We all want to eat healthy, and, if possible, eat healthy every day. We’d like to have the energy and time to provide the best food for our family.
However, like thousands of working people throughout the world, at the end of the day we satisfy with something quick, fried, take-out food from the neighbourhood supermarket or a portion of sandwiches.
While our family chews down the last bites of the reheated pizza, we sigh at our favourite cooking TV star who manages to cook three hot plates just under one hour without giving so much effort. A feat, that is beyond the powers of the average housewife. Is there an exit from this vicious circle?
We tell you all this, having in mind a kind of casserole for slow cooking, which is quite widely spread throughout the American households. Those who use the so-called crock pots or slow cookers are different – from the beginners without any kitchen experience, to professional chefs, that work in big and fancy restaurants.
The common thing between them is the love for the home cooked and healthy food. The appliance is appropriate for people, who are busy during the day and do not have those extra 2-3 hours to spend in front of their ovens.
The Principles of Slow Cookers
Here’s how that pot, used mainly in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, functions. The slow cooking in this utensil works on the principle of boiling, but it happens at quite lower temperature, compared to what we are used to.
That allows for the food to cook for hours without the need to constantly keep an eye on it. During that time you can finish with the overwhelming, as we all know how multifunctional the female nature can be. Boys, don’t be mad!
The slow cooker usually has an oval shape. The cover inside is ceramic, outside there’s a second, metal layer, inside which you can find the electric heaters. The ceramic cover is quite heat-resistant and cannot be influenced by the strong vapours.
How to Use a Slow Cooker
Raw food and liquids, such as wine, water or broth, go right inside. Some recipes require that the liquid to be preheated. In some other cases, when you cook meat, the recipe might need for it to be boiled already, at least half-done.
After the lid is up and the cooker is on, it can go between cooking mode to a setting for maintaining the temperature at around 70-75 C after the predefined time for cooking has run out. During the cooking itself, the temperature in the utensil is in the boundaries between 79 and 93 C, but the preparation of the food itself happens because of the constant heat, the sealed lid and the ceramic bottom and walls. The condensed water on the lower side of the lid goes back in the utensil in its liquid for.
Some recipes, meant for another kind of culinary technique, can be interpreted in a way to fit the slow cooker. It’s important to notice that when you cook there’s a certain amount of the liquid that evaporates, so you have to be sure that the water or the broth in which you boil your dish is enough to cover the plate.
Most of the recipes, meant for this “slow and wet” way of cooking, include just a handful of ingredients. The meat should be heavier and cheaper. We say cheaper, because a tender bonfillet, for example, has no place in this pot.
Yet, if you thought that all your meals will taste similarly, like stew, think again. The newest models offer possibilities to sauté and stew, to fry and roast, all in one and the same pot. After the end of the thermal preparation, the appliance will automatically keep the dish warm, until you get back home from work.
For the dire technology fans, we will mention that the latest models also allow for a remote control over the appliance, by using smart phone apps. Are you getting hungry?
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Slow Cookers
The low cooking temperature goes a long way to ensuring you won’t burn your stew, but not all the way down. There’s always a chance to get carried away by a pleasant phone conversation, and, though lengthy, the cooking time might not turn out to be enough. One of the main advantages of this appliance is that you can place the meal inside it, go out, do your daily tasks and, when you get back, you have a hot dinner on your plate. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it!
Well, there are a few drawbacks, that can be pointed out. For example, a certain part of the vitamins in the food can easily be lost during long hours of cooking. But don’t forget that one of the jobs of the lady of the house is to prioritise in the name of the interest of the family well-being. Sometimes, a few vitamins can be sacrificed!