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Slow Cookers & Crock Pots

Selecting and Using a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

Slow cookers let you cook meals with minimal work and little supervision. A slow cooker is a wonderful addition to any kitchen. the first slow cooker appeared in 1971 and was introduced by the Rival Company. They called it the "Crock Pot".  Whether you select the Rival Crock Pot or another brand slow cooker the basic design will be the same. every slow cooker has two main parts;  abase unit that heats and a removable pot with lid. The removable pot is usually a stoneware pot with a glass lid.

The base Unit will most often have 2-3 settings. The standard settings are low and high. The optional setting is warm which is designed to hold finished meal at serving temperature. Some more complex slow cookers will have an auto setting or have a programmable keyboard.

Many people find that using a slow cooker find that using a slow cooker allows them to have complete, fuss free and healthy meals no matter what their schedule. As the name implies, slow cookers cook slowly and cook at low temperatures. A slow cooker can be left unsupervised. With a tremendous number of recipes available you can cook everything including main courses, beverages, desserts and even breads. Using a slow cooker is also economical because it allows you to use less expensive cuts of meat. The moist heat that will be cooking your meat tenderizes meat as it cooks.

Cuisinart 6.5 Quart Slow Cooker
Cuisinart 6.5 Quart Slow Cooker

Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 6 Quart Slow Cooker
Hamilton Beach Stay or Go 6 Quart Slow Cooker

 

Tips for Using a Slow Cooker

There are several tips and rules for using a slow cooker. One of the most important things to remember is that a slow cooker works best when you leave it alone. That means do not open during cooking, leave the lid on. Removing the lid will cause heat loss and prolong cooking time. With most recipes it is not necessary to stir the ingredients once cooking has begun. If you are new to using a crock pot, just follow the recipe, you will be pleasantly surprised at the ease of use.

Most recipes for the crockpot call for all ingredients to be added to the pot at the beginning. Follow the directions for the recipe. Fresh vegetable will take a while to cook so do not leave them whole. Cut vegetables such as carrots and potatoes into bite sized pieces and place them in the bottom of the pot, under the meat. Soft vegetable such as fresh tomatoes usually get added during the last hour or so of cooking. If you are using frozen vegetables, you can thaw them first or you might have to add a little cooking time.

For easier clean up spray the inside of the slow cooker pot with a cooking spray. Clean the crock pot immediately after use and avoid harsh chemicals. Try to avoid scratching the crockpot with hard utensils. We suggest using the same utensils you would for nonstick cookware.

Get started by trying our Slow Cooker Pot Roast Recipe