FAQ~Tips~Tricks

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Question: I have some questions about the fudge recipe??
Answer: Visit our Fudge FAQs page here for all your answers


Question: Can I slow cook using frozen meat?
Answer: This topic is serious enough and lengthy enough to need it’s own page.  Please click here for the full facts on slow cooking from frozen and the risks take by those who do :/
Slow Cooking From Frozen…. Just don’t do it!


Question:  Can I use cake tins in my slow cooker?  What else do I need to know about cake making?
Answer: Everything you need to know about this topic is on our Slow Cooker Cakes blog post


Question: How can I thicken my dish prior to serving?
Answer: Everything you need to know about this topic is on our How Do I thicken My Slow Cooker Dish blog post


Question: What is the tea towel/dishcloth trick?
Answer: Everything you need to know about this topic is on our The ‘Tea Towel Trick’? blog post


Question: How can I remove oil/fat from my dish?
Answer: Everything you need to know about this topic is on our How do I remove fat/oil from my slow cooker dish blog post


Question: What does the AUTO function on my slow cooker do?
Many slow cookers have a low, high, keep warm and or auto setting option. The auto function often means that the dish will begin cooking at HIGH for approximately 2hrs then it will switch itself down to the lower temp of LOW. (The dial itself doesn’t move thought it will remain pointed to auto)
However this feature can vary with different slow cooker models and brands so always consult your users manual.


Question: Is it safe to leave my slow cooker unattended all day while I am out of the house?
In short … yes – with precuations.
Slow cookers are designed to run all day unattended without posing a fire hazard.
There are however some measures you can take to improve the safety of doing so.
I always place my slow cookers on top of my ceramic cooktop/hotplates. This surface is designed to withstand high temperatures after all. Just be sure never to accidentally have a hotplate turned on (I lost my first ever slow cooker to this happening when I melted it’s legs off!)
If you don’t have this option placing it on a glass top trivet or cutting board works in a similar way.
Ensure flammable objects are not left touching or too near the slow cooker
Move the slow cooker away from the wall and any curtains etc
Always have a working smoke alarm and electrical safety switch in your home so that if you are home and the worse were to somehow happen you and your family can be alerted to the danger and/or the electricity supply will cease to the unit.


 Question: Is it ok to open the lid of my slow cooker during cooking to stir my dish or check on it?
Many of us have heard the tale that each time you open the lid of your slow cooker it adds 30mintues to the cooking time.
In practice I have never personally found this to be true. If I am at home I am a habitual lid lifter, often pausing to look at, stir, taste or even smell my dish throughout the day And if anything my dishes often cook much faster than the expected times.
However…
Slow cookers rely on the slow build-up of heat to cook food to perfection. Lifting the lid of your slow cooker during cooking lets built-up heat escape and will lower the temperature in the slow cooker considerably. Stirring the contents allows even more heat to escape from the lower layers of the food. Once the lid is replaced, it will take a significant amount of time for the heat to build back up to its previous temperature, thus, extending the cooking time of your dinner
So really the choice is up to you. Resist if you can or don’t. You will soon come to know your own slow cooker (or if you are like me and have several you will get to know each of their little quirks and cooking times/temps)


Question: Do I need to pre-brown, pre-cook or seal my meat prior to placing it in the slow cooker?
In short … no you do not.
Some people like to do this step to add more depth of flavour (in their opinion) to the dish or to seal in juices.
It can also be helpful to liquify fat from the meat which can then be discarded prior to adding the meat to the slow cooker.
However it does add another step in the preparation of your dish and more dishes to go with it.
So totally your choice but for what it’s worth – I don’t ever pre brown or pre seal etc.


 Question: Can I prepare a meal in advance and store it in the slow cooker bowl in my fridge over night then put it on the next morning?
Yes you can if you wish but it comes with risks!
It is possible that heating a cold bowl can lead to it cracking.
Also due to nature of the dish it will retain that cold for a long time and thus take even longer to reach safe food cooking temperatures once you begin cooking, placing you at increased risk of food poisoning.
A great way around this that I use is to prepare the dish in advance but store it in the fridge in another large bowl (eg a mixing bowl). This can then be poured into your slow cooker bowl in the morning and turned on. You still have all the convenience but without any of the risk!


 Question: What is the best way to clean my Slow Cooker bowl?
Answer: Visit our Cleaning your Slow Cooker blog for all your answers


 Question: Are there any ‘diet’ recipes??
Answer: Visit our Healthy Options in your Slow Cooker blog for all your answers


Question: Does it cost less to run a slow cooker for 8hrs than an oven for 1hr?
It certainly is cheaper!
Of course there are many variables to consider including the size and model of your slow cooker and size and efficiency of your wall oven but overall the stats are well in favour of your slow cooker being the cheaper way to cook.
Even if it is over 8hrs instead of 1hr!
Energy provider Ergon Energy advises that a slow cooker costs 4c per hour, while and an oven costs 60c per hour!
So running your slow cooker for 8hrs will cost 32c compared to 60c for just one hour of the oven (and that doesn’t even account for oven pre-heating time)
Bargain!


Question:  Is it toxic to slow cook raw red kidney beans?? :
Yes it is!!
“Raw kidney beans contain especially large amounts of toxin, and amazingly, eating just four or five raw or improperly cooked kidney beans can make a person extremely ill. Ingesting larger amounts can actually cause death. Other beans, including white kidney beans, broad beans and lima beans, contain the same toxin in smaller but still dangerous amounts.”
Please read the following links for information on why you should not do this:

http://www.choosingvoluntarysimplicity.com/crockpots-slow-cooking-dried-beans-phytohaemagglutinin/
Also
http://www.medic8.com/healthguide/food-poisoning/red-kidney-bean-toxins.html


Question:  I’m wanting to find out more about the features of the website or some technical help with a problem I’m having with it??
That’s easy 🙂
Check out our great user guide to our website and technical/troubleshooting tips here – Slow Cooker Central Website User Guide
You can also message me directly at info@slowcookercentral.com and I will happily answer any questions you may have 🙂

 

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