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The Recipe for Slow Cooker Success

Slow cooker inspiration! Keep the heat out of the kitchen. Be safe. Enjoy the process and the food.

As the seasons switch to summer (and warmer weather), don’t you start looking for ways to make meals without heating up the kitchen? Me too! My new (replacement) slow cooker and I have recently been getting acquainted. I made pulled pork for sliders, pork tenderloin in a red wine sauce, and jambalaya (chicken/shrimp/sausage).  It made me think about questions that come up as we work with new kitchen equipment that can make it easier to be kitchen confident – if we know what we are doing. Here are some points to keep in mind for success with your slow cooker:

clean handsClean it up, people. Judging from the amount of people who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom (we see you – gross!), a reminder is helpful. Wash your hands. It’s one of the simplest yet most impactful things we can do to stop the spread of germs.

Do NOT combine pre-cut veggies, meat, and other ingredients. Chop and store prepped ingredients separately until ready to cook so you don’t potentially create an environment bacteria loves. Use separate knives and cutting boards for fruits/veg and raw beef/pork/fish/poultry, too.

Bacteria loves being in the danger zone. That’s 40-140. Don’t pull a Kenny Loggins and go to the danger zone.  Keep food out of it. Use a food thermometer to be sure your food is at the right temperature when transporting, storing, and cooking. I like to test throughout the cooking process (I use my slow cooker when I’m home, washing the thermometer after each use and before dipping it in again). #foodsafetyrocks

For information on your own cooker, read the booklet that came with it. There’s some good stuff in there.

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.