Interpreting slow cooker recipes

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chriscal

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Been trying some recipes from a book.
Sometimes you might find something like this - note all in one paragraph being perhaps point 6 ....

5. ....
6. Heat soup, fry vegetables, pour soup over vegetables in crock pot. Cook for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
7. Serve over rice.

This implies that after placing hot food in the cooker you immediately start the cooking - so there is significant heat already in the pot. My wife assumes this means fry the vegetables, pour over the soup then set the cooking timer, high or low, to start sometime later in the day by which time the contents will be cold and take significantly longer to reach cooking temperature.

So what is the real correct time if she wants to start later ?
And if the cooking time is discussed as part of a single point then is it correct to assume that there is already heat in the pot and the time given is correct ?

I do understand that slow cooking times are fairly broad but if the contents start off cold then you might need to consider adding another 1-2 hours to the cooking time on low to accomplish the same as if you had started with hot contents.
 

Zhizara

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Hi, welcome to DC. The way that is worded I would assume that cooking would start right away, otherwise why heat the soup? I'd
assume you'd adjust your cooking time if the contents of the crockpot were cold, but I doubt you would need more than an hour to bring it up to temperature. Adding 2 hours could be too much.

HTH
 

chriscal

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I also assumed that this meant that cooking should start right away so I adjusted the timer forward an hour to compensate. The cook book my wife was using has a lot of recipes where it looks like the cooking is meant to start immediately. Others make no reference to heating some ingredients as part of the preparation but list things like cups of boiling water as an ingredient. This would mean starting off with lukewarm contents. So in this case I would assume that the cook times have also allowed for this.
This probably explains why some meals have been a little undercooked. I think that perhaps a lot of authors don't understand that part of the usefullness of slow cooking is being able to prepare in the morning (or night before) and start cooking on a timer part way thru the next day if you are out all that day (or work fulltime).
So I think that a very careful read of the recipe is required and time adjustments made as required.
 
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babetoo

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Hi, welcome to DC. The way that is worded I would assume that cooking would start right away, otherwise why heat the soup? I'd
assume you'd adjust your cooking time if the contents of the crockpot were cold, but I doubt you would need more than an hour to bring it up to temperature. Adding 2 hours could be too much.

HTH

i agree. one hour is enough. mine heats up very fast.sometimes i lay out the veg. and meat and let them reach room temp. that makes it even faster. :chef:
 

Kayelle

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Just pre heat it on high while you are prepping the ingredients, it doesn't take that long to get it
hot.

I just reread what you wrote...You have a timer on yours so it will start while you're away?
Never heard of such a thing.
Did this fancy crock pot come with a recipe book?
Any crock pot cookbook I've ever seen assumes you will be cooking when you fill the pot.
 
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chriscal

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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.
 
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Zhizara

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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.

One of the nicest things about DC is that when someone posts a crock pot recipe here, you can ask that person questions like these, plus, you know in advance that it's already tried and true (TNT). Welcome to DC, you are in exactly the right place for your questions.:chef:
 

DaveSoMD

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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?
 

jennyema

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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?

Yes.

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.
 
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Kayelle

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Yes.

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.
 
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chriscal

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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.
 

jennyema

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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.
 

CharlieD

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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.
 

FincaPerlitas

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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
 

Kevin86

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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.
If you want to trust a cookbook you have to beg borrow or steal old ones from mom or grandma.
I come from a farming community and even the new books are good. Some are sold at the fair or nursery school fundraising or I've seen them done as busy projects at nursing homes. Each recipe has the submitting persons name at the top so it's a point of pride you put in your best. You can be sure that credit is given where it's due, I've seen say a nursery school fundraising cookbook that had grandma so and so name at the top even if mom sent in the recipe.
I read the rest and get some good ideas and try things but I trust the local made books for sure.
 

dragnlaw

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Slow Cookers are a frustration for many a working person. They are purchased with the intention of starting the cooker when they leave the house and come home to a meal. Which 95% of the time is just not true!

A lot of recipes are 4 hours on low or 6 on high - 4/6 on low and 6/8 on high. Leaving the food in a dangerous position for a working person gone 9 hours or more.

There are cookers out there (and recipes) that you can start to cook on low for the 8 hours and then it automatically switches to warm and will keep it at a safe temp for several hours before it shuts off.

Which recipes work for that, you will have to experiment with, to find which works for you! Most recipes can be adapted to a slow cooker with little adjustments - mostly to the amounts of liquid needed.

Along time ago you used to be able to purchase stoves that had a timer for the oven - when it would turn on - and when it would turn off. Just put your roast in it in the morning - around 4 pm it would start and meat would be cooked by 6 pm. Guess they removed that "convenience" after the fact being pointed out a hunk of meat was sitting at room temp for 8 hours was a bit of a health hazard! :LOL:

Kevin, I hope you realize that the OP started this thread in 2011? Thanks for bringing it up tho - it was interesting.
 

RPCookin

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Slow Cookers are a frustration for many a working person. They are purchased with the intention of starting the cooker when they leave the house and come home to a meal. Which 95% of the time is just not true!

A lot of recipes are 4 hours on low or 6 on high - 4/6 on low and 6/8 on high. Leaving the food in a dangerous position for a working person gone 9 hours or more.

I think you reversed your high and low numbers. Shouldn't it be longer on low?

When we were still working, we often made meals in our basic Crockpot. They sometimes went for as much as 10 hours on low - seemed to work okay, but for those long cooking times, we usually only did the meat portion of the meal. When I got home around 4 PM, I'd start the veggies, often using the stock or broth that the cooking meat had made during the day. If I had enough time, I'd just put them in the pot and in 2-2½ hours. When my wife got home, everything would be ready.
 

Kevin86

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Yesterday's questions for one person are tommorows questions for someone else. As long as you give good advice it should not matter on a chat forum
 

GotGarlic

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Yesterday's questions for one person are tommorows questions for someone else. As long as you give good advice it should not matter on a chat forum
It doesn't usually. Sometimes, though, new members ask questions of an original poster who been around in years [emoji2] So we mention it so they understand why they won't get a response.
 
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