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What Exactly Is a Crockpot?
Copyright 2006 Tony Buel The word 'crockpot' is a name which is actually a trademarked name, but is often used as a generic term. The terms 'crockpot' and 'slow cooker' have come to be used interchangeably. 'Rival' is the original holder of the trademarked term 'Crock-Pot'. The Rival Crock-Pot / slow cooker has been one of the most important cooking tools for busy families since its introduction in 1971. Slow cooking is a great way to provide delicious home cooked meals for people and families on the go and produces flavorful meals time after time. This appliance is made of fired clay and is usually glazed and surrounded by a metallic housing.
It contains a controlled heating element to maintain the slow cooker temperatures whuich allow food to be cooked over longer periods of time. Typically a slow cooker will have just two heat settings, and a glass lid is used to retain the heat and moisture. An important tip to be sure to follow is this: Don't lift the lid while it is cooking the food! Letting the heat escape in this way will add twenty minutes to the cooking time! The lid is important as it prevents escape of hot water vapor which would, if permitted, lead to lowering the internal water level, loss of heat and drying out of the contents. A slow cooker works in a much different way than a pressure cooker which allows much higher temperatures than the boiling point of water. Because the lid of a slow cooker is on very loosely, the temperature inside will never get above the boiling point of water.
Any vapor that does occur condenses on the lid and returns as moisture back onto the food. Because of the nature of slow cooking, food can be cooked for longer than expected with no harm to the food. In fact, your meats become more tender when they are cooked like this over longer periods of time. Recipes for these cookers must be adjusted to compensate for the nature of the cooking. Often water must be decreased. Most (probably all) come with recipe booklets. Many cookbooks with slow cooker recipes are available and there are numerous recipes on the Web. A small number of cookbooks seek to make complete dishes in a slow cooker using fewer than five ingredients while others treat the slow cooker as a serious piece of culinary equipment capable of producing gourmet meals. With some experience, timings and recipe adjustments can be successfully made for many recipes not originally intended for these cookers. The long, moist nature of the cooking method allows for lower quality cuts to be used.
And even though a slow cooker takes longer to cook the food, it will actually save you time! How is this possible? Well, you can quickly load the ingredients in the morning and turn it on. That right there is the bulk of your time -not very much! And at dinner time, your home will greet you with a flavorful aroma fit for a king or queen!.
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