Like any other kitchen appliance, the slow cooker can boggle the smartest of cooks. If you want that perfectly succulent roast beef or tender pork bbq, it really doesn’t take much cooking savvy to achieve your desired result. Try out our ten tips to get the most out of your slow cooker.

  1. De-ice your food: Frozen food, especially frozen veggies, cook more thoroughly if you thaw them first, prior to placing them in your slow cooker masterpiece.
  2. Braise the meat: Cooking your meat off a little in a pan before you place it in the slow cooker tends to make the appearance of your meat better, and eliminates a lot of the fat within the meat. Braising also is reported to sear in the flavor of cooked meat.
  3. Match the size to the recipe: You can find slow cookers in sizes ranging from a quart all the way up to six quarts, which can really complicate the range of recipes out there as well. A standard rule of thumb for slow cookers is that the appliance should be no more than half full to achieve the right cooking conditions. Make sure to check the recipe carefully to notate any specific quart sizes mentioned.
  4. Pay attention to your food groups: Veggies don’t take as long to cook to tenderness, so place these tender food items inside your slow cooker towards the end of the cycle. Doing this will reduce the chance of your more fragile items breaking down molecularly, and help retain their flavor, color & texture.
  5. Practice your patience: We know its hard, but DON’T lift the lid on your slow cooker! There is no need to stir your recipe, and each lid raise equates to twenty minutes added onto your cook time. We know it is easier than it sounds.
  6. Add some flour: As with veggies, juices from various food sources in the slow cooker tend to break down during the cooking process. To thicken these, you can add a little bit of flour at the very end of your cooking time, after you have removed the main ingredients, and cook it down for ten to fifteen minutes inside the slow cooker.
  7. Cook your spuds correctly: If you dislike the darker color peeled potatoes take on after cooking in a slow cooker, make sure to submerge your spuds in some sort of liquid.
  8. Be precise and informed: Many recipes will offer up a varied cooking range, something like eight to ten hours, but it is important to try to get a more precise reading on the cooking time, if you can, as a 2 hour range can greatly change the consistency and flavor of a recipe.
  9. Reheat safely: If you are going to save your leftovers to be eaten later, make sure to safely heat them in a microwave. Do not try to reheat in the slow cooker.
  10. Keep to the recipe: It may be tempting to add extra liquid to your slow cooker recipe, but refrain. A common myth is that slow cookers cook by evaporation, but this is not true. In fact, slow cookers do not allow any evaporation, and most slow cooker recipes are very precise in liquid measurements.

 

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