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Old 05-12-2012, 11:50 AM   #1
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The chemistry of crock pots..

I just bought a new crockpot today. I never feel like a new home is a home until I have an oven, a crock pot and a microwave oven. I have an oven, now the crock...2 down, one to go.

Even though I am single, I find crock pots to be extremely useful. It is my way to get tasty bean dishes into my life to enjoy the nutrients that they can provide. I would like to learn more about the "chemistry" and principles behind how slow cookers work. The first thing I did when I got my home was to fill it half way with water and then turn it on. I noted that at the low setting the water is 50 degrees centigrade, at the medium setting 80 degrees, and I am guessing at high will be boiling - haven't got there yet to make sure.

I have found tons of pages with recipes but after looking through more than 30 pages of results found nothing that really educated me about this appliance.

Do all crock pots cook at about the same temperature for low, medium and high? BTW, mine is 375 watt, 110 volts. What are each of these settings most useful for? When would I use that setting? Is there a table/chart somewhere that tells me, for example, how long 5 pounds of potatoes have to cook at medium before they are done?

Any insight would be helpful.

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Old 05-12-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
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You'll probably find most of that information in the manual that came with the unit.
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Old 05-12-2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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Probably...and if I could read Chinese, I could answer that question :) But still, my guess (based on the little I can read) it doesn't go into detail. It is only a small 4 page booklet, with pages that are 3" by 4".
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Old 05-12-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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Crock pots are great for tougher meat cuts from the shoulder and leg area. Plus when the roast is done you can use it for different things throughout the week.

One of my FAV things is a making pulled pork. Great thing as well is that you can freeze portions of it in small bags and just use it whenever.

Good luck with your crock!
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:00 PM   #5
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A crock pot cooks not just by heating the ceramic walls, but by letting the moisture evaporate, condense, and drip back into the pot. This distributes heat and mixes the flavors.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:48 PM   #6
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We did a lot of discussion and examination of crock pot behavior a while back. The thread is here:
Crock-Pot Cooking
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:06 PM   #7
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Head to your local library and find a few Crock Pot cookbooks. It will give you a plethera of ideas.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:20 PM   #8
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Thanks for the link and the input. Yes, local libraries are good but only good in Taiwan if you can read Chinese :) The link to another thread seems to be addressing one of my main concerns, i.e. what, numerically speaking, does low medium and high mean with respect to actual temperatures. The web is a wonderful tool in many respects but the ease of access to uploading and posting has very quickly created a digital junk yard, making it difficult to fine tune a search :(
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:39 PM   #9
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It can be assumed that all crock pots are different, and no two are exactly alike although many may be similar. There is no agreed upon standard about what constitutes low, medium and high. What you get is what it is. The only guarantee in EU and US is that the appliance meets CE mark or UL mark product safety requirements. I have no idea what requirements exist in TW or CN (Taiwan, China).

Your best bet is either a remote reading thermometer or frequent use of an instant read thermometer. Take notes about the success and failures of your recipes. You can even calibrate your crock pot, just put in an appropriate amount of water and set it on low, medium or high and let it sit for long enough to stabilize and then read the temperature.

You can eventually figure out for yourself how your crock pot works and what times and settings are appropriate.
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