Slow cooking might be one of the easiest cooking methods ever but everybody has to start somewhere and a lot of people who are new to slow cooking have crockpot questions or want some slow cooker help.
Reheating Food in a Slow Cooker
One of the most common questions about crockpots is whether or not it is safe to reheat foods in the slow cooker. If you have made one of our delicious slow cooker recipes you might want to reheat it the following day but unfortunately, it is not safe to reheat food in there. The fact that the temperature is raised slowly over a long cooking period creates an unsafe environment for the food, especially if it contains meat or fish. Reheat the food on the stovetop or in the oven instead.
How to Stop Food Sticking to the Crockpot
Use nonstick cooking spray to coat the inside of your slow cooker if you are worried about food sticking to it. Another option is to use a slow cooker bag. Be aware that these are not cheap and they often leak, so we recommend nonstick cooking spray as the best option to stop food sticking.
How to Check Your Crockpot Temperature
If you buy a second hand crockpot or you have an old one, it is important to check the temperature, and to make sure it will get hot enough to kill harmful bacteria in meat or poultry. Add two quarts of water to the slow cooker, then put the lid on and heat it for eight hours. Take the lid off and immediately put a thermometer into the hot water. It should be 185 degrees F. If it is higher, you can adjust the cooking time. If it is lower, you should replace the slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Help – The Power Went Off!
If you have been out all day and you only find out about a power cut when you get home, can you still eat your slow cooker meal? Unfortunately the answer is no because you do not know how long the slow cooker was without power. Also, slow cookers do not usually reset themselves after a power cut so even if the power was only out for ten seconds your meal will not resume cooking as it was. The crockpot will slowly heat back up instead.
This means that unsafe temperatures might have caused the growth of bacteria. Unless you are happy to risk your family getting salmonella, throw the meal out. Fortunately, for most of use, power cuts are pretty rare.
How to Prepare Your Crockpot Recipes in Advance
If you want to cut down on preparation time, it is possible to assemble your crockpot recipes ahead of time. This is a great idea if mornings are usually hectic for you. Chop all the vegetables you need and keep them refrigerated. Measure out the sauce ingredients or mix the sauce in advance. Thaw the meat overnight in the refrigerator and cube or trim it as required.
Do not combine the ingredients the night before, however, because this could result in cross-contamination with the meat and other ingredients. Do not mix everything in the crockpot and put it in the refrigerator overnight either. The crockpot insert needs to be at room temperature when you turn on the crockpot, else it might crack. Follow the above advice and you are well on your way to making the most delicious, safest, and absolute best crockpot recipes.
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