How to Use a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are handy kitchen appliances that allow you to produce cheap and healthy meals without all of the extra effort. Not only can you use it to cook a stew, curry or chilli, it can also make delicious cakes and desserts, making the dish possibilities endless!
Whether you’re new to using one or you’re unsure if you are using it correctly, slow cookers can be a little bit confusing as they aren’t a conventional cooking device like a stove. While they are relatively simple to use once you know how to, getting to grips with it may leave you wondering if you’re doing it right or wrong. Here is our guide on how to get the best results from using a slow cooker.
Preparing to Use Your Slow Cooker
There is very little to do when preparing to use your slow cooker, making it one of the easiest cooking methods. Some recipes may require otherwise, but all you need to do is cut up your ingredients and pre-heat your slow cooker, ready to add them all in and leave it to slowly simmer to perfection.
Loading Your Slow Cooker
First things first, you shouldn’t just add in all of your ingredients randomly as they may not cook evenly. At the bottom of the pot where it is the hottest, you’ll want to add the part of the dish that will take the longest to cook – this will often be any root vegetables included in the recipe. On top of your root vegetables you’ll want to add the meat, topping it off with the stock, broth or another liquid part to prevent the dish from drying out. Any dairy, seafood or quick cooking vegetables should only be added an hour before it is finished cooking as these break down and separate easily.
What to do While Cooking
In short, the answer is whatever you like. Some recipes may require you to stir it occasionally or add some ingredients later on, but for the most part it will just slowly cook over a period of time. A lot of slow cooker recipes can actually be prepared in the morning and left to cook while you’re at work, leaving your evening free for unwinding. Your timings don’t have to be perfect either as your dish can be left on the ‘keep warm’ setting until it’s ready to be eaten.
Cleaning Your Slow Cooker
One of the best things about cooking with a slow cooker is that there is less washing up! Ours comes complete with a removable pot so that once you are done, all you need to do is remove it from the base and fill with hot soapy water. Once it has been left to soak, wash and dry the pot completely before putting away. Never put cold water straight into a just-used slow cooker as it may crack from the sudden temperature change.