Master the art of slow cooking with these easy tips.
- Before using your slow cooker for the first time, read the user’s manual for special instructions.
- Most slow cookers should be preheated before placing the ingredients in unless specifically stated in the user’s manual. To preheat, place the empty crock in the heating unit and put the cover on. Turn to high and preheat for 15-20 minutes.
- Fill the crock at least half but no more than two-thirds full for the most efficient cooking.
- Do not lift the lid during cooking unless specifically told to do so by the recipe. Each time the lid is lifted, heat escapes and 20 minutes will need to be added to the cooking time. If the recipe says to stir the ingredients, replace the cover as quickly as possible.
- If you don’t have time for the recipe to be cooked on low for as long as required, the slow cooker can be turned to high and the cooking time reduced. Convert by using a ratio of two hours of low cooking as equal to one hour of high. It is still best to cook the cheaper, tougher cuts of meat on low for a long time to produce a more tender result.
- Seasonings can lose their strength during the long cooking process so it is best to taste the food when ready and add more if necessary.
- Dairy products like milk, cream, yoghurt and sour cream should be added in the last 15 minutes of cooking time so that they don’t slit.
- Most slow cooker recipes will give a range of cooking time because each slow cooker is different. You’ll need to get used to how yours works to figure out where your cooker will fall within the range.