Q:

What are the safety tips for using a slow cooker?

A:

Quick Answer

There are several safety tips for using a slow cooker, including defrosting foods thoroughly in the refrigerator before adding the food to the cooker. The slow cooker takes too long to increase the temperature above the danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit when users add frozen foods.

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Full Answer

Preparing the ingredients for a slow cooker the night before makes it easier to start the meal the next day. The cook should store the ingredients in individual containers in the refrigerator and not mix them and should avoid placing the food in the crock liner and storing it in the refrigerator. The cold liner keeps food in the temperature danger zone too long. Also, mixing meats and vegetables causes cross contamination and allows bacteria to grow.

When cooking large cuts of meat, slow cooker users should cut them into smaller pieces. Large roasts and whole chickens take too long to reach the safe zone. Cutting them into smaller pieces decreases the chances of food poisoning.

Lifting the lid early in the cooking process is not necessary and slows the cooking process. Each opening of the lid allows steam and heat to escape. Users should only open it toward the end of the cooking cycle to add any last-minute ingredients.

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