Slow cookers are very useful kitchen gadgets that have gained much popularity over the years because they are time-saving, convenient to use and budget friendly. They are best known for their convenience of use; the user just has to toss all the ingredients in the cooker, close the lid, select a setting and leave the cooker to do the rest of the job. No supervision is required as is the case with conventional cooking. The users can engage themselves in other activities and even leave the house while the food is cooking. You can come home after a long day to a slow cooked delicious, fresh meal. The benefits of a slow cooker are many. If you are looking for a more versatile appliance, you can choose a multi-cooker (for example Instant Pot) which offers the functionality of a pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker and much more in just one gadget.
If you have just bought a slow cooker and are new to its use, it is advisable that you follow some tips to get the most out of your appliance and increase its life and effectiveness. Here is a list of things you need to keep in mind:
1. Size of ingredients:
Before putting your ingredients in the cooker, it is probably a good idea to cut large pieces of meat or vegetables into smaller pieces so that they cook evenly and their centers are not left undercooked.
2. Recipes with minimum preparation:
The whole point of slow cooking is that it saves time! Select recipes which do not involve a lot of steps. You should just have to prepare the ingredients, throw them in and wait for them to cook. Avoid complex recipes that require attention find out more here. The best slow cooker is an ideal choice for soups, stews, roast much more.
3. Do not lift the lid:
Avoid removing the lid of the cooker while it is on because upon doing so the steam escapes disturbing the temperature and the cooking time.
4. Add pasta or rice towards the end:
If you want the complete meal with rice or pasta to be cooked in the slow cooker, do not add rice or pasta in the beginning because they will get overcooked while your meat and vegetables cook. Add these during the last 30 minutes of cooking to get a perfect texture.
5. Do not fill to the rim:
Do not overfill your slow cooker. It is a good idea to leave it 1/3rd empty to allow for expansion of ingredients. The lid should close tightly so that the steam does not escape and the cooking temperature and time remain unaffected.
6. Avoid using frozen food:
Frozen food is not advisable to be used for slow cooking. This is because warm temperatures promote the growth of bacteria. While the frozen food is slowly warming up in the slow cooker, bacteria could be growing in your meal. This can be easily prevented by thawing your meat or vegetable beforehand.