There are many different cooking methods these days but it seems that slow cooking will always be our favorite. Prehistoric man used to cook food slowly over an indirect heat because this allowed juices to seep between ingredients, creating wonderful flavors and tender meat and vegetables.
Crockpot cooking today is not so different from historical cooking methods although the process has been fine tuned. With great quality slow cookers on the market today it is not difficult to see what all the fuss is about. Crockpot meals are tasty, flavorful, and healthy and you can simple leave the ingredients to combine and cook to perfection without even having to stir the meal. This means your dinner can cook itself while you are out all day.
Early Slow Cookers
The precursor to the modern crockpot was developed in the early 1960s and it was called the Bean Pot. As the name might suggest, this apparatus was designed to cook beans. The 1970s saw the launch of the Beanery, which was a self-contained unit. Soon after, the first slow cooker was launched and this was a bright red appliance with a basic crock interior and a glass lid.
How Crockpots Evolved
In 1974 crockpots were made with removable stoneware liners, making it easier to store leftover meals in the refrigerator and simpler to clean the slow cooker. Oval crockpots were created in 1997 for making roasts and 2001 saw the launch of the first programmable crockpot. Modern crockpots come with hundreds of pre-programmed recipes.
Slow cooked food is flavorful, succulent, and easy to make, meaning that crockpots remain one of the most popular kitchen appliances today.
An Interesting Look at Crock Pot History and Cooking
Slow cooking has been used for thousands of years and this cooking method can even be said to date back to when man discovered fire. Slow cooking breaks down fibrous vegetables and tough pieces of meat. The fibers are broken down slowly, the juices from the meat and vegetables keep the ingredients moist and after a period of several hours you have a delicious meal ready and waiting for you.
Cave dwellers might have found cooking their food for twenty-four hours over a slow burning fire pit to be convenient but these days we have another appliance to facilitate our slow cooking and that is called the crockpot. No longer is slow cooking out of vogue and thought to be a method to tenderize old hens and bake beans. These days there are hundreds of different crockpot recipes that anyone can make easily and people are rediscovering the joy of this cookery method.
The First Crockpots
West Bend developed an electric machine to cook beans in the early 1960s called the Bean Pot because baked beans were not available everywhere like today. This machine was like a traditional bean pot on a warming tray.
The next version of the bean cooker was the Beanery, a machine developed by Chicago’s Naxon Utilities Corp. This was a self-contained unit. The Rival company bought the Naxon Utilities Corp in 1970 and refined the Beanery. In 1971, the Rival Crock-Pot slow cooker was launched. This crockpot came with a glass lid, a bright red exterior, and a basic crock interior.
As soon as this crockpot was launched it was a success. The crockpot was redesigned again in 1974 with a removable stoneware liner, making it easier to clean the machine and to store leftover crockpot meals in the refrigerator.
How Modern Crockpots are Different
Crockpot sales reached an astonishing $30 million by 1981, just ten years after their launch. The oval crockpot was introduced in 1997, making it easier to cook oblong roasts, such as a whole chicken. The first programmable crockpot was released by Rival in 2001 and they named it the Smart-Pot. The Recipe Smart-Pot was launched in 2003 and this machine comes with more than two hundred pre-programmed recipes.
The VersaWare was launched in 2004 and this featured ETC, or Extreme Temperature Stoneware, which meant it could be used in the oven, microwave, refrigerator, crockpot or on the stove. The stoneware can be used like a skillet because of its generous surface area.
Reasons to Make Crockpot Meals
The long cooking times associated with crockpot cooking brings plenty of flavor to crockpot soups, tenderizes tough cuts of meat in meat crockpot recipes and it is a great way to cook dried beans. You might not have thought about making crockpot dessert recipes or crockpot appetizer recipes in your slow cooker but these are possible too. There are many easy crockpot recipes to try, even if you are new to cooking.
Ten or fifteen minutes of preparation time in the morning means that you can come home to a hot dinner. Few of us look forward to standing over a hot stove for hours after a long day at work and choosing a crockpot recipe means you do not have to. You can choose from 4 ingredient crockpot recipes and healthy crockpot recipes too because the slow cooker brings out the natural flavors and juiciness in your ingredients, meaning that some of the best crockpot recipes are the simplest.
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded: 01-13-16
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