Using a slow cooker is easy, versatile and economical! They can help you save time and money and smuggle heaps of vegetables into your children’s food. But, have you ever just quickly thrown a bunch of ingredients into your slow cooker and come home to MUSH? Here are my 4 top tips to help you get the most out of your slow cooker and to prepare the perfect slow cooked meal!
With a slow cooker, it’s actually best to use CHEAPER cuts of meat. Cheaper meats, such as pork shoulders or lamb shanks, are tougher cuts of meat but are higher in fat. This means that they will break down and become incredibly tender during the slow cooking process. The higher fat concentrate will help to keep the meat tender. Leaner cuts tend to try out in the slow cooker.
Every time you release the lid on your slow cooker, you lose heat! This significantly increases the cooking time, as the machine will take time to heat back up to the desired temperature. Only open the slow cooker 60 to 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time to check progress!
It is best to start with room temperature ingredients. This is especially important for meat if you don’t get the chance to brown it first. Make sure that all ingredients are thawed beforehand. Packing your slow cooker with frozen ingredients can result in the food sitting at an unsafe temperature and bacteria will grow!!
You need to pay attention to the order you place ingredients into your slow cooker. Start with slow-cooking, firm ingredients, such as potatoes, carrots, or large pieces of meat, as they will take the longest to cook. Any delicate, quick cooking ingredients should be layered on top or added in the last 30 minutes of cooking time. Always leave dairy products until the end, such as milk or sour cream, as they break down very quickly in the slow cooker.
If you’re looking for some fantastic slow cooker recipes to put these tips into action, I have just released an Updated Version of the BEST SELLER, The Easiest Slow Cooker Book Ever! The book is packed with more slow cooker tips, the best cuts of meat, cooking times! Click here to buy a signed copy for just $24.99 with free delivery anywhere in Australia!
You can find some great slow cooker recipes here!
Happy SLOW cooking!