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Old 02-09-2011, 12:39 PM   #11
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Location: south central coast/California
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Originally Posted by jennyema View Post

Letting food sit out in a crockpot for hours is really unsafe.

Particularly since even when you start a crackpot it takes quite awhile for the contents to come to a safe temp.

That's a big food poisoning risk.
As usual, I agree with Jenny on this point. ^^^

When I was away all day, I'd just choose a recipe that was close to the amount of time I'd be away. Many crock pot recipes give at least an 8hr cooking time, and if you are gone an hr or two longer, it never seemed to make much difference as far as I could tell. As you said, some of your creations seemed to be undercooked, so I'd just start the cooking when you leave and not worry about it.

PS.......You may want to try this....it can easily go 10 hrs or even more.

Sherry Beef

Bite size pieces of beef, about 3 lbs.
1 lb. fresh mushrooms cut in half
1 packet of Lipton onion soup mix
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup of dry Sherry

Mix all in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hrs.
Thicken pot liquid with instant mashed potato buds.

Serve on buttered wide noodles, or mashed potatoes.

This was my kids favorite meal growing up. The house smells wonderful.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but rather by the moments that take our breath away.

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:30 PM   #12
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Yes you could be right about leaving food around that long and we will be more careful. However the example I was using was just an example. If cooking meat from scratch we might actually start it much earlier on low so there isn't any waiting time.
And where I live it isn't as if the ambient temperature is 32 (Celsius) but more like 18 (at the moment inside 8am).
Meals that involve some precooking or heated preparation mostly happens the night before and then spends overnight in the fridge so that will take a while to heat up even to room temperature.

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Old 02-09-2011, 01:58 PM   #13
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Dont some crockpots have a feature that cooks food and then switches to a lower setting to keep it warm (as in above 140)?

I never actually cook in mine.
Less is not more. More is more and more is fabulous.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by DaveSoMD View Post
Depending on what you are cooking, isn't there a concern about leaving raw or partially cooked food at room temperature for four hours before starting to cook it?
My concern exactly. I was just going to ask the same question. I ftime is a problem I'd say start cold and cook longer so it is not overcooked and it is not going to get spoiled.
You are what you eat.
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Old 02-10-2011, 01:10 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by chriscal View Post
I see the problem now.
The crock pot doesn't have a timer but we use a timer that plugs into the power and the pot plugs into that. You can get them at any hardware store. (Often wondered why crockpots didn't have a timer on the side).

Now my wife leaves at 8am in the morning for work, we normally plan to eat about 6pm and the recipe calls for 6 hours on low which means the pot needs to start at 12 midday - hence the timer. Or as I have found out here perhaps a start at 11am since anything in the pot will be cold. I guess we need to read the recipe to see if the meal either starts with hot or cold ingredients and adjust the time accordingly.

I thought that everybody used a crockpot this way.

Don't get me started on cookbooks. The 2nd to last recipe from a slow cook book had us ending up with soup. I bet the author never made the recipe.
The reason crockpots don't have timers is to avoid exactly the sort of potentially hazardous practice you are following.

There is a "danger zone" for meats, poultry, seafood, and most dairy products from 40F to 140F, which is the temperature range in which food-borne bacteria multiplies most rapidly (doubling as often as every 20 minutes). Potentially hazardous foods should be kept refrigerated until immediately before you begin cooking them, then should be brought to cooking temperature, above 140F, as rapidly as possible.

Every cook needs to be aware of safe food handling practices, particularly the "danger zone" and cross-contamination problems. The USDA has a series of consumer fact sheets here: Safe Food Handling Fact Sheets

"Iím going to break one of the rules of the trade here. Iím going to tell you some of the secrets of improvisation. Just remember ó itís always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. But from then on, youíre on your own." - James Beard
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