Slow cookers provide a relatively safe way to make soup, chili, lasagna, and many other meals. However, improperly cooked ingredients have the potential to trigger food poisoning.
Regardless of what equipment you use, it’s vital to prepare every meal as safely as possible. The following advice will help you minimize the risk of fires, burns, spills, and foodborne illnesses:
Put your slow cooker on a stable, heat-resistant surface where you can easily keep an eye on it. The appliance shouldn’t touch any other objects or get exposed to excessive moisture.
Only use a pot that fits the cooker correctly. Never attempt to operate it without crockery. The pot’s surfaces can become very hot, so pick it up with oven mitts.
Don’t overfill the crockery. Your ingredients shouldn’t occupy more than 75 percent of the interior space. Hot liquids may spill over if you forget to follow this recommendation.
Beware of old appliances that have fabric-coated power cords. They typically lack polarized plugs and other important safety features. Use this equipment cautiously and replace it as soon as you can afford a well-made newer unit.
Unplug a slow cooker after you finish using it. Allow this small appliance to completely cool down before you store it in a cabinet or closet.
Thoroughly wash the crockery and lid after each use. Remember to fully dry the pot before returning it to the slow cooker. Clean the appliance’s outer housing occasionally.
If you plan to cook frozen meat, thaw it beforehand and take the time to preheat your slow cooker. Chicken, turkey, steak, beef, pork, and other meats may heat up too slowly and put you at risk for food poisoning if you neglect to take precautions.
Don’t remove the lid more often than necessary. Repeated lifting will significantly reduce the unit’s cooking temperature while increasing the likelihood that you’ll burn your hands.
If the cooker has a built-in timer, set it to reduce the temperature or shut off the appliance when your meal finishes cooking. Otherwise, consider using an alarm clock to remind yourself to turn it off at the right time.
A food thermometer can help you determine if your meal has become hot enough to kill harmful. The right heat level differs depending on your ingredients. For example, poultry should reach a minimum temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remember to freeze or refrigerate uneaten food after no more than two hours. If the weather becomes very hot and your kitchen lacks air conditioning, cool any leftovers within 60 minutes.
Do Not Reheat Meals in A Slow Cooker
Don’t use this appliance when reheating meals, according to SouthernLiving. A microwave oven or electric stove can reheat food much more safely. The internal temperatures of reheated items ought to reach at least 165 degrees before you devour them.
These safety tips may demand a little extra work, but it’s worth the effort to prevent serious injuries and potentially life-threatening illnesses. People often find it easy to use a slow cooker safely after they become familiar with the above-mentioned techniques.