A slow cooker can become your best friend in the kitchen, especially if you are constantly on the go. It is an appliance that is convenient because you cook everything in one pot and you can leave it cooking on low heat all day without having to constantly monitor it. Obviously, slow cookers do not chop vegetables, nor season meat. That, my friends, needs to be done with your lovely hands. Don’t you worry though. Once I hear about an appliance that can make it, I will make sure to tell you! In the mean, a slow cooker will speed up cooking process. You will toss all the ingredients and it will do the job. Before making a jump and buying one, you need to consider few things.
Here are some things you need to know before you buy your first slow cooker.
There are some key features of a slow cooker that may prove to be useful to you.
- You want a slow cooker that has large, sturdy handles so it is easier to transport from the counter to the table.
- You also want to be sure it has a clear lid so that you can check on the food without having to lift the cover and release steam.
- You want to choose a slow cooker that has a programmable timer instead of a mechanical control. With programmable timers, you can set the slow cooker to cook for a certain amount of time on a specified temperature. Once the timer is done, the device will automatically switch to a keep-warm setting. With the mechanical control, there are temperature controls but no timer. This means you will have to be home to turn the unit off when cooking is done. And I beg you not to make this mistake (which I made). The delicious chicken will look like a soup if you don’t have the timer.
- The size of the slow cooker that you will need will depend on how big your family is. If you have a family of 4 people or more, you want to choose a 6-quart size whereas couples can do well with a 4-quart size. Slow cookers cook best when they are at least half full but should not be more than 2/3 full.
- There are two shapes of slow cookers: oval and round. Oval shaped are great for whole chicken and roasts while the round ones are ideal for stews and soups. The most common type of slow cooker insert is one that can be taken out. While these are sometimes heavy, they are practical and sturdy. Other slow cooker models feature a nonstick coating but these are harder to take care of so the finish doesn’t get damaged.
Those are few things to consider before buying your new best friend: a slow cooker. Do you have one? Did you consider one of these things before buying? Tell me.
Image Credit: By Swede00 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons