Not Just another Fad Kitchen Gadget!
There are so many kitchen gadgets on the market, which can make it difficult to decide on what is necessary and what isn’t. You could perhaps liken these cooking aids to hair styling tools. They all promise to make life easier by quickening up the time you spend cooking or styling your hair but unfortunately, many of them get boxed up and stored away, never to be used again. Despite paying out for costly fad gadgets, we often end up reverting back to traditional methods. So, how does the modest slow cooker compare and are slow cookers actually worth it? In short, we say yes! However, if you’re interested in learning more about how to use them and why we rate them so highly then read on!
They are Inexpensive
Although prices of slow cookers do vary, they are usually inexpensive in comparison with other kitchen appliances. If you’re just looking for a basic slow cooker that allows you to cook on low or high heat with an added option to keep your food warm (not continuing to cook) then it’s possible to find a crock pot from as little as £20! The more expensive varieties might have a few more sophisticated features but generally, we’d say that you can’t beat the simplicity and attractive price of a basic cooker.
They all generally work in the same way but the only advice we’d give is to consider the size of the pot, rather than concerning yourself with how much to spend or brand names. For those looking to batch cook meals or if you’re cooking for a family then we’d recommend getting a cooker with a larger pot. However, if you live alone or you’re a couple and you want to cook-as-you-go then a smaller pot would be more suitable.
Slow Cookers are Energy Efficient
We’re all looking for easy and convenient ways to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint. Slow cookers are actually very energy efficient, as they use about the same amount of energy as a standard light bulb. People often wonder whether it’s more energy and cost efficient to cook on the low heat setting or on high. It’s worth remembering that there is no “fast” way to cook with a slow cooker, so there’s not a noticeable difference in cost when cooking on high or low. It basically depends on when you want your meal to be ready. So if you were making a soup, it might take 2 hours on high but 4-5 hours on low.
Crock Pots are Easy to Clean
Slow cookers, or crock pots, as they are also known, are easy and quick to clean! One of the factors that make crock pot cooking convenient is that they’re ideal for one pot meals. The general idea is that you use your slow cooker to cook the main part of your meal and then if needed, you can simply warm up a side dish separately. Either way, by using a crock pot, you will save on washing up! To clean your crock pot after use, all you have to do is remove the pot and lid from the device and then wash it like a normal pot or pan.
Healthy Eating Made Simple
People with busy lifestyles love cooking with a crock pot because it enables them to eat healthy, home cooked food, even when they’re short on time. Let’s be honest, it’s far easier to prepare healthy meals when we have heaps of time and when we’re at home all day. However, if you’re short on time or get home from work feeling hungry, it’s tempting to reach for unhealthy snacks and fast food. Crock pots make healthy eating simple because you can load up your slow cooker with healthy ingredients before you go to work and have a nutritious, homemade meal waiting for you when you come in.
You Don’t Have to be a Great Chef!
Never say never...but it is quite difficult to make mistakes when cooking with a slow cooker! You do have to be careful not to overfill your crock pot with liquid because it can eventually boil over if you leave it on too long. But that’s only if you leave your food cooking for hours over the recommending time. You’re far less likely to burn or ruin food when cooking with a crock pot. Plus, you don’t have to be a gourmet chef to produce tasty meals in a slow cooker. Due to the way that a crock pot slowly cooks your meals at a low, steady temperature, food tends to taste better from a slow cooker! No matter whether you’re a fantastic chef or a less confident cook, you won’t regret getting a crock pot!
Using a slow cooker could have a positive impact on your electricity bill but it’s not just your utility bills that can benefit from getting a crock pot. You could also cut costs when it comes to food shopping too! Cooking with a crock pot makes it easier for you to cook dried beans, pulses, as well as rough cuts of meat. Whereas cooking these types of products from scratch would take a long time if using traditional boiling or roasting methods, a slow cooker will cook them perfectly, while using minimal energy. Buying dried beans, pulses and other similar products, is much cheaper than buying them in tins and jars. If you’re a meat-eater, you will find that you don’t have to spend a fortune on buying the best cuts of meat if you’re using a slow cooker because any type of meat will become soft and tender when cooked in a crock pot.
Convenient and Time-Saving
Crock pot cooking is highly convenient and will save you tonnes of time! Once you’ve decided on what you want to cook, simply load the ingredients into the slow cooker, turn it on and leave it to cook. Going out for the day? No problem. Leave your meal cooking on low and it will be ready to enjoy for when you come home. Meal preparation, albeit worthwhile, usually takes quite a bit of time. However, crock pot cooking is just as convenient and requires just a few minutes each day to prepare your meals. In comparison with cooking batches of food in advance, you don’t need to have stacks of Tupperware in order to store your food in the fridge or freezer.
Food Tastes Better
We’ve already mentioned that cooking in a crock pot is perfect for those who don’t enjoy cooking or are inexperienced. But cooking abilities aside, all food typically tastes better from a slow cooker. It has nothing to do with how good a cook you are but more on the way that a crock pot slowly cooks your food. This slow, gradual method of cooking helps to bring out more flavour, as well as tenderising meat and softening vegetables.
Safer to Use
Don’t be fooled, a slow cooker can get hot and therefore it’s important to place it on a heatproof surface and not touch the outer casing while switched on. Like with any cooking appliance, you must be careful and standard safety precautions still apply here. That said, slow cooking appliances produce almost no steam and you don’t have to worry about having to check on them regularly. Recipes involving a lot of liquid will begin to boil towards the end of their cooking time but it’s not as intense as boiling something on a stove. A crock pot oven gives you more control, freedom and time when cooking. You should always be careful when using any appliance but generally speaking, you’re far less likely to have a disaster with a slow cooker if you get distracted or answer your phone just as your meal finishes cooking.
The Gift that Keeps on Giving!
A slow cooker really is the gift that keeps on giving! Not only are there so many advantages to using a crock pot, you will also find many more uses for them as you begin to explore new slow cooker recipes. For instance, we recently discovered that you can use them to cook baked or roast potatoes easily or even a whole butternut squash! If you love trying out new butternut squash recipes but hate the task of peeling and chopping a raw, uncooked squash then cook it first in your slow cooker. Once it has cooked, the skin will peel off easily and it will be much easier to prepare. Finally, if you’re worried about getting bored of cooking stews, soups and evening meals in your slow cooker then let us tell you that you can cook almost anything in a slow cooker – even cake! The options really are endless and that’s why we love slow cookers! What are you waiting for? Buy yours now here!