For busy gourmets, Crock Pot cookery (1976)
By Nancy Harvey – Binghamton Press & Sun (Binghamton, New York) October 19, 1976
Slow cooking is an idea dating back to pioneer days, when a homemaker simmered her dinner in a pot over an open fire while she went about her daily chores.
Today, you can take advantage of an assortment of slow-cooking “crock pots” to do the same thing. An entire meal can be cooked for pennies a serving, and less-expensive cuts of meat can be deliciously tenderized.
Some crockpot manufacturers claim you also get better nutrition from slow cooking. Actually, slow cooking preserves many heat-sensitive vitamins, but destroys some others which can’t survive extended cooking. If you consume any liquid in which the ingredients cook, you probably WILL get better nutrition, because you’ll be eating the water-soluble vitamins.
Vintage tips on choosing a Crock-Pot Slow Cooker
There are a number of features to look for and things to consider when choosing a cooker. Cookers come in several quart sizes, so think of the size of your family. Deeper models allow less evaporation within the cooker and can hold more liquid than shallow models. A wraparound heating element allows better heat distribution. A removable crock is also handy, because it’s easier to clean and can be used as a serving container. Finally, look for a detachable cord.
A useful optional feature would be an off-on light to help avoid burns. Outside temperatures on some models get up to 200 degrees F. This would also tell you if the cooker is accidentally left on.
According to Consumer Reports, the continuous heat models are better than thermostatically controlled ones. The thermostatically controlled models have unpredictable cooking times and require much experimentation for proper use. They also draw high voltage.
The best rules for using a slow cooker are to follow the manufacturer’s directions and use a special recipe book. A light pregreasing will facilitate cleanup. Remember to fill the pot up at least halfway for proper heating. And don’t peek: it extends cooking time. It’s practically impossible to overcook.
You may change timings by using this formula: 1 hour on high equals 2-1/2 hours at low. Fill the cooker with hot soapy water after use. For those of you who prefer to develop your own recipes, here are a few hints:
- Pasta is better added during the last hour.
- Long grain rice is the preferred form of rice to use.
- Soak beans if directions on bean box call for it.
- Add frozen vegetables or fish during last hour only.
- Place root vegetables on bottom.
- Add milk products during last hour.
- Browning meats reduces fat; extra fat increases cooking time.
- Boil-in-bag vegetables may be set on top during last hour; make a small hole in bag to let steam escape.
- Use roux for thickening (recipe to follow).
- Whole spices are recommended; add ground spices during last hour.
Crock Pot roux
1/2 pound butter or margarine
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Melt butter in a heavy skillet; sift flour, salt, pepper together. Stirring constantly, work flour mixture into melted butter. Mixture should have the consistency of custard pudding. Let it simmer on low heat for 45 minutes, until it is well cooked. Store in an airtight jar in refrigerator. Will keep 4 months.
Safety of Crock-Pot Slow Cookers
Slow cookers are electrically safe, but remember not to immerse the coil when cleaning. Microbiologically, slow cookers should be safe if sanitary food handling practices are followed. The cooking temperature should be at least 18 degrees F and preferably 200 degrees F on LOW.
The temperature of the food at the coolest spot. on top, should reach 165 degrees F in at least 2 hours. Start on high to kill all surface bacteria and then turn down after an hour. Some models have an automatic shift.
Always start with wholesome food and not food that has been stored for a long length of time. Scrub root vegetables very well. Thermophilic bacteria present on these grow at high temperatures and produce acid and poor taste. Putting in frozen food lowers the temperature for prolonged lengths of times, so it’s better to thaw it first.
Home-canned food should be boiled for 10 minutes before adding to the mixture in the cooker if you are at all unsure whether it was processed correctly. (Vegetables except tomatoes must be pressure canned. )
Don’t cool your food product slowly after cooking. Spores which are not killed by the heating process can germinate and produce toxins. Most manufacturers recommend removing food to a refrigerator container before storing, especially since the crockery pots don’t withstand rapid changes in temperature well.
When using an automatic timer to turn the slow cooker on or off, remember that bacteria grow rapidly below about 120 degrees F. The longer food products are cooked between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, the more bacterial growth will occur. Toxins which may be formed by the bacteria may not be destroyed by slow cooking.
Slow cookers keep food sufficiently hot for serving and safety for about 2 hours after turning off.
Slow cookers may pose some special problems, but if used correctly, they are safe, economical, and time-saving.
All-day roast, all-night cereal, Mom’s-gone-shopping casserole
S – L – O – W electric stoneware cooker
There’s no other cooker anywhere like the one and only Crock-pot. A low-watt heating element encircles fine stoneware… cooks all day while the cook’s away for about 3 cents. Just put in the food, put on the lid and forget the clock. Hours later, your meal is perfectly cooked without timing, stirring or tending.
- 3-1/2 quart Crock-Pot Cooker/Server with detachable cord. Flame, Avocado or Wood Tone.
- 2 quart crock pot — Flame or Avocado.
- 4-1/2 quart deluxe Crock-Pot Cooker/Server with detachable cord. Flame, Avocado, Harvest. (People buy this new size faster than we can make them now. If not available in your store, be patient.)
Give someone a genuine “original”
There’s only one original Crock-Pot. And only Rival makes it — the one with the crazy name and the warm heart of stone. A very low-watt element encircles fine stoneware, surrounds food with a blanket of heat. Cooks all day while the cook’s away — for only 3 cents.
Start your meal in the morning, come home to a delicious dinner at night. No stirring or timing, no sticking. Ideal for busy, busy people.
A great way to cook less-expensive cuts of meat. You’ll turn out tender, juicy roasts, chicken, ham. Vegetables retain texture, fresh natural color, and good nutrition. Stews, soups, seafood, fruits, cake, pudding and favorite casseroles have unbelievable flavor.