A. This is due to voltage variations which are commonplace everywhere; altitude; or even extreme humidity. The slight fluctuations in power do not have a noticeable effect on most appliances; however, it can slightly alter the cooking times Allow plenty of time, and remember, it is practically impossible to overcook. You will learn through experience whether to decrease or increase cooking times. Q: Must the Crock-Pot slow cooker be covered? Is it necessary to stir?
A. Cook with the cover on. The slow cooker will not recover heat losses quickly when cooking on low setting. Significant amounts of heat escape whenever the lid is removed; therefore the cooking time must be extended. Avoid frequent removal of the cover for checking cooking progress or stirring. Never remove cover during the first 2 hours when baking breads or cakes It is not necessary to stir while cooking on LOW heat. While using HIGH heat for short periods occasional stirring improves the distribution of flavors. Q. How about thickening the juices or making gravy?
A. Add some quick-cooking tapioca to any recipe when you want to make a thick gravy. Add the tapioca at the beginning and it will thicken as it cooks! Or you may remove the solid foods, leaving the juices Prepare a smooth paste of approximately ½ cup flour or cornstarch to cup water or 4 tablespoons melted butter. Pour mixture into liquid in stoneware and stir well. Turn to HIGH and when it comes to a boil (about 15 minutes) it’s ready. Q. Can I cook a roast without adding water?
A. Yes – if cooked on low. We recommend a small amount because the gravies are especially tasty. The more fat or “marbling” the meat has the less liquid you need. The liquid is needed to properly soften and cook vegetables.
A Few Hints:
- Trim fats and wipe meats well to remove residue. (If meats contain fats brown in a separate skillet or broiler and drain well before adding to cooker.) Season with salt and pepper. Place meat in cooker on top of vegetables.
- For roasts and stews pour liquid over meat. Use no more liquid than specified in the recipe. More juices in meats and vegetables are retained in slow cooking than in conventional cooking.
- Most vegetables should be thinly sliced or placed near the sides or bottom of the stoneware. Meats generally cook faster than most vegetables in a slow cooker.
- Use whole leaf herbs and spices for best and truest flavor for all-day cooking. If ground herbs and spices are used, they should be stirred in during the last hour of cooking.
- Because there is no direct heat at the bottom, always fill the stoneware at least half full to conform to recommended times Small quantities may be prepared, but cooking time will be affected.
- A specific liquid called for in a recipe may be varied if an equal quantity is substituted. (Such as substituting a 10 ¾ ounce can of soup plus 4 ounces of water for a 14 1/2 ounce can of tomatoes OR ½ cup beef or chicken broth for 1/2 cup of wine, etc.)
- Beans must be softened completely before combining with sugar and/or acid foods (NOTE: Sugar and acid have a hardening effect on beans and will prevent softening). Dried beans especially red kidney beans, should be boiled before adding to a recipe. Cover the beans with 3 times their volume of unsalted water and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer hours or until beans are tender. Soaking in water, if desired, should be completed before boiling. Discard water after soaking or boiling.
- The lid handle may get hot while cooking, use of an oven mitt while handling is advised.