A slow cooker is safe to use provided you abide by a few safety precautions. Another term used to describe a slow cooker is crock pot. Slow cookers use electricity and cook meat, fish, poultry, soups and stews much slower than cooking on top of a stove or in an oven. A meal that you cook in a slow cooker may require up to five hours of cooking time, depending upon the type of slow cooker you have and the food you intend to serve.
Keep safety in mind at all times when using your slow cooker. Protect your cooker’s electrical connections, plugs, cords, and switches from all types of liquids. Electrical circuits and connections are contained within the outer shell. Do not immerse this part of your cooker in water. Always keep the heating elements and electrical connections of your cooker clean and dry. Remove food spills or splashes with a damp cloth and dry with a paper towel.
Meal items will not cook properly in your slow cooker unless you select the correct temperature for proper cooking. Always cook your foods on the “Low” or “High Heat” settings and not on the “Keep Warm” setting. Leaving the lid ajar on your cooker or an interruption of electrical power will cause your food to be undercooked.
A common cause of overcooking a meal in your slow cooker is not placing a large enough volume of food into your appliance. To prevent this from happening, shorten the cooking time when you prepare a smaller amount and check for doneness halfway through the recommended cooking time for the recipe. Remember to select the appropriate cooking temperature -- low for smaller amounts of food and a high heat setting for larger amounts of food.
Food Safety Danger
Never use your slow cooker to reheat foods of any type. Always make sure the cooker is clean before you use it. Cut a large portion of meat in half. This reduces the chance of having a portion of meat that is cooked on the outside and nearly raw on the inside. Follow your slow cooker recipe book and remember that one hour of high cooking temperature is the equivalent to two hours of cooking at the low setting.
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