Have you ever cooked using your slow cooker at home, and the food came out all wrong? Waiting all day for an undercooked or messed up meal has to be one of the most heart-breaking things to happen inside the kitchen. Messing up with the small things when preparing to cook in a slow cooker can cause your finished meal to be mushy and bland.
Using a slow cooker is an easy task. Most people are not familiar with the basics of using a slow cooker. Are you looking for foolproof tips for using a slow cooker that will make sure your food comes out perfect every single time? Here are some top tips to make sure you use your slow cooker the correct way to get the best results.
Read the User Manual
Almost every electrical appliance you buy comes with a user manual or guide. Most people throw away the user manuals or don’t bother opening them. Slow cookers also come with a user manual which can be extremely helpful in learning the right ways to operate your slow cooker. Going throw the user manual will eliminate the risk of making mistakes, as you will know the ins and outs of your slow cooker.
Selecting the Right Cut of Meat
Most people don’t know about the importance of selecting the right cuts of meat for cooking using a slow cooker. Meat cuts with a lot of fat are not optimal for cooking in a slow cooker, as the fat melts down and forms a layer on top of your food inside the meat cooker. Trimming the fat around your meat cut or using less fatty meat cuts is the best option. Less fatty cuts of meat are known to be hard to tenderize, but cooking in a slow cooker assures tender food that will break to the touch.
A slow cooker works like a mini oven, and preheating your slow cooker is an essential step to perfect your cooking. 15-20 minutes of preheating can majorly affect the way your food comes out. Preheating can help cook more tender and juicy food instead of it being dry and undercooked.
Don’t Open the Lid Unnecessarily!
Despite the urge to have a peek at the slow-cooking meal, not opening the lid will make sure your meal cooks quicker and better. If you open the lid even once, it will add 15-20 minutes to the total cooking time. Only some slow cooker recipes require you to open the lid and stir them.
Opening the lid can be harmful as well. The sudden outburst of steam from your slow cooker after opening its lid can be harmful to your skin. Taking safety precautions is gravely important.
Go Easy On the Liquid
There is no evaporation process in a slow cooker. All the liquids present at the begging of the cooking process shall remain till the end. A slow cooker requires less liquid to cook food. If you add excessive fluids to your ingredients, the cooked food will be mushy and moist. Adding more than the required liquid level can also increase the cooking time for your food.
Avoid Frozen Food
Adding frozen meat to your slow cooker will mess up the cooking process. The internal temperature of frozen foods can lead to uneven cooking, as the insides will be undercooked, and the outsides will be overcooked. Using room temperature food is the way to go as it is more relaxed and at a much more optimal temperature to cook evenly. Frozen food also drops the overall temperature of the slow cooker, which results in increased cooking time.
It’s a good idea to know which of your ingredients require less or more time to cook than the others. If you’re using hard to cook vegetables like squashes, layering them at the bottom of the slow cooker is the best call. The poor layering of your food can cause certain ingredients to be undercooked or overcooked.
When loading up your ingredients to your slow cooker, be sure to avoid overcrowding it. Know the limits of your slow cooker and fill it up accordingly. Most slow cookers have instructions to load them to a maximum limit of two-thirds full. Overcrowding your slow cooker will lead to a longer cooking time and unevenly cooked food.
Set the Proper Heat Level
It’s important to know the heat settings required for the type of food you’re cooking. Different foods require different heat settings. You cannot cook soft-shelled vegetables on high heat for 12 hours and expect them to stay whole. Different meat cuts require different heat settings tougher meat cuts require a lower heat setting for a longer time to cook properly. Most slow cooker recipes have heat level instructions in them follow them for optimal results.
Some meals require a resting period to allow the food to absorb its juices released while cooking. Allowing your slow-cooked food to rest for a while before eating it brings out the most flavor. The majority of the slow cooker meals are consumed the day after they are cooked to maximize the flavors you experience when you eat them. It is important to take out the cooked meal from your slow cooker and store it in a separate dish, as the slow cooker retains heat for too long and might spoil your cooked meal.
Garnish Before Serving
This step is optional to the consumer. Adding lemon juice or herbs as a garnish to your slow-cooked meal will bring out the most flavor. Slow cooker recipes often have the best garnish recommendations for your slow-cooked food.
Following these helpful tips and tricks will allow you to get the best slow cooker experience you possibly can. Most people who own slow cookers tend to overlook small steps of the process, which completely changes the outcome of the cooked food. Some people use slow cookers for cooking the majority of their meals, and some people use slow cookers on special occasions. Cooking using a slow cooker is no rocket science. Take small measures throughout the cooking process, and you’re good to go.
Now, it’s time to go into your kitchen and experiment with your slow cooker. Be sure to check our site for the best slow cooker recipes to make your effort put in the kitchen worth it.
Are you on a strict diet? Are you on the look for healthier food options? No need to break a sweat as we have you covered. Check out our guide on cooking keto recipes with a slow cooker and cook away!