5 Crock Pot Cooking Tips
Great meals are possible with a crock pot, and having some handy tips like these on hand means you'll get the most from your crock pot meals. Keep these tips in mind when putting together your next gourmet creation in a flash, courtesy of your crock pot.
5 Crock Pot Cooking Tips
Tip #1 - Use Only Wooden Cooking Utensils
Although it will take a lot to scratch a crock pot with metal, it is still best to use wooden utensils while cooking with a crock pot. This ensures you will not scratch the surface of your crock pot, especially over many years of use.
Some materials used to make spoons, forks and other silverware can contaminate food. For instance, the metal that covers some utensils can react with certain acids and enzymes in your food. Not a good combination, especially when you're hoping to make your family's mouth water with a new recipe.
Tip #2 - Don't Waste the Juices
When cooking meats in your crock pot that you won't use the liquid during the meal, save the stalk for later. For instance, when preparing barbecue, the juice is normally drained. Instead of throwing it away, why not use it later for soups or added flavor to another meal?
Simply allow the broth to cool and freeze in a freezer safe plastic storage container until you're ready to use.
Tip #3 - Natural Meat Tenderizer
Because you are cooking the meat slowly over time, a crock pot is the perfect meat tenderizer. Therefore, when purchasing meats you know you will prepare in the slow cooker, there's no need to buy the most expensive cut to get the best taste.
Just remember to trim off any excess fat before placing the meat in the crockpot. For an even more tender piece of meat, sprinkle with meat tenderizer and beat a with a meat cleaver before cooking.
Tip #4 - Vegetable Steamer
It's easy to steam your raw veggies in a pot on the stove or with a steamer, but to make it even easier on the cook, why not toss them in the crock pot with your meat. Not only will this result in tender vegetables, but it will also add flavor to them.
In order for your vegetables to be tender and not mushy follow these guidelines when adding them to your crock pot meal.
Canned Vegetables - Add to crock pot approximately 20 minutes before serving your meal.
Frozen Vegetables - Add to crock pot about 30-40 minutes before meal time.
Tip #5 - Sear Your Meat First
To lock the flavor from any spices or seasonings into your cut of meat, be sure to sear the meat before cooking. Searing is simply the process of quickly browning meat in a frying pan before the actual slow cooking process.
One example of this would be adding salt, pepper and barbecue sauce to a roast. First, coat the roast with the ingredients above by rubbing them into the meat. Next, place the roast in a frying pan of hot grease until it is brown on both sides. Do not cook completely, just long enough for the outsides to turn slightly brown. Last, remove from frying pan and place in slow cooker.