Christine's Product Reviews

Crockpot Glossary of Cooking Terms


Automatic Shut Off:
This function ensures the crockpot does not overheat and will shut it off when the fuse or timer instructs it to. Useful if you are making crockpot meals when nobody is home.


Broth:
A tasty liquid resulting from slow cooked meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables in water. Often used instead of water or wine in crockpot recipes.


Brown:
To cook something quickly over a high heat before adding it to your crockpot recipe, to enhance appearance, texture and flavor.


Ceramic Pots:
These have been used by cooks for hundreds of years because ceramic is heat resistant. A crockpot contains a ceramic or stoneware interior.


Condensation Collector:
Natural liquids evaporating from cooking food collects as condensation. This can appear on the outside of a pot because the room temperature is cooler. A puddle at the bottom of the crockpot is dangerous, so some models have a cavity or drip tray to collect condensation.


Cooker Lining:
Heat resistant sheets of plastic to hold food in crockpots, stop food sticking to the bottom of the dish and make cleanup easier.


Cooking Rack:
A rack to keep food raised above the bottom of the dish. Useful for foods that require air such as soufflés or steamed food.


Crockpot or Crock-Pot:
A brand name for a slow cooker, which is a countertop electrical cooking device that cooks food with low, moist, steady heat. A crockpot has a ceramic or porcelain, lidded oval or round cooking pot and a metal housing with a thermostatically controlled electric heating element.


Delayed Start:
A crockpot function allowing food to be cooked on a higher temperature for a shorter length of time. Useful if you want the crockpot to start cooking when you are at work.


Electric Control Panel:
Modern crockpots have these, instead of basic time and temperature dials. Features include temperature, alarm, timer and delayed start.


Glass Lid:
Crockpot lids are glass so you can check on the food without lifting the lid, since this would cause loss of heat and unwanted condensation.


Heating Element:
The element of a crockpot is between the inner and outer layer of the pot.


Heat Settings:
A crockpot has at least two heat settings. A low heat setting is best for red meat because the slow cooking breaks down the connective tissues while keeping the flavor intact. Medium heat is handy for cooking more quickly but with the slow cooking benefits. The high heat is recommended for white meats.


Keep Warm:
A function using very little heat to ensure the crockpot recipe stays at serving temperature.


Simmer:
To bring water, or another liquid, to just below boiling. The surface of a simmering liquid is covered in tiny bubbles. A crockpot never exceeds a simmer.


Slow Cooker: (See Crockpot)
An appliance around which a pot or crock is placed inside a metal casing. This has wraparound heating elements to give an even and slow heating of the food inside.


Stoneware:
Most crockpots have a glass lid, a metal exterior and a ceramic or stoneware interior.


Temperature Gauge:
A skewer-like probe to pierce meat to see if it is cooked or a digital screen displaying the crockpot’s internal temperature. Some temperature gauges automatically adjust the cooking temperature or shift to a “keep warm” function when the food is done.


Volume:
The capacity of a slow cooker. A mini slow cooker is one pint and a large slow cooker is seven quarts. Crockpots perform best when nearly full. Cooking a small amount of food in a huge crockpot is inefficient and will undercook and dry out even your best crockpot recipes, so choose the best crockpot size for your family.

 
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Christine Szalay-Kudra

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