Perhaps the hundreds of easy crockpot recipes make crockpot cooking so popular. Alternatively, maybe it is the fact that the best crockpot recipes are so simple to make and always turn out perfectly. Cooking with a crockpot means that you can make many different meals, including crockpot dessert recipes, crockpot soups and even 4 ingredient crockpot recipes. No wonder we love our crockpots!
Whether you currently own a slow cooker and make crockpot meals regularly or whether you have one gathering dust in a kitchen cabinet, here are some interesting crockpot facts, which you might not have known.
Healthy Crockpot Recipes
The constant low heat used in crockpot cooking is thought to help with disease prevention. Compounds called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) are made when fats, proteins, and sugars are heated at high temperatures. This happens when you grill, microwave or broil food. These AGEs irritate your cells and are thought to cause cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Crockpots only heat between 200 and 300 degrees F so fewer AGEs are formed, making crockpot meals healthy in more ways than one.
Crockpot meals tend to be healthy anyway because this method of cooking brings out the natural richness of your food and blends the flavors of everything you are cooking perfectly. This means that you will not need to add as much fat, sugar or other flavorings, like you might if you were using a different cooking method.
Cooking Rice, Pasta, and Cakes in a Crockpot
Did you know that you can cook rice and pasta in a slow cooker? Pasta needs lots of liquid in order to become tender and you should add it in the final hour of cooking time. Rice can be harder to cook but as long as you have plenty of liquid in the crockpot, it should come out soft and flavorful.
Crockpots are not just for making stews and soups. You can make a wide range of crockpot dessert recipes too. You can also make cakes in there. You will need a vegetable steamer or small round rack to life the cake off the bottom of the crockpot to let the heat circulate and you will need to use quite a big crockpot. You can make an eight or nine inch diameter cake in a five-quart crockpot.
High Altitude Crockpot Cooking
If you live at a high altitude, you might need to increase your crockpot cooking times by up to fifty percent! This is because the air pressure in the atmosphere is lower. Water boils at 212 degrees F at sea level. If you are boiling water at 7500 feet however, it boils at 198 degrees F, which makes a big difference to your crockpot recipes. The difference in the water boiling temperature affects the food cooking processes and therefore the flavor of the food as well as the cooking time.
How to Check the Temperature of Your Slow Cooker
Some of the newer crockpot models cook at a hotter temperature. This is probably because manufacturers have food safely at the forefront of their minds. If you want to check the temperature of your crockpot, this is how to do it:
Put two quarts of water in your crockpot. Cover and heat on low for eight hours. Lift the lid and check the water temperature immediately with a thermometer. The water temperature should be 185 degrees F. If it is higher, your food might overcook unless you reduce the overall cooking time. If it is lower, your food might not reach a safe temperature quick enough and you should not use the crockpot.
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