Buying a Slow Cooker

1306860657_500x500_sa.jpg;canvasHeight=500;canvasWidth=500The use of a slow cooker or crock pot has recently enjoyed a resurgence of popularity.  (Crock pot is the name of the slow cooker made by Rival so crock pots are slow cookers, but all slow cookers are not actually crock pots,)  Having a meal ready to eat when you return home after a busy day is a real pleasure.  With the slow cooker you simply put your ingredients in the pot in the morning, turn the switch to either low or high (or maybe something in between) and come back hours later to a finished meal.  Slow cookers are also a great way to cook an inexpensive piece of meat and have it come out tender and moist.  They do an excellent job making stews or soups or chili or sauces and depending on the units size and shape may even cook a whole chicken or a roast.

Some things to consider when buying a slow cooker are size and shape.  Do you want an oval unit or the round unit.  Do you want the insert to come out (easier to serve and clean) and do you prefer the insert to be metal or stoneware.  It is almost impossible to clean a slow cooker when the insert does not come out since you cannot submerge the electric portion of the unit.  Are you preparing food for one or two or a larger family or are you the person who likes to have leftovers from a meal.8959635_500x500_sa.jpg;canvasHeight=500;canvasWidth=500

Slow cookers range in size from 1 quart to 7 quarts.  They vary in price from about $25 for a small basic unit to over $200 if you are looking at a brand name with lots of fancy features.  The most popular sizes appear to be the 4 to 6 quart models.  Having a nonstick insert makes it unnecessary to spray the inside of the unit before putting in food and makes for easy cleanup.  Glass lids on the unit will last longer than a plastic lid.

Other extra features you may want to consider include a divided container where the container insert has two separate cooking compartments allowing you to cook two items at the same time.  Some new slow cookers have a heat resistant glass cooking container which allows you to brown your dish on your stove and then finish cooking in the same container in the slow cooker.  Some units now have digital controls instead of the dial.  If you are planning to take your slow cooker with you there are attachments available to keep the lid tight and insulated containers for transporting your slow cooker.

Enjoy the convenience of using whatever slow cooker you decide is right for you and your family.