Slow Cooker Safety Tips

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Slow cookers, also known as crockpots, offer convenience, time savings, lower electricity use and great flavor. But there are some tips  everyone should follow to make sure their food stays safe:
• Make sure you start with clean equipment.
• Thaw and cut all ingredients. Avoid frozen items and large-shaped pieces.
• Fill the cooker between half and two-thirds full - not too much and not too little. Use an ample amount of liquid.
• When cooking meat and chicken, start on high for one hour to heat quickly and then turn the crockpot to low if desired.
• Keep the cover on.
• Do not use the crockpot to reheat food.
• If the power goes out for any length of time while cooking, the food should be discarded.
FMI see www.fsis.usda.gov

Here are more tips for cooking ahead:

Planning and cooking ahead can make meal time go so much smoother. We are finding it is very convenient and efficient to cook 2 or 3 meals at once for use during the week and reheat as needed.
Even when company is coming it is much easier to cook ahead and clean up the whole kitchen. Then food can be reheated quickly just before eating. The days of “a la minute” (at the last minute) cooking are starting to fall by the wayside!
Here are success tips:
• Cook extra when you have the time and are in the mood.
• Store food in large shallow pans so it cools quickly.
• Keep food covered.
• Refrigerate if you are going to use in a day or so; freeze for longer storage.
• Reheat quickly and thoroughly on the stove or in the microwave.

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