Using A Slow Cookery (Crock Pot) SafelyA slow cooker (crock pot) cooks food slowly at a low temperature, 170 degrees F to 280 degrees F, allowing meat and dry beans to soften and flavors to develop.
• Safety is maintained by:
– Direct heat source
– Lengthy cooking time
– STEAM! (moist heat)
• Other key steps to safety include:
– Keep perishable food cold until placed in the cooker (don’t allow bacteria to get a ‘head start’ during the first few hours of cooking.)
– Thaw ingredients before putting into the slow cooker.
– Don’t overfill the cooker. Overfilling may not allow the lid to fit tightly, sealing in heat.
Is it necessary to add liquid? Liquid is necessary to effectively (and safely) cook meat. Whole chicken needs very little added moisture, cuts of meat like beef benefit from enough added liquid to cover the bottom of the cooker. Combination dishes like soups and casserole don’t need extra added liquid.
What temperature is best? It’s best to cook meat dishes on high for 1 hour. However, if you are going out, then you can safely cook on low for the entire day. The most important practice: Don’t open the cooker, especially early in the process. If you will be gone all day, consider investing in a pot that keeps food warm.
What about leftovers? Leftovers should never be reheated in a slow cooker. Food may be fully cooked and then put into a preheated cooker or roaster to keep hot.
More slow cooker information: www.foodsafety.wisc.edu A-Z S=Slow Cooker