A slow cooker can be a life saver for busy people who still want to eat a healthy and hearty meal at the end of the day. If you don’t get home from work until late, no problem – your slow cooker will have helpfully prepared a nourishing dinner for you through the day.
Originally designed to help cooks observe the Sabbath while still preparing a meal for their family, the principle of slow cooking is very simple and each model works in much the same way. The idea is that you can throw some ingredients in the pot in the morning and return home to a delicious and nutritious meal hours later. However when buying your slow cooker the choice of models on the market can be bewildering so you have to decide when buying your slow cooker how you will use it.
The best slow cooker for complex recipes
Today the best slow cooker will offer clever digital controls with features such as timers which work with temperature controls. Essentially, the more dials and displays you see on the front of a cooker, the more control options you will have. If you want something a little more sophisticated than a turn it on and leave it stew cooker then you are likely to find these features helpful, however in many cases they go unused. For many people the simplicity of the slow cooking experience is what appeals, so consider if you really need these features before splashing out on a more expensive model.
The best slow cooker for busy families
If your priority is to get a large, filling meal on the table with a minimum of fuss, you need to look for something with a large capacity. Complicated controls may be redundant but a large pot is essential. Similarly you will probably be more interested in easy cleaning than complex cooking programmes.
On the other hand, if there are just two of you or even if you are cooking for one, slow cookers can still be useful but you will probably be better off with a more compact model – they take up less space and are designed to work well with a smaller quantity of ingredients.
To get the most out of any slow cooker you will need to experiment with different recipes and temperature settings. You don’t have to be restricted to basic stews and casseroles either – your slow cooker is great for curries, soups, cooking meat and even for desserts such as cakes, creme caramels or rice pudding, as the pot functions as an excellent water bath. Believe it or not it is excellent for making jam too.