Important Crock Pot hints
"Does it matter how I cut vegetables?"
When roasting it might. Most vegetables should be cut in small pieces, or at least quartered, and placed near sides or bottom of the CROCKPOT. Carrots should be peeled and put where they will be covered by liquid. (An unusual characteristic of the CROCKPOT is that meats generally cook faster than most vegetables-depending on the age of the vegetables.)
"What are the cooking temperatures in the CROCKPOT?"
About 95 degrees C/200 degrees F (just below boiling) on Low; and approximately 150 degrees C/300 degrees F on High.
Due to the unique "wraparound" heating system, low temperature and long cooking periods, CROCK-POT temperatures cannot accurately be compared to an oven or skillet.
"Can 1 cook small portions in the CROCK-POT"
Yes, but cooking times will vary. Because there is no direct heat at the bottom, always fill CROCK-POT at least half full to conform to recommended times.
THERE'S A SPICE DIFFERENCE IN TASTE!!
Meats will pick up desirable flavours from vegetables that they are cooked with. This might give you more flavour that you are used to You can reduce quantities of vegetables such as onions and carrots, if desired, to fit personal taste. The same fact applies to fresh spices-a little goes a long way in the CROCKPOT. Meats (especially cubed as for stew) should be clean, and wiped well, before cooking.. if the meat is not being browned first, careful wiping will remove particles normally disposed of during browning to ensure the best flavour.
"Shouldn't I stir sometimes while cooking?"
It's seldom necessary to stir while cooking on Low heat. While using High for short periods, occasional stirring may be necessary and improves the distribution of flavours throughout the entire recipe.
"How about making gravy"
Make it right in your CROCK -POT! Retain all that delicious flavour! Add some minute tapioca to any recipe when you want a thick gravy. It will thicken as it cooks! Or you may remove foods from the pot,leaving the juices. Prepare a smooth paste of approximately 1/4 cup flour or cornstarch to cup water. Pour mixture into liquid in the CROCK-POT and stir well. Turn to High and when it comes to a boil (about 15 minutes) it is ready.
"What if I end up with too much liquid?"
Since the liquid content of meats and vegetables will vary, you may have a recipe produce liquid than desired. The excess can be reduced by removing the cover and setting the CROCKPOT on High for about 45 minutes. Most recipes cooked on Low will be juicier since the Low heat prevents boiling away of liquids.
"Can I cook a roast without adding water?"
Yes, on Low. We recommend a small amount because the gravies are especially tasty. More fat or "marbling" the meat has, the less liquid you need.
"What if the food isn't done after 8 hours ... when the recipe says 8 to 10 hours."
It's due to voltage variations which occur everywhere. Or altitude. Or extreme humidity. Slight fluctuations in power do not have a noticeable effect on most appliances, but can slightly alter cooking times in the CROCK-POT. Allow plenty of time-it's almost impossible to overcook. From experience you'll learn whether to use the shorter or longer time given.
"Can quick temperature changes harm my CROCKPOT?"
Yes. The cooking vessel within your CROCK-POT is stoneware. As with any fine ceramic, it will not withstand the shock of sudden temperature changes. So:
Do not put in frozen, or very cold, foods IF the stoneware has been pre-heated or hot to the touch. To wash stoneware right after cooking, use hot water. Do not pour in cold water if stoneware is hot.
Stoneware should not be used for storing foods in freezer.
"What about frozen casseroles?"
Fine! You can leave them in their aluminium wraps. Casseroles should be heater 5 to 8 hours (depending on weight and shape). CROCKPOT is ideal for this because slow heating does not dry out foods.
"May I prepare a recipe the night before in the removable stoneware and store it, covered, in the refrigerator?"
Certainly. When ready to cook, transfer the stoneware bowl to the CROCK-POT. Re sure the CROCK-POT has not been preheated. Cook on desired setting, using maximum time given in recipe.
"May I use the removable stoneware in the oven?"
Yes, The stoneware bowl is ideal for adding a pastry crust to your favourite stew.
Caution: Do not place stoneware on range surface or burners.
"What if the food is overcooked after 10 hours?"
Most of the recipes in the CROCK-POT cookbook call for a cooking time of 8 to 10 hours. If foods are cooked more than desired, it is probably due to not trimming excess fat from meats or adding too much liquid. Fats and increased amounts of liquid can possibly cause unsatisfactory increase in temperatures. Significant voltage variations can also increase the cooking temperature.