Tuesday’s Tip: Slow Cooker Accuracy

Tue, 03/01/2012

I received my first slow cooker as a wedding present nearly 12 years ago.  It is a basic model, one with just a “off,” “low,” and “high” setting, but it has served me well in the last decade or so.

I love the slow cooker for creating healthy and tasty meals that are ready for the dinnertime rush. Since this month I am focusing on time savers to healthy eating, I couldn’t forget to mention my beloved slow cooker.

But recently this fall I noticed that recipes I tried were taking longer than usual to finish cooking. Then, when I tried a recipe of a friend that called for 6-8 hours on LOW, yet was still quite uncooked, I figured something was up.

I started to do a little research on slow cooker temperatures and this is what I found:

*Older slow cookers often cook lower than newer models.  To test your slow cooker, place two quarts of water into it and cook on LOW for 8 hours.  Test the water with thermometer and it should read 185-200 degrees.

*If your slow cooker is not cooking at least 185 degrees, it is unsafe to use, as it may not cook high enough in temperature or quickly enough to avoid food safety issues.  Either replace your slow cooker or use merely as a warmer (we use our slow cooker on Thanksgiving to keep side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, warm).

*Newer slow cookers cook on HIGH at about 300 degrees and LOW at about 200 degrees.  

*When using your slow cooker for the first time, be sure to use it while you are home to observe its speed and accuracy for cooking.

Since my old Crock Pot was cooking as warmly as it should, Santa graciously brought me a new one this year.  So with this new year, it’s out with the old and in with the new!

Notice the new slow cooker is already in action and ready to step up and whip out some great time-saving recipes!  

Life is sweet,