By: Leanne Ely
I couldn’t function without my slow cooker. You all know by now how I feel about this wonderful, time-saving appliance. If you’re new to slow cooking, or even if you’re a seasoned pro, there are some safety precautions that I hope you’re taking when it comes to this highly efficient way of getting a meal on the table.
Please don’t put another meal in the slow cooker without checking over this list of 7 safety guide-lines:
1. Thaw meat and poultry before placing in the slow cooker. Frozen meats may not reach the safe zone (140 degrees) fast enough and could end up making you sick.
2. Never use the warm setting to cook food. That setting is for when your meal is already cooked, to keep it warm.
3. Preheat the slow cooker on high before you put your meat or poultry inside. This will shorten the amount of time foods spend in the danger zone, before reaching 140 degrees.
4. Don’t use the slow cooker to thaw or reheat foods.
5. While your foods are cooking, do not lift the lid. Every time you open the slow cooker, the tem-perature drops 10–15 degrees and your cooking progress will be slowed by 30 minutes.
6. Check your cooked foods with a thermometer to ensure they are cooked thoroughly. Poultry, soups, stews and sauces should be at 165, while roasts are okay at 145–160.
7. Don’t use the slow cooker to cool down cooked food. Remove food from the crock and then let it cool before placing in the refrigerator.