Crockpots have been one of the most important cooking tools for over thirty years and they are a godsend for busy families. Crockpot cooking is a brilliant way to provide tasty home cooked meals for families on the go and there are hundreds of flavorful crockpot recipes to choose from.
A crockpot, also known as a slow cooker, is made from fired clay and is normally glazed and surrounded with a metal housing. It has a controlled heating element to maintain the correct temperatures to allow the food to cook over longer times.
Most crockpots have two heat settings and a glass lid to retain the moisture and heat. The lid is essential to stop the hot water vapor from escaping. It is important not to lift the lid while the food is cooking. If you do, the food will take an extra twenty to thirty minutes to cook!
How Does a Crockpot Work?
Slow cookers are very different than pressure cookers. A pressure cooker allows much higher temperatures than boiling water. A slow cooker uses the opposite technique and keeps the temperatures low. The lid of a crockpot sits loosely, which means the temperature inside the appliance will never be above the boiling point of water. Any vapor resulting from the crockpot cooking will condense on the lid and fall back into the food, keeping it moist.
Because of the way crockpot cookery works, you can cook food for longer than expected without harming it. Actually meats because incredibly tender when they are cooked in this way.
Slow cooker recipes must be adjusted to compensate for the way a crockpot cooks the food. The water is usually decreased for crockpot meals because it will not turn to steam and escape like if you were boiling something in an uncovered saucepan. When you are experienced at making crockpot meals, you will be able to adjust recipes that were not originally created for the crockpot.
The Truth About Crockpot and Slow Cooking and Health
The direct heat from the pot, steam, and long cooking time decrease the risk of bacteria so crockpot cooking is a healthy cooking method. Also, if you are simply adding ingredients rather than precooking anything, you are going to use very little, if any, oil or butter. If you are deep-frying or sautéing you will need to use fat to stop the meat, fish or vegetables from sticking to the pan but this is unnecessary in a crockpot because of the liquid ingredients.
Which are the Best Foods for Crockpot Cooking?
The best foods to cook in your slow cooker are those, which cook well at low temperatures for a long time. Leaner, cheaper cuts of meat do especially well in a crockpot. They become tender and do not shrink much. Food with a high moisture content like stew, soup, spaghetti sauce, and chili are all great for crockpot cooking. You should cut food into small pieces to make sure everything cooks all the way through and defrost meat before adding it to the crockpot.
How to Clean a Crockpot
The best way to clean your slow cooker is to wait for it to cool, then fill it with hot soapy water and leave it for twenty minutes. Never run cold water into a hot crockpot because it might crack. Scrub the crockpot with a plastic sponge, nylon net pad, or cloth. Do not use a metal pad or anything harsh or abrasive. Rinse it well in hot water and let it dry.
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