Crockpot Origin

A crockpot, also known as a slow cooker, is an electric cooking pot used to simmer at low temperatures over a period of time. A slow cooker consists of a lidded round or oval cooking pot made of glazed ceramic or porcelain, surrounded by a housing, usually metal, containing the electrical heating element. Crockpots are heated by the low current (~50 hertz) electrical heating elements that were commonly called “Crock-Pot” because of the original slow cooker brand name.

Manufacturers make a variety of slow cookers, including those designed to cook on high heat for short durations, known as conventional or traditional models. Make certain your slow cooker has a “Low” setting. Look for the words “Low”, “Simmer”, or “Low Heat” on the outside of the unit or in its instruction manual.

Conventional models have controls that select High or Low heat only and automatically switch to Warm when cooking is finished. A removable round or oval stoneware crock fits into the metal housing.

Crockpots are commonly used to cook stews, soups, and chili (see Crock-Pot). They can also be used as an alternative to a slow cooker where a very low temperature is required for tenderizing or breaking down connective tissues in cuts of meat so as to create more palatable dishes.

Crockpots typically will cook 30% faster than conventional cooking methods, so recipes need to be adjusted accordingly. Undercooked beans can create excessive amounts of foam during the initial stages of cooking, which may overflow the lid and pool on top of your crockpot thus causing sputtering when you lift it to stir or serve. For best results, follow recipe instructions for proper pre-heating of the cooker and use recommended cooking times.

Crockpot use in an RV is popular because this appliance uses less power than an electric oven or stove when operating. Given that many RVs lack air conditioning, the slow cooker allows one to cook without heating up the interior with conventional methods.

Crockpots typically have three heat settings — High, Low and Warm. These settings are for general slow-cooking purposes only; the High setting may not be hot enough to cook foods that burn easily, such as eggs, whereas the Low setting may not provide a high enough temperature to facilitate tenderizing tough cuts of meat. The warm setting is the lowest temperature and may be used to keep cooked food warm while serving or for dishes that tend to scorch easily, such as cream sauces.

Crockpots are not intended for use with recipes that require baking or simmering at high temperatures because of the risk of severe burns from touching hot surfaces. There have been several incidents recorded in the media of children suffering severe burns while reaching into a crockpot with bare hands to retrieve marshmallows.

Crockpots are intended for use only when fully automated, meaning that they should be switched to either “High” or “Low” before being left unattended. However, slow cookers are susceptible to heating up significantly faster than their settings would indicate. If a crockpot is switched to High while the contents are still cold, the internal heating coils may overheat and damage the stoneware crock. In extreme cases, if food is left in a hot crock when turned to Low or Warm, it may crack or shatter when transferring from one setting to another.

Crockpots can also be used to cook foods that produce a lot of liquid, such as chili. If the chili is allowed to simmer in the crockpot for an extended amount of time without stirring, the steam can cause the stoneware crock to crack or shatter.

There are many models on the market today ranging from very inexpensive to very expensive. Crockpots are made in the United States, Mexico, China, and Great Britain. There are various sizes ranging from 1 quart up to 8 quarts.



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Charlie Gallant

Charlie Gallant

A published author with more than 300+ articles across the net. I operate my own website: