Benefits Of Using A Slow Cooker To Slowly Cook Your Food
The electric slow cooker became popular in the 1970s during the time of the oil crisis in the United States, when citizens were asked to car share, shorten working hours and to slow cook to save energy! It fell out of favor during the next two decades as frugality was thrown out of the window during the excess of the 80s and 90s.
The past few years of rising food and energy prices and the return to healthy, slower pace living has brought the slow cooker back into the spotlight. Read on to find out why and enjoy all of the slow cooker benefits to the full!
Slow Cookers have been around for decades, although they’ve only just recently become a “must-have” appliance in the kitchen. Still, many Americans simply understand the importance of cooking food slowly to perfection.
The best way to describe the difference between slowly cooking your food (slow cooker) and cooking your food quickly (conventional oven) is to refer to the old story tale.
You know, the tale between the Snail and the other animal (I’ve forgotten, ha). But still, the snail ended up winning due to the diligence of the faster animal going for a nap. The moral of the story is, go slowly and win the race, and the same principle applies to cook food.
5 Most Important Benefits of Slow Cooker
1. Slow Cookers Save Time
One of the most common reasons for purchase is that slow cookers save time and allow you to reorganize your schedule so you don’t have to prepare or cook food when you get home from a busy day. The time saving comes from four key areas.
- Many recipes allow for quick preparation, especially meals such as soups and vegetable stews which enable time-saving by just chopping vegetables and adding the liquid stock in the morning and leaving to cook over the course of the day. More complex recipes may need meat to be browned either in a separate frying pan or some of the slow cookers have a high-temperature function for this before the rest of the ingredients are added.
- The main time saver comes as when slow cooker cooks completely hands-free whilst you get on with other work or tasks. With a slow cooker, there is no need to constantly stir or watch the pot, just come back hours later to find a nutritious and tasty meal fully cooked for you.
- There is nothing worse than having to clean up a kitchen full or utensils, pots and pans after cooking supper for friends or family. Even with a dishwasher, this can be a chore. With a slow cooker that has a removable inner container, you just have one pot to clean and almost all are dishwasher safe.
- The final time-saver is the ability to cook in bulk and freeze. With the large slow cookers available today you can cook 8-10 portions of many dishes in a 7 quart or 6 liter capacity slow cooker. This allows you to freeze some of your tasty creations or to feed a small army!
2. Slow Cookers Save Money
A slow cooker is a relatively cheap investment with some of the more frugal models coming in at less than $30 or £20. However, the real savings start to happen because of the following three factors.
- Despite taking a long time, slow cooking uses less energy than conventional ovens or hobs which with the increasing cost of power translates into more money in your pocket.
- The slow cooking method of low heat for a long time allows the slow cooker to use cheaper cuts of meat. The long cooking times breakdown the tougher and stringier meat that you get with cheaper cuts leaving a moist and succulent dish at the end. The sealed lid keeps all the moisture in stopping the meat from drying out.
- The traditional favorites of the slow cooker are soups and stews which are perfect for using up left over vegetables and meat reducing wastage.
3. Slow Cooking Produces Healthy Meals
With todays fast pace of life, it is easy to slip into a routine of eating out or eating prepared, processed food that is high in fat, sugar and salt. Using a slow cooker allows you to eat more healthily and to control what does and more importantly doesn’t go into your food.
4. Slow Cookers Are Versatile
The classic image of the avocado colored slow cooker from the 1970s churning out stews and casseroles has thankfully changed in recent years as the true versatility of the slow cooker is explored. Here are some of the dishes you can tackle once you buy a slow cooker.
- The traditional stews, soups and casseroles that are the mainstay of many slow cooker recipe collections.
- With a large slow cooker, whole joints of meat or chickens can be cooked.
- The meal staples of pasta and rice are easy to do and some slow cookers come with special inserts for rice cooking on its own.
- You don’t have to limit yourself to only cooking the evening meal, porridge is a must-try recipe.
- Similarly, many desserts and even cakes can be made in a slow cooker with rice puddings being a favorite.
- The slow, long cooking method breaks down stringy meat and softens up all types of fruit and veg, ideal for baby food.
That’s why, when you spend 6-hours cooking up a sumptuous stew or soup with a Slow Cooker, your guests will often compliment you. If you cooked the same coup over a hob, you will rarely receive a compliment. Plain and simply, the noticeable difference in flavorings is well worth the extra time it takes to cook your food.
Slow Cookers are quickly becoming a must-have kitchen appliance, and rightfully so, too. You can cook up a brilliant batch of food while you’re out at work, or you can simply watch television while your meat succulently cooks away.
If this has you ready to leap in with both feet and buy a slow cooker, take a deep breath and pause. We’ve put together a checklist of slow cooker features you may want and need for you to read before making your new purchase and joining the millions of other people who slow cook.