As summer turns into fall, we all start settling back into our normal routines and the smell of comfort food begins to waft throughout the house. It’s a great time to get out your slow cooker, which can be a huge help in the kitchen and make things a bit easier on those stressful nights. After all, what’s better than knowing you’re going to come home from work to a delicious, steaming hot meal? To make sure every dish is up to snuff, follow our tips—success guaranteed, every time!
We always (or almost always) remember to preheat the oven or grill, but tend to forget to do so when using a slow cooker. However, this one little step can make a huge difference to the end result. Just pour approximately 2.5 cm (1 in.) of water in the bottom of the slow cooker and heat for twenty minutes on low. Then, pour out the water and place your recipe ingredients in the pre‑heated slow cooker.
2- Don’t overfill (or underfill)
Ideally, the slow cooker should be at least halfway full to keep your ingredients from burning. You also don’t want to fill it more than two thirds of the way or your food will have trouble cooking properly. Plus, because the lid seals tightly, overfilled slow cookers will produce a lot of condensation and potentially bubble over. The amount of food needs to be just right!
3- Don’t touch the lid!
It’s hard to resist, but it’s always better for you to keep your hands to yourself and let your slow cooker do its thing. Every time you give in to temptation and lift the lid, you’ll need to add another 20 to 30 minutes of total cooking time to make up for it. Think before you act!
4- Brown your meat
For the best flavour, always brown your meat for a few minutes in a pan before adding it to your slow cooker. This will concentrate the flavours and improve the texture. Try it next time you’re making something with sausage and see what a difference it makes to the taste. P.S. You can do this with vegetables, too!
5- Season near the end
To keep your herbs and spices tasting their best, add them a half hour before the food is finished cooking. This will give you the fullest flavour! If you add them too early, their taste can alter by the end.
Want to put these tips into practice? Here are a number of scrumptious recipes the whole family will love: