10 Genius Slow Cooker Hacks
If you have invested in a slow cooker to make stews, soups, and broths only, then you are making a major mistake – Not by investing in the slow cooker, but by not utilizing it to the fullest!
A slow cooker has several uses and among them, some are unusual, but they work just fine. With a slow cooker, you can not only increase the flavor profile by cooking food slowly, and let the crockpot do the work while you are away, but there are various other things that it is capable of doing.
You may be unknown to most of them, so here are ten genius slow cooker hacks to give you a helping hand in the kitchen.
Hit Two Targets With the Same Arrow
Not literally, but you can heat up two different food items using one crockpot. For this, you will need two basic things; an aluminum foil and a crockpot divider. Fold the aluminum foil to match its length with that of the middle of your crockpot. Place the foil in between as a barrier sheet, this is known as the crockpot divider. After that, take a slow cooker liner, and carefully place it over the top without distorting the crockpot divider that you created earlier.
Make sure the entire crockpot is covered with the liner, and voila! Now you have two cavities in the same pot and you can heat up different items in these two separate cavities.
Many people face confusion over the matter whether an aluminum or tin foil can be put into a crockpot. The answer is definitely yes. Just as these can be put into the oven while baking or as a substitute for baking sheets when you are out of them, likewise they are just as safe to use while cooking in a crockpot. So without worrying, heat up two dips within the same pot. This also saves you from cleaning up as you can simply discard the crockpot liner after use.
You can use your crockpot as a vessel to hold multiple things, and use it to create multiple objects that are not limited to food. For example, you can use your slow cooker as a double boiler. Just place whatever you want to melt in mason jars, and tuck them inside your crockpot. For standard size mason jars, you can fit four altogether.
You can use this hack to melt candy melts, chocolate or even loosen caramel or condensed milk. Just make sure you stir it every few minutes to avoid formation of lumps and chunks.
As for other objects, you can use this hack to make your own DIY projects, such as candles. The added bonus is, you can make four candles at once! Using the same hack, just melt the wax inside the mason jars. Once they are melted they will reduce in volume so fill them up more. You can add a different color or scent at this stage.
Lastly, add the wick, remove and leave it to solidify. Another unexpected task done with your crockpot!
Sometimes when you are not using a slow cooker liner, cleaning can be tough and tardy. So here is a useful cleaning hack to remove those stubborn marks of gravy from your slow cooker. Two basic pantry ingredients will do the task. Sprinkle some baking soda over your crockpot and pour in or spray some white vinegar over it. Leave it aside for a while and then wash with warm and soapy water.
The stains will easily wipe off and save you from scrubbing and scratching. You can also use this hack to clean away the residue that builds up over time.
Cooking in a slow cooker for long hours, we are talking about a third of the day, can cause the food to give off a lot of steam through evaporation. This steam collects on the lid and drips back into the food. This may not allow you to get your desired liquid consistency. To avoid this, just place a paper towel or tea towel tightly under the lid. This will catch all the steam and soak them up, avoiding condensation altogether.
Use it as a Humidifier
If you live in a country where winter does not last long, or you are living in your college dorm, or whichever situation it is where you do not want to spend on a humidifier but you need one, worry not because your slow cooker can do that job as well.
In winter, the weather can often get very dry and cause breathing problems. In order to humidify the air in whichever room you are, just set the slow cooker to high and fill it with warm water, without placing the lid on top. Within an hour, the water will start to evaporate and let out moisture into the room.
This will work as a makeshift humidifier for your room and save you a hefty load of money. You can also use this hack to get rid of a cold or blocked nose.
Useful Cooking Hacks
What is a list of hacks with a slow cooker if there aren’t a couple of cooking hacks? While your slow cooker already makes food taste delectable, this hack will further enhance the flavor. While cooking meat, first sear your meat on a pan to partially cook it before starting the cooking process in the crockpot. This will cause caramelization on the meat and richen the flavor of your overall dish as it infuses in the slow cooker. Furthermore, it will ensure your meat has different textures, layers of flavor, and is fully cooked while being juicy.
Choose cuts of meat that have more amount of fat and are thick, this will keep them moist. Avoid chicken breast if possible while cooking with chicken.
Another hack is useful while avoiding slow cooker mishaps, especially while cooking with dairy. If your recipe calls for cream cheese, or curd, add it near the end of your cooking as dairy can curdle easily if cooked for long, and ruin all your hard work and effort.
Similarly, if you are adding something that is already cooked, such as pasta, beans or cooked vegetables, add it as much near the end of cooking as possible. This will help them retain their shape and prevent from being overcooked.
Hacks With the Lid
You are the controller of what you cook, but your pot’s lid may be a step ahead of you! If you are cooking a stew or soup, then keep your hands off that lid. Every time you lift it, even if it is only for a few seconds, retained heat worth 30 minutes is lost. Thus, let it sit atop, and simmer for as long as required.
On the contrary, if you are making something of a thicker consistency, like a sauce or gravy, then you will want to remove the lid and keep it that way. This will allow you to get your desired thickness.
Don’t Miss Out on any Deliciousness!
Many a times, we see a recipe and skip it assuming that it cannot be made in the crockpot only because the recipe mentions a pan or oven. But in reality, you can cook most recipes, if not all, in the slow cooker. Just surf the internet to find the suitable conversions of time and measurements for a crockpot. There are many websites offering the alternative options.
Make Slow Cooking Fun With Technology
Technology has grasped or lives from all spheres and cooking is not immune to it. While the slow cooker in itself is an excellent creation, you can uplift the cooking process with further technological advancements. If your slow cooker is an old model that does not have a programmable switch, you can add this feature with a plug-in that is widely available in the market today. This way, you can set the cook time and control the heat.
Additionally, now you can also find Wi-Fi enabled slow cookers. Using these, you will be able to control the time and temperature from an app in your phone even if you are away from home.
Use it to the Fullest
If you are using your slow cooker to make stews and curries only, you are totally missing out. You can use it to make a plethora of other things including brownies, snacks, lasagna, and whatnot. This will save you both time and effort.