A slow cooker is a go-to solution when you want to cook and at the same time attend to other activities. Other cooking techniques such as boiling, frying, and baking require you to be present, but slow cooking cooks the food at a lower temperature without being attended to regularly. Many types of foods can be prepared with a slow cooker including bread. However, slow cooking is made more efficient with various tips, which include:
Limit the Ingredients
When using a slow cooker, you should put the ingredients between halfway and three-quarters full for best cooking. In addition, you should not fill the pot with all the ingredients because it is cooking at a lower temperature and thus the pot should have enough space to allow the heat to be distributed uniformly. Since, slow cookers are designed in different sizes that enable any amount of food to be prepared with the space left above the food.
Reduce Liquid Ingredients
A slow cooker has a lid that is tightly closed for it to function and therefore, any liquid in the pot cannot evaporate. If your recipe uses a liquid such as water, then you should reduce it by about a third. The liquid should be slightly over the food in the pot. If you overfill the slow cooker with water when you are strictly following the standard recipe, it will leak out of the top, and the food will not be well cooked. It is advisable to add the liquid/ingredient to about two-thirds of the pot, but not more than three-quarters.
If you want to get the best out of your slow cooker, then you should set time. The standard cooking setting is at about 210° C. Therefore, you should set it and then start the timer. The slow cooker has settings that should be used for better cooking. The lower settings cook food between 8 and 10 hours and the higher settings cook between 4 and 6 hours. If you do not set cooking time, the food might overcook or undercook because the temperatures have to correlate with the time. Fortunately, the modern slow cookers have been designed to bring food to a safe temperature within a specified period until it cooks well and then it holds it there until you switch it off.
Do not disrupt
The importance of using a slow cooker is that you have the chance to walk away and let the food cook. You do not need to stir the ingredients or keep checking on the food. If you want to get the best out of your slow cooker, follow your recipe carefully and let it cook because if you keep opening the lid to check the contents, heat will escape and this will cause a disturbance on the temperature and increase the cooking time. When cooking with kids they may be curious to check. Therefore, it is important to let them know that they should not disrupt. Some recipes will require you to add ingredients in the last hour, and thus you should add carefully and then seal the lid back tightly.
Be present at the End of Cooking
When you set time on the slow cooker, ensure you are present at the end of cooking to avoid overcooking the food. Modern slow cookers switch themselves off and keep the food in a warming temperature, but if left for too long, it will also overcook.
Prepare the Recipe
Cooking at a lower temperature for long hours while you handle other activities including playing with your children. However, the slow cooker cooks whatever you place in the pot initially without additional cooking procedures. Therefore, you are the one who will determine the taste and flavour of the food. Get the best out of your slow cooker by preparing early, getting all ingredients ready, browning the meat, or searing vegetables among other preparations. Your slow cooker will then be cooking a delicious meal with better flavours.
DE clutter your Working Space
You will not be getting the most out of your slow cooker if it ends up damaging your other household applicants. Removing all the unwanted appliances around the slow cooker will be essential. The sides of the slow cooker release moderate heat, and thus it is advisable to place it about 6 inches away from the wall or any other kitchen appliances. This is also a safe precaution when cooking with kids that as they learn to give the slow cooker space to allow the heat to dissipate.
What do you love to cook in your slow cooker? I would love to know in the comments below or on social media: @mummyconstant.