Before I enumerate the steps on how to use a slow cooker, let me answer the question:
How does a slow cooker work?
A slow cooker is made up of three main components: the base, which contains the heating element, the vessel, and the lid. The base includes the handles, a temperature knob or a control panel, and the feet of the cooker to keep it from steady on your counter.The liner is a thin metal insert molded onto the inside of the base and it houses the heater bands that conduct heat around the bottom of the cooker. The bands help cook your food evenly. The cooking vessel or inner pot is where the ingredients are put.The lid helps the cooker reach the appropriate cooking temperature. Without it, the slow cooker won’t be able to work efficiently.
Now we can move on to the steps on how to use a slow cooker
1. Clear your kitchen countertop. You’ll be leaving the cooker to cook on its own so for safety purposes, clear some counter space and make sure you place it at least five or six inches away from walls or any other appliance since the heat needs to dissipate.Remember not to place it near the edge as well.
2. Get your ingredients ready. Follow the procedure for the recipe. If some vegetables need to be cut, cut them ahead of time. Browning the meat and searing the vegetables will contribute to a better flavor of the dish but it takes time.
3. Add the ingredients in your slow cooker. Never overfill the slow cooker. It should only be between half to three-quarters full. If your dish requires water or broth, it should only be halfway up the ingredients or less. Don’t put too much liquid since only little of it evaporates while cooking.
4. Cover your slow cooker. Make sure that the lid is tight to prevent steam from escaping. If the lidcannot tightly seal the pot, wrap a sheet of aluminum foil over the top.
5. Set the cooking time. The low setting usually cooks the food between 8-10 hours and cooks the food gently. The high setting cooks the food between 4-6 hours and cooks the food quickly.
6. Let it do its job. This time, you can leave the slow cooker to do your own job. Stirring the contents won’t be necessary unless the recipe says so. Usually, additional ingredients are added at the last hour of cooking.
7. Let the dish cool off before serving it. Unless your slow cooker has a Keep Warm Mode, you have to be around when the cooking time is up to prevent it from burning.
Tips to Remember:
1. Never add raw meat to your slow cooker to get the most delectable flavor out of your dish.
2. Brown the meat on the stovetop before adding it to your slow cooker.
3. Use the right type of meat. Be sure your meat is applicable to the recipe you’re cooking and they’re cut evenly to allow all the pieces to be cooked at the same.Remember not to cook lean mean for a long time because they can get tough and stubborn.
4. Never open the slow cooker during cooking. This is where the glass lid becomes beneficial. It will allow you to check the progress without removing the lid.
5. Never add the dairy products too soon because they will curdle.
If you’re on the looks for a new slow cooker, we have collected a list of the best 5 slow cookers.