Many people are asking: should I buy a slow cooker?
It is an electric cooking appliance that simmers food. Last Christmas it was quite a boom, and it seems that there is a boom for this type of pots. But what are slow cookers? What are they for? Is it worth buying one? After a couple of months of testing, I want to give you my review and tell you about its advantages and disadvantages so that you can assess whether, in your case, it is interesting to get one.
What is slow cooker?
As its name suggests, it cooks over low heat. Very slow. This is making most stews and food without losing their properties like our grandmothers used to do.
A slow cooker is the opposite of a pressure cooker.
It is simple to use an electrical appliance (it has very few buttons and options). It consists of an external casing where the control panel and the plug are located. Also, there is a removable ceramic container with a lid, where the food to be cooked is placed.
Features and price
Usually, the it has three functions: high speed, low speed, and keep warm. There are manual or digital (both, as I tell you, very simple to use, don’t let the technology scare you).
Given its simplicity, in the market, you can find slow cookers of different prices. The first one I bought was Aldi’s, and it has £30. It would be a model similar in capacity and benefits to this one. I purchased a smaller Crockpot last year, and I love it too. This is it.
For its price and features, I think a slow cooker is worth having. As little as you use it, you will already have it amortized. I still use the oven, the pressure cooker (especially for cooking vegetables, purees and creams and quick dishes) and now the slow cooker. What I do use less and less are conventional pots.
It has many advantages but it also has a dark side. I will tell you the pros and cons after my experience so that you can assess yourself if you need it or can continue living without it.
- Autonomy: It is its main advantage. A pot that you plug in, cook for you and which you completely forget about is lovely. I admit that I was not getting any performance in the first days because I was scared to leave her alone! And of course, it is a VERY slow cooker, so if you don’t let it work at its own pace, you will become its slaves. Now what I do is put the food inside and forget it’s there (I go to sleep, do my things or run errands outside the house and so happy).
- Better organization: One thing leads to another. Being an autonomous device allows you to prepare meals at the time that suits you best and thus forgets about it. The food will be ready when you want it. I usually use the pot at noon (when I get home from work and the children are away). I prepare the ingredients, turn it on and leave it working. If it’s a longer stew, then I turn it on at night, and when I get up, I unplug it, and that’s it.
- Tasty food: Cooking over low heat is a joy. The food is tender, juicy and with a lot of flavours. This is very important because a very autonomous appliance is useless if the food is not rich.
- Many dishes cooked in a slow cooker need no prior preparation. This was one of the big questions when I bought the pot. If the cooking times are slow and, it was also essential to go through the pan or similar first, it would not be an advantage. But no, for most dishes you can make a “stew”.
- They can be programmed: I believe that some already incorporate this option, and others can be programmed with a conventional electrical programmer. It is an exciting option, but it does not convince me too much, since if I have to program that the food begins to cook after 5-6 hours, it implies that I must leave it raw at room temperature for a long time. This is not a problem for legumes and vegetables, but it is a problem for eggs, meat, fish, so I do not use this option.
- Low energy consumption: Of course, if the pot is plugged in for so many hours and cooks over low heat, it is logical to assume that the electricity bill will skyrocket. Not at all. These devices are very low consumption.
- Easy for cleaning: Cleaning it is just as easy as operating it. Once the ceramic container is cooled, it is washed and dried. The lid is dishwasher safe in most cases (although I wash it by hand) and the rest of the appliance can be cleaned with a damp cloth.
- They take up a lot of space: Unless you buy a small one (something that I do not recommend because the grace is to cook for the whole family and even several servings to store or freeze) the appliance is large and takes up space. You can find a room for it in a closet or, like me, leave it directly on the kitchen counter, more accessible.
- It requires a lot of organization with the menus: Although one of its advantages is autonomy and improved domestic organization, it is true that since cooking times are slow, you must organize yourself very well to prepare the dishes. For example. If you want to have a meat stew ready to eat at 2 pm, you cannot start cooking at 12 pm. It is a matter of foresight and organization because the pot needs its time.
You do not go into shock if you finally decide on the slow cooker; keep in mind that slow is not just an adjective. It’s quite slow. Even at high speed, it is slow. For example, legumes can take 8-10 hours to high; the meat stews about 3 hours on high (or six on low), the stir-fries and sauces are also around 3-4 hours. Do not worry about the tempos because the internet and social networks are full of recipes and experiences for your dishes to succeed.
I have cooked legumes, chicken, beef, vegetable and meat broth, sautéed tomato meatballs, confit potatoes and onion, eggplant and parmesan. Everything has been delicious, and each dish I notice that I am getting the trick and improving the recipes. And as I said, alone without being on top while cooking. I have seen that many people also cook fish, rice and cakes, for example, and other dishes that I have not yet dared to try.
I think these are the most important questions to consider if you are curious about slow cookers. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer you in comments.