7 Slow Cooker Tips to Make Your Choice Easier
Slow cooker tips come in handy when considering buying one or replacing the one you got. Crock pots differ in terms of prices, functionality, sizes and many other different aspects. The following are some of the important features that you should bear in mind before purchasing one:
1. Material of the Lid
When using a slow cooker the main agenda is usually to retain as much heat in the cooker as possible to achieve best results. If you keep opening the lid to check on the food you risk lengthening the cooking process since a lot of heat is lost. Cookers with glass lids are better options than those with lids made of opaque material.
The transparent glass makes it easier for you to monitor the food without having to lift the lid hence losing heat. Some cookers come with an added advantage of a locking lid to prevent spillovers and a ladle fitted into a notch on the lid.
2. The Presence of a Timer
Most cookers usually have a timer either in digital form or a choice between already set cooking times. The programmable cookers are more expensive than those without electronic controls and a digital timer. The importance of an in-built timer is to prevent the food from overcooking and becoming too mushy to be palatable.
The timer is set by the owner to put the cooker off at the time when he or she feels that the food is ready. It is advisable to pick a programmable slow cooker as compared to a mechanical one due to the above mentioned timer feature.
3. Warming Function
Most cookers usually have low and high temperature settings and some have an added advantage of having a warming function. The warming function keeps the food warm but at a lower temperature to prevent it from overcooking. This function can also be set in a way such that once the timer goes off and the food is cooked to precision, the slow cooker automatically switches to that warm function setting. The warming function is good for keeping food warm for events like parties to prevent tedious reheating for the guests or even overcooking.
4. Material of the Crock
The most popular materials are porcelain, ceramic and metal. Depending on your choice or preference, these materials are all good in heat conduction hence you can pick any. Some models are also made of material that is safe to use in the microwave, oven or on top of a stove. However, for the crock to be easy to clean it has to be easily detachable from the heating unit. Touch pad controls are also usually easier to clean than twist and turn knobs and buttons.
5. The Heating Method
Most of the cookers in the market have a removable ceramic or porcelain pot. The heating element can either be only at the bottom or rise slightly above the side of the base. Those with a slightly raised heating system usually have an advantage of more evenly distributed heat in the crock as compared to the others. When the heating unit is only located at the bottom of the crock, the food may be subjected to too much heat hence end up scorching. As a result you end up stirring the food severely and thus losing some heat from the pot, making the cooking process slower.
6. Size is Important
The greatest key to the size is that the cooker needs to be at least halfway to three-quarter-way full when cooking to avoid overcooking, prevent spillovers as well as achieve great results on your recipe. Capacity basically ranges between 1.5 to 8.5 quarts. You can get really tiny cookers if you only need to keep dips and snacks in them or large capacity ones depending on the size of your household and the recipes you are planning to prepare. If you have a small household you can use a smaller three to four quart cooker, though most slow cooker recipes are meant for average-sized cookers of about six quarts.
7. Shape and Sear Function
Depending on what you want to cook, shape really is not a major factor. Oval shapes are generally used for large meat roasts. Buy what suits your storage space to avoid unnecessary bulk. Some cookers come with the sear function that make meat browning and vegetable frying easier. Want to learn few slow cooking tips for tastier meals? Check this article.
As you can see there are plenty of slow cooker tips that will help you make your choice easier. If you want to find out important features on the most popular models take a look at this comparison table .