Londa Nwadike, food safety specialist at K-State Olathe, says slow cookers can lead to food poisoning if not used properly, but these simple tips will help you avoid that.
First, preheat the slow cooker before putting in your food. This gives the pot time to warm up so it is not trying to heat your food and the pot at the same time. Also, thaw your meat before putting it into the slow cooker and almost completely cover the meat with liquid. How much you put in the slow cooker determines how the food cooks.
“You don’t want to have it completely full because it’s really hard to get everything cooked properly,” Nwadike said. “Filling the slow cooker half full to two-thirds full is the best way to ensure your food is thoroughly cooked.”
Before you eat, check your food with a food thermometer to make sure the meat is completely cooked. When you’re done, put the leftovers in a different container.
“You don’t really want to use the slow cooker as a container and put it in the fridge because it’s so deep,” Nwadike said. “Put leftovers in shallow containers because those will chill the food a lot faster.”
Slow cookers may seem like the perfect tool for winter suppers, but keep in mind they are great for cooking during the summer. Not only do they save on electricity, they don’t emit as much heat into your home.