oily cooking liquid.
The browning can boost the flavor
Even though you can certainly simply pile the food into the unit and get some pretty tasty results, a better way would be to take a few minutes to brown the meat and saute the vegetables before you add them to the cooker. This process will reward you with an extra layer of tasty, caramelized flavor.
Avoid the overcrowding
Try to avoid filling your slow cooker to the maximum extent, as filling only one half (or even two-thirds) of it could give you much better results. Of course, you can cook whole chickens and big roasts without worrying – just make sure that your slow cooker is big enough for it.
Set a proper heat level
The general rule for the heat in the slow cooking is that preparing food on the low setting (around 170°) takes twice the time as cooking with the high setting (280°). Don’t forget that some recipes turn out better when you’re preparing them on a correct heat setting.
Maintain your unit
If you didn’t know, the ceramic insert that’s inside the slow cooker could crack if you expose it to some abrupt temperature shifts. You should avoid placing a hot pot on the cold counter – put a dishtowel under it. The same could be said about the filled insert that spent the night in the refrigerator – allow it to come to the room temperature before the cooking.
We hope that we helped you with these tricks and tips. Try practicing some of them the next time you use your slow cooker, and we can guarantee you that the whole cooking experience will be much more enjoyable and tastier!