The Slow cooker has over the years helped people with busy schedules to maintain a healthy eating pattern. However, if you are the kind of person who will stay for more than 12 hours out then the slow cooker may not be effective for you.
The best way to go about having to use the slow cooker when you expect to take long outside is to buy the slow cooker with timers so that once your food is cooked it can switch to keep warm function or better yet just switch it off.
Is It Safe to Use A Programmable Slow Cooker (Food Becomes Bad)?
We have various high tech programmable slow cookers in the market. The programmable slow cookers are safe to use except some people decide to invest in the delayed timers which are never safe to use. Here’s why:
The delayed timer allows your food to sit on the counter for hours before starting the cooking process. The problem with that is that it gives an ideal environment for the bacteria to breed. You obviously know that bacteria will lead to foodborne disease.
This is especially true if you have meat in the slow cooker. Notice that, after 8 hours your slow cooker stops working and if it doesn’t have a timer and thus the keep warm function your meat will in 2 hours begin to develop a breeding ground for bacteria.
We have heard arguments that you could get your frozen food into the slow cooker, set it on delayed start timer and let it thaw slowly then begin the cooking process after a few hours.
Never let your frozen food take hours to thaw in the slow cooker because you subject it to danger breeding zone. It’s not okay to cook frozen food in the slow cooker let alone allow it to stay in the cooker long before it thaws.
Moreover, the slow cooker delay function poses an electrical danger. Your electricians may have told you that it’s not safe to use the delayed timer on heating elements. The electric load in the delayed timer draws the currents and this can be too much that the circuit breaker trips.
When this happens, you will have the electricity shutting off and mind you, you aren’t home which could cause more electrical hazards in your house.
The best option is to use the timers as the food will cook and once the cooking stops, it automatically goes to the keep warm function.
In summation, it’s safe to use the programmable settings that come with most high-tech slow cookers but don’t use the delayed timer.
How to Choose A Slow Cooker with A Timer?
Slow cookers are quite effective yet cheaper than most other kitchen gadgets. When buying it, there are many factors to check so that you can buy an ideal item that will serve you for years.
I think this may be the most important factor of consideration when you are buying the slow cooker. You will have all the options available the slow cooker can be as small as 1.5 quarts and a large one being over 10 quarts.
The question is how many people are you feeding with the slow cooker. If you have a family of 3-5 people you will need a slow cooker with a capacity of 4 to 6 quarts. While if you can buy an 8 quarts slow cooker, it will feed up to 7 people.
Remember your slow cooker works best when half-filled thus you should take a keen interest in the size of slow cooker. You can buy yourself the large one to use when you need to cook the soup sometime.
The timer and other fancy settings
We have mentioned in the previous paragraphs that the timer is especially ideal for that person who intends to use the slow cooker for longer than 8 hours. This means it keeps your food warm to wait for the eating time.
Some people like the timer because it turns the machine off when they aren’t back to the house yet. Thus, keeping your home and other electric gadgets safe.
Other settings that the slow cooker may have included:
Indicator light: this tells you that the cooker is working. Most slow cookers take some time to warm up thus the indicator light tells you when it begins the cooking process.
The auto cook option: it’s where the cooker heats up highly to continue cooking then goes low to maintain a low temperature thus slowly cook the food. The setting is mostly found on the premium slow cooker.
Digital (Programmable) Vs Manual Controls
In the past, you only had the manual control slow cookers with high and low-temperature settings. These slow cookers continue to cook until you turn them off. Today, the digital programmable controls let you choose when the cooker should turn on and for how long.
You will have the cooker switch on to the warm function after a certain duration. The digital controls give you the flexibility and control.
A common instance is when there’s a power outage in the course of the cooking process. If you had set the slow cooker, the digital cooker switches off and remain off power even when the power is back.
On the other hand, if you have the manual settings, it will switch off but when the power is back it continues the cooking. The digital thus utilizes the automatic on and off function.
What Does Crock Mean?
Crock is defined as an earthenware pot or jar that’s thick. The crockpot was the brand name of those first rival slow cookers when they first came out. For some people, the crockpot is the name used to refer to any slow cooker.
This is to mean that the name crockpot and slow cooker are used interchangeably.
How to Use the Crockpot
Programmable Slow Cooker with Timer
The pot has a capacity of 6 quarts which will feed up to 7 people and it features a stainless steel exterior surface. It’s not only eye-catching but also durable. It looks good on any kitchen counter and you can even place it on your dining table.
Its lid has a lockable function which means you will enjoy cooking in the cooker without the fear of messing your surfaces. The lid is further glass tempered which means you will observe the cooking taking place to avoid overcooking.
It has a unique countdown programmable technology that allows for your food to cook between 30 minutes and 20 hours. You get to set it on high or low temperature and once your food is cooked it automatically switches to keep warm function.
Its stone insert is removable and usable in your microwave as long as it goes up to a high temperature of 400˚F. Since you have the removable parts, the item is dishwasher safe and it will work with a voltage of 120 and 240 watts.
Always make use of the light indicators to show you when the cooker begins its cooking process. It’s good for all the different cooking options yet it has a strong handle.
Here is an oval-shaped crockpot that has the touchscreen control panel.
This is ideal for those with the busy schedule. You don’t have to eat unhealthy food just because you have limited time to prepare your food.
Take about 15minutes to chop the different ingredients the night before, store them in the fridge. In the morning, set your stoneware insert back to the slow cooker and go your way. Your delicious and healthy meal will be ready when you step back to your door.
You may use this 6½ quarts slow cooker to make even a 7 pound of your favorite roasts. Use it to make your different curries, soups or sauces. I like it that the slow cooker doesn’t hasten the cooking process thus the food has its time to reach the level of releasing a robust of flavors.
Using your fingertips, you can select either low, high or warm cooking settings. It can cook your food for almost 20 hours. Its silicone-wrapped handles make the movement of the pot from one position to another easy.
The pot makes your work easy since it has removable parts that make the cleaning easy.
Large crockpot with timer and delay timer
Well, this happens to be both a slow cooker and pressure cooker which means that you have to utilize the preprogrammed settings. It has 12 presets to make it easy to cook your favorite rice, porridge, soup, meat stew, poultry, yoghurt all the slow cooking options among others.
This item is the best option as it combines the 9 kitchen gadgets that you would have bought aside in one tool. It saves your kitchen storage space while working effectively. Its 12 quarts size will feed a large family or you and your friends at a function.
The cooker technology is designed in such a way that it has the 24 hours delay timer for those who still prefer to use the option. It further has the keep warm function yet it will slow cook for almost 20 hours.
I know the pot looks tricky to use since it has different functions but its straightforward when you follow the step by step guide given to you.
This is another large slow cooker that has a timer. At 8.5 quartz it can feed up to 10 people. Its designed for safety with the lid having a lockable clip. It will automatically switch to keep warm function when it finishes the cooking process.
The cooker works for between 30 minutes and 20 hours with the aim of unlocking all the flavors of your food but not overcooking. You have the display settings for you to choose how long you want the food to cook.
You have the freedom to use the 3 convenient settings that include the low, high and keep warm functions. The pot is designed for portability which means that you won’t have the cooker mess your car floor as you travelling.
With its digital timer, you will know the time remaining before your food is fully cooked. Its keep warm function allows you a leeway of 4 hours.
7-quart crock pot programmable
The 7 quarts cooking pot is meant to serve about 8 people. Unlike most other slow cookers, this one has the exterior surface being chalkboards which you can use to jot down the recipes or let your kids jot down their cooking reminders.
It has the digital controls that allow you to set the time. It will cook and once the cooking ends it automatically switches to the keep warm function. Nevertheless, if you would like the cooker to continue cooking you can select the stay on option.
It’s safe to use the cooker anywhere since it has a locking wire which means you won’t have the lid coming out because of the pressure. It has the stoneware pot that you may remove and place in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.
Its built-in lid holder means that your kitchen counter remains clean even when you are serving the food. The hold prop is set on either side of the handle. Lastly, the glass tempered lid allows you to monitor the cooking process.
Using the Automatic Timer with Your Slow Cooker
With the advancement in technology we are finding better ways to utilize our kitchen gadgets.
Your cookers have the timer settings for low high and keep warm settings. You may also have the WIFI enabled slow cookers that allow you to use the mobile app in the controlling of the cooker. How nice is that? You can also buy the timers and attach to your cooker.
The essence of the timer is to safely cook the food for over 8 hours in your absence. When the time elapses, the cooker switches to the keep warm mode.
When using the timer, always place the chilled food in the crockpot then begin the cooking. Most people prefer to prepare the ingredients and place them in the stoneware insert then into the refrigerator only to remove it for cooking when ready to live your house.
You should set the timer to begin the cooking not more than 2 hours after you have set everything into the pot. For meat stuff, the cooking should begin in an hr.
Auto set your warm settings so that when the cooking time elapses it goes to the warm settings to avoid making a breeding ground for bacteria.
Some dishes require a short cooking time, in this case, you can cook your food the previous night and refrigerate it awaiting your eating when ready.
The Hamilton slow cooker is popular for its great service to its customer. This one is 10 quarts large which can cook your 12 pounds of turkey or roast your other favorite meats. The item is designed to give you a low or high setting for the cooking option.
It has an oval-shaped stoneware crockpot that fit your poultry well. It has the full grip handle to keep your lid safe and avoid the messing of your kitchen. Its temperature settings are such that when you have finished the cooking it automatically goes to the keep warm function.
Cleaning the crockpot is a breeze because it’s dishwasher-safe and if you want to carry it along to your events that shouldn’t be a problem because of the firm handles. If you have a crowd visiting you soon, buy the Hamilton for proper service.
Smart slow cooker
The 2 best slow cookers companies that include the crockpot and Belkin are the founders of this remote-control slow cooker. Make use of the WeMo app on your phone to adjust its cooking temperature and time or even put your food on the keep warm function.
You only need WIFI when you are controlling the item remotely but you don’t have to connect it to the WIFI to control it every time. It has its touch buttons to use when you don’t want to use the control app.
Its easy to clean by removing the inner stoneware pot and it will feed up to 7 people.
You can never go wrong when using the Cuisinart brand on kitchen gadgets. This gadget will serve between 7-8 people comfortably which means that its ideal for those with large families. The item has a 24hr cooking timer that works with the digital control timer.
You can also use it’s 3 cooking modes with the slow cooker switching to the keep warm mode the moment it finishes the cooking. Its housing is brushed with stainless steel for enhanced durability.
It also has the oval ceramic cooking pot that is removable and dishwasher-safe. Its glass tempered lid makes it easy to monitor the food cooking. This slow cooker will give you a long time of service.
8-quart crock pot
The Hamilton beach slow cooker will cook even your 8 pounds of chicken. It has the oval stoneware crockpot that will cook a variety of foods. You don’t have to watch it as it keeps on cooking just set it and go about your day.
The cooker has the black metallic wrapping that gets the cooker to stand any condition. The item has full grip handles to makes it easy to move around. It is easy to clean with the dishwasher safe stoneware and glass lid .
Here is an item to enjoy your one-pot meal for the family. You can use the item to cook your 4lbs chicken to perfection. It’s ideal for use on special occasions. Moreover, it gives you the choice of cooking on high or low heat settings. It further has the keep warm function.
You can use it to cook almost anything you want to slow cook. The item like most others has the removable stoneware that is dishwasher-safe. You can use the stoneware crockpot to store your food in the refrigerator.
The slow cooker will cook your food for hours while you are out of the house.
How the Slow Cookers Work
The slow cookers are more effective when you have the ingredients left in the refrigerator to become chilled overnight. This is especially so if you are busy through the day. Using the item is simple. You just need to follow the steps below.
· Remove your stoneware pot from the slow cooker and in it, place all the ingredients that you intend to cook then cover.
· Put the pot in the refrigerator to stay there overnight. In the morning remove the pot out of the fridge and let it go back to room temperature then you are ready to begin cooking.
· Depending on what you are cooking, the time it takes may vary. You should know how long the cooking will take before you begin cooking. Meats, stews and roasts take anything between 6-10hrs. On the other hand, dessert and dips may take 4-6 hours.
· One point that you shouldn’t ever forget is that you should set your timer right if you intend to have the perfect meal.
Why You Need A Slow Cooker with A Timer
If you know you won’t be home at the right time to switch off the slow cooker when it has finished cooking your food, you need the slow cooker with a timer. It automatically makes the slow cooker to switch off once your food is cooked.
They have the keep warm function
You want your slow cooked food to maintain the right temperature until you are ready to eat it. Thus, the keep warm function whether on the digital or manual slow cooker will automatically keep your food at the right temperature to avoid the possibility of the bacteria breeding.
Lengthen the safe period
With our current busy schedule, you might have to leave the house very early in the morning then come back late. It takes between 8-12 hours out of the house. With most slow cooker timer, after the cooking hours elapse it goes to keep warm function.
On the keep warm function, it might take between 2-4 hours to remain warm. This is enough time for you to come back to the house and find the food still being safe and ready to delve into.