Help lower your energy use in the kitchen by opting to use smaller appliances like slow cookers instead of your stove top or oven. Below are five common slow cooker mistakes to avoid when making the switch:
- Not using liners. Make cleaning your slow cooker as easy as its cooking process by using slow cooker liners. Liners make clean up a breeze by minimizing the need to scrub the ceramic or porcelain pot that sits inside the heating unit. Look for “FDA approved” and “BPA free” slow cooker liners at the grocery store to avoid harmful chemicals found in traditional plastics.
- Haphazardly layering items. Items that take the longest and the most moisture to cook should be on the bottom of your slow cooker. For example, root vegetables like potatoes should be on the very bottom of the pot since they require more time.
- Adding everything at the same time. Some ingredients are best added at the end of the cooking cycle to avoid overcooking and losing flavor.
- tender vegetables (i.e. tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini) – add the last hour of cooking
- pasta – add the last 30 minutes of cooking
- dairy (i.e. creams, milk, yogurt) – add the last 15 minutes of cooking
- tender herbs (i.e. cilantro, mint, basil) – add the last 5 minutes of cooking
- Adding too much liquid. Slow cookers trap steam and juices inside of the vessel. Cut back liquids by at least 20 percent in non-slow cooker recipes to adapt it for slow cooker use. Just a splash of wine will go a long way in your slow cooker since the alcohol cooks off at a much slower rate than stove top cooking.
- Opening the lid. Resist the urge to peek inside your slow cooker until at least the last hour of cooking. Opening the slow cooker lets heat escape and slows down the already slow cooking process.
A Guide to Cooking Meat in Your Slower Cooker
For more tips to manage your energy use, visit ConsumersEnergy.com/saveenergy.