10 Reasons to Buy a Slow Cooker (+ recipes!)

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Slow cookers, or crock pots as they were called back in the day, have been enjoying a comeback over the last few years with sales up by a whole 55% at John Lewis alone.

So what’s all the fuss about? Will a slow cooker change your life, or will it just end up at the back of the cupboard next to the juicer? We weigh up the benefits…

Reasons to own a slow cooker

  • Tougher cheap cuts of meat become tender after long, slow cooking so you can save money on the food you buy
  • If you want to come home to a hot meal, you can set the cooker before you leave the house and let it work away safely all day
  • Recipes such as casseroles, stews and braises are great in slow cookers, as the gentle cooking allows flavours to develop
  • The length of cooking time is flexible
  • You can prepare food well in advance and forget about it all day long
  • Slow cookers are an easy way to use up leftovers
  • There’s no need for pre-cooking
  • There’s a great variety of recipes for one-pot meals
  • Slow cookers can be even be used for hot cereals, puddings and cakes
  • Despite needing to be switched on for hours at a time, slow cookers are energy efficient

Energy efficiency

Consumer price comparison website uSwitch says slow cookers use just a little more energy than a traditional light bulb, but the microwave is the most energy-efficient way to cook food. Microwaves may be the cheapest to run but a stew needs to, well, stew.

Slow cookers use a heat source roughly equivalent to two bright light bulbs at 200-250 watts running for three to 12 hours. This makes a slow cooker massively energy efficient compared to an oven, which uses about 700 watts.

Money saving website goodtoknow.co.uk agrees the oven is the most expensive cooking appliance to use. Using it for an hour each day will cost £2.46 a week, or £127.92 over a year. The Centre for Sustainable Energy meanwhile estimates that the average electricity usage of an electric oven is between 2-2.2kWh, while a microwave uses between 0.6-1.5kWh and a slow cooker uses approximately 0.7kWh over eight hours.

Getting the most out of your slow cooker

  • No liquid escapes from a slow cooker, so you should reduce any added liquid by one-third if following a recipe not written specifically for a slow cooker
  • Don’t remove the lid too often to avoid heat loss
  • The inner pot needs to be at room temperature before you start cooking, so wait for it to warm up if you’ve kept it in the fridge
  • All slow cookers are different, so follow your manufacturer’s manual for guidelines on temperatures and cooking times

Slow Cooker Recipes

If you’ve converted to the slow cooker way, try out some of these tasty recipes:
Italian vegetable bake
Thai beef curry
Slow-cooked Irish stew
Our favourite slow cooker recipes

Do you swear by your slow cooker? We’d love to hear your recipe ideas. Share them with us in the comments below.

 

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Hello ... I am the Creative Director and Website Editor for Silversurfers and manage all the social media too. I hope you find the features and articles we have shared with you of interest and relevance. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us ... I hope you enjoy Silversurfers and all that we offer ...

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Robbinn
19th Apr 2015
0
Thanks for voting!
I would love to hear from other people who use a slow cooker about their experiences. I love cooking and have owned a slow cooker for years but, apart from the money-saving side of it, cannot honestly say I like it. I have only one recipe which I really like doing in it - Orange and Chicken Curry. I have tried recipe after recipe; from cookbooks and my own, but whatever I cook seems to have a distinct 'slow cooker flavour'.
I really love an old-fashioned casserole in the winter months but cannot find a recipe for one in the slow cooker which comes anywhere near the flavour of one cooked in the oven.
I've tried all sorts of different foods; flavourings, spices etc; also browning meat and vegetables; not browning meat and vegetables but to no avail.
I hear other people rave about slow cookers but just cannot understand why - apart from the ease of putting something on in the morning and returning home to a cooked meal.

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