Kitchen Essentials Part 3: Time Saving Slow Cookers

Author: L. A. Briggs // Category: , , ,

Posted April 6, 2011 at 6:33 PM

One of my favorite pieces of technology that I use in the kitchen is my slow cooker, also commonly referred to as a crock pot. Since some of my classes tend to run late into the night, I find that once I get home I don’t want to prepare myself food. With my slow cooker, I can simply throw something into the slow cooker earlier in the day, set it to low and let it cook for the rest of the day while I’m away at class or work. It is such a modern miracle much like the microwave is.

So how exactly does a slow cooker cook something so slowly? Here is what I found.
A slow cooker has three components: an outer casing, an inner container, and a lid. The outer casing is metal and contains low-wattage heating coils. These coils are surrounded by the outer casing. The inner container, also called a crock, is usually made of glazed ceramic and fits into the metal outer casing. Some crocks can be removed from the outer casing, while others are permanently attached. The lid is domed and fits tightly onto the crock.

When the slow cooker is turned on, heat is produced in the outer casing via the heating coils. This heat is then transferred to the crock by means of convection (see my previous post for more information on this). The heat that was transferred to the crock heats up the liquid in the slow cooker, causing the contents in the slow cooker to simmer at a low temperature for several hours until everything is cooked thoroughly.

When food is put into the slow cooker and it is sealed and turned on, any moisture added to the slow cooker or moisture that naturally exists within the foods in the cooker becomes steam as the cooker is heated. The food in the slow cooker releases moisture in the form of steam, the condensation from which collects and acts like a baster.

As steam is released during the cooking process, the lid traps it, and as it condenses, it creates a vacuum seal between the lid and the rim of the crock, which ensures that all of the moisture remains in the slow cooker. This essentially adds moisture to the food while aiding in the cooking process. The lid is the key component of the slow cooker that allows it to cook food the way it does. Without the lid, the moisture would simply boil off and the food would burn.


Most slow cookers have three heat setting on them: low, high and off. Some cookers have a warm setting just to keep the food warm. Some advanced programmable cookers will automatically switch to the warm setting once the food is thoroughly cooked to keep the food at the proper temperature.

Now the picture is not of my cat. I just thought it was an amusing picture and wanted to share it with you all. 

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Recipe of the Day

BBQ Baked Beans


Ingredients

1 28oz can Bush’s BBQ baked beans
1 large can kidney beans, drained
2 16oz cans butter beans, drained
1 16 oz can black eyed peas
½ to 1 cup chopped onions
½ to 1 cup KC BBQ sauce
4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
½-1 cup bacon bits
¾ cup brown sugar

Directions

Combine BBQ sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl and mix well. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour liquid mixture over bean mixture and mix well.

Pour into a slow cooker and cook all day on low heat, or 2-3 hours on high heat.

OR

Pour into a large casserole dish and bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until bubbling hot.

This recipe is one of my mother's specialties. They are the best baked beans I have ever had.

2 Responses to "Kitchen Essentials Part 3: Time Saving Slow Cookers"

J.D. Says :
4/7/11, 10:17 AM

Is this similar to how a pressure cooker works?

prolix Says :
8/9/11, 9:09 PM

It new idea that u create in ur blogs.. It very simple and different...
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