Choosing A Slow Cooker

A slow cooker is a real boon in any household. If you are a paleo fan, it is pretty close to a necessity, particularly if you don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen. You can simply put the ingredients in there, and let the slow cooker get on with it while you deal with life, work, kids or whatever. With the huge range of models and prices on the market, what things should you look at to make your choice and select the best model for you?

Price isn’t always an indicator of quality, so you need to have a look at specifics when making your choice. One of the first things to consider is just how often you plan on using it. I actually cook with my current model most days so I invested in something that will stand up to this more rigorous use.

When using it daily, I like to make sure that it heats up as evenly as possible. Some slow cookers have the heating element in the base only. Others actually have them in the sides of the container too. This tends to create a more uniform heating of the food.

Something even more obvious is simply size and shape. If you are like me and you make new stuff from one day to the next, you don’t actually need a huge model. I usually do enough for the family and then maybe a little more. I have friends who take a completely different approach. They might do a giant cook up on Sundays and then freeze portions for the rest of the week.

Shape is important too. There are some great oval models out there, but if they don’t fit on your hob they really aren’t a lot of use! Also, think about what you are putting in there. If you do a lot of vegetable dishes, smaller and round is fine. If you are looking to cook whole chickens or joints of meat on the bone, then you will need something longer.

A good tip for the anyone who likes to check on their food (or if you often get the cooking time wrong!) is to pick something with a glass lid. when slow cooking, you can’t just take the lid off to see how stuff is coming along. You want to keep all that precious heat in there. If you can peer through the lid, this should at least give you an idea of how much longer it will take and satisfy your curiosity!

Think about a sear function too. This can be a costly option, but for some people it will be really worth it. Basically, what this does is is to cook the outside of something like a piece of beef before switching to slow cooking. This is really important to keep the moisture in and makes the difference between a lovely, succulent meal and something much drier.

The one thing that you really should have is a timer. Nowadays, only the most basic models won’t have this but you probably don’t want to be saving money here. If you aren’t there to control the exact cooking time of your food, setting a timer is perfect. It also lets you get the real joy out of a slow cooker. After all, the aim is just to set and forget right?

If you haven’t invested in a slow cooker yet, it is a great addition to any kitchen. Whilst not the cheapest things, a good one will save time and make your life so much easier in some many ways and makes it simple to cook up delicious paleo food for the whole family.

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