Today’s post was written by guest poster Gary Foreman.
Slow cookers are a mainstay for many families. They’re easy, convenient and a great way to avoid bringing in takeout food on work days.
But there are certain food safety issues that we all need to know.
It’s tempting to take foods directly from the freezer and place them in the slow cooker. That’s dangerous. High heat is required to kill bacteria. Slow cookers use low heat. On either high or low setting the heat provided is just enough to encourage the bacteria to grow. But not enough to kill them.
That could be especially dangerous for expectant moms, the elderly, young children and anyone with a chronic illness.
A food borne illness might just cause a tummy ache. But in some cases it can even be fatal!
Being concerned with your safety doesn’t mean that you need to put your slow cooker out at your next garage sale. Just remember these simple guidelines:
- Avoid frozen foods
- All recipes should include at least 1/2 cup of liquid
- Lifting the cover increases cooking time (about 30 minutes for each time)
Also remember not to use a timer to start your slow cooker. Letting your food sit in the cooker waiting for the timer to kick in at 2pm is just like setting food on your countertop. It’s an invitation for bacteria to grow! Invest in a pot that will keep food warm after it’s cooked. Much safer!
Your slow cooker can be a great way to feed your family with a minimum of effort on a budget. Using it safely is just a matter of following a few simple rules.