Although you can use your slow cooker any time of year, many people associate them with the warm, rich foods of autumn and winter. It’s true that slow cookers are ideal for meaty stews and other hearty winter dishes. They are also economical.
Regardless of what style or size of slow cooker you have, there are other benefits to using a slow cooker as well. Here are some to consider.
1. Busy Cook’s Friend
The slow cooker can be a busy cook’s best friend, especially if you are going to be gone all day. While quick-cooking foods can be convenient too, a slow cooker allows you to do something else all day while dinner cooks. There are some breakfast foods you can allow to cook all night, too, so that you can awake to a hot breakfast or have a meal ready to take to a morning or afternoon potluck.
2. Extra for the Freezer
One of the great advantages of the slow cooker is that you can cook extra food for the freezer. You can have a slow cooker going any day of the week, including days where you are cooking regular meals, and simply freeze the meal when it’s done.
3. Cheaper Meat
Slow cookers allow you to get away with cheaper cuts of meat. The moisture contained in a slow cooker combines with a low temperature to tenderize tough meats and connective tissue. Also, you can make a very tasty stock using cheap cuts of meat and bones.
4. Low Energy Use
A slow cooker on your counter uses a lot less energy than a conventional oven. Even though it’s on for hours, the slow cooker uses low temperatures and contained heat, so there’s less energy output needed to keep it hot.
You’d be amazed at what you can make with your slow cooker. Most people associate them with roasts and stews, and slow cookers are great for that. However, you can also make jams, cobblers, sauces, desserts, pasta, and even bread in your slow cooker. You can even make yogurt with the right recipe.
6. Easy Clean-Up
While you can’t submerge the heating unit that surrounds the crock in the middle, you can submerge the crock. It’s usually very easy to clean, as most crocks are glazed ceramic. Also, with many recipes, you have a complete meal in one pot, so you don’t have lots of saucepans and bowls to wash.
7. Low Temperatures
Have you ever been frustrated by burned, scorched, or stuck-to-the-bottom-of-the-pan foods? One of the things that a slow cooker can help avoid is burned food. The low temperatures mean you won’t have to deal with those high-heat problems. -end-