Monday, February 18, 2013

Let Me Introduce You...To Your Slow Cooker

get to know your slow sooker

Do you have a slow cooker gathering dust in a a dark corner of your kitchen? Do you think, "I will use it someday," but then you do other stuff instead?

Well, that is about to change. Rooted Vegan is going to help you gain a little slow cooker confidence this week. Let's start at the beginning and learn about our slow cookers before we move on.

What is a slow cooker and what does it do?
First off, you may be asking yourself, what is the difference between a slow cooker and a crock pot? I have an answer after countless seconds of tireless research I have deduced that the crock-pot is just a brand of slow cooker. So they're the same thing.

A slow cooker is a device that, you guessed it, slowly cooks food. Food is cooked at a fairly low temperature so that you will not have to hover over it. This is great for busy folks who want to go about their business and find a hot meal waiting for them at the end of the day.

Are they safe?
Yep. Like anything that is electric there is a small risk. Just use good sense and you'll be fine, these guys are meant to be left cooking for hours. Here are my tips for keeping it safe:
  1. Set it on a clean and dry surface. 
  2. Don't leave it nestled in a pile of unopened mail, or on top of your yarn stash. Duh.
  3. Make sure there are no frayed wires or unusual elements. 
  4. Use common sense when dealing with hot liquid. Don't mess with your slow cooker while you have children and a dog frolicking at your feet.
Umm, what are all of these parts and pieces?
Your slow cooker is made up of a ceramic or porcelain interior bowl . The bowl is often oval shaped, this is mostly a for carnivores who use their slow cookers to cook meat (blargh). The bowl sits inside of an shell, usually metal, that holds an electric heating element of some sort. Your slow cooker will have a lid that locks into place, as well as a cord. Generally slow cookers have low, medium and high settings to regulate heat.

A few tips
  1.  The cook time on veggies varies widely. Heartier veggies like carrots, potatoes, and onions will take up to 6 hrs on high heat to cook through. Less hearty veggies may take only 3 hours on high. So just follow directions on your recipe while you get a feel for these things.
  2. Did you know you can cook fruits?!?! Fruits cooke more quickly than veggies, but there is still some variety. Heartier fruits like apples may take a few hours on a high setting while soft peaches may take an hour or two on the low setting. Again, just follow recipes while you get a feel for your slow cooker!
  3. Grains and pastas can cook in 2-4 hours, depending upon the particular grain or pasta.
  4. Beans can cook in your slow cooker, but they require an overnight bath. Lentils cook without the overnight soak.. You can also use canned beans if you don't want the trouble.

Well, that's all good and well, but now what?
Now you get that slow cooker working for you. We will be posting recipes and links this week so stay tuned!

Check out this book
Also, Pinterest is a great source of inspiration!
~Maria Rose

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