It’s a kitchen appliance we here at FBE love: the Slow Cooker. So when these slow cooker tips from Lid Pocket inventor (a pretty ingenious product!) Vicky Braun landed in our inbox, we knew we had to share them. After all, although cooking in a slow cooker is easy and simple, there are just a few little things you can do here and there to set yourself up for slow-cooker success. So read on for Vicky’s top 10 slow cooker tips!
Top 10 Slow Cooker Tips
1. Try it before you go. Before preparing a new recipe in your slow cooker and leaving for the day, try the recipe first when you will be home to watch it and make adjustments to the cooking time if necessary.
2. Don’t add frozen meat. Be sure to thaw your poultry or meat before adding it to the slow cooker (unless indicated otherwise by manufacturer).
3. Do not over-fill or under-fill the slow cooker. In fact, half to three-quarters full is ideal. If the slow cooker is less than half-full — be prepared — food will cook quicker.
4. Thicken naturally. To thicken soups or stews without using flour or cornstarch, simply remove around one cup of food (veggies, beans, meat) in the last 15 to 20 minutes and mash or puree in a blender and add back to the slow cooker. So good!
5. Stay safe! Always use a meat thermometer to make sure your meats are cooked properly.
6. Use your slow cooker all year round! Don’t heat up the oven in the summer — use your slow cooker!
7. Bust out the sauté pan. If you have time, sautéing vegetables such as carrots and onions prior to slow cooking softens them and improves the flavor of the meal.
8. Veggies always go on top. Meat and poultry cook faster than some vegetables. Put the vegetables in first and the meat on top.
9. Soak raw beans overnight and rinse well before adding to your slow cooker. To avoid Red Kidney Bean Poisoning, red kidney beans should be pre-cooked before adding to the slow cooker.
10. Throw in tender veggies and dairy late. Add tender veggies such as tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini during the last 30 minutes of slow cooking; add dairy products during the last 10-15 minutes of slow cooking.
Do you have a few slow cooker tips that you swear by, too? Share ’em! —Jenn