Allotment, freezer and one other thing …

A slow cooker is a countertop electrical home appliance that is used to cook stews and other dishes containing water at relatively low temperatures, with correspondingly long cooking times (several hours). Many recipes simply call for the ingredients to be put in the cooker with little preparation. The slow cooker can then safely be left to run unattended, making it a convenient cooking method. So says Wikipedia, anyway.

What I say is that if you are a frugal person – you grow your own veg, you use your freezer to store your gluts, and you hate waste, then buy a slow cooker to finish the process! If you have an allotment, you can put dinner on in the morning and come home to a piping hot meal, all for the cost of leaving a light on. A casserole for six costs as much (or as little) to cook as a bowl of soup for one, so I make big batches and freeze the excess.

A couple of points:

1. Cooking on the low heat setting generally takes about twice the time of high heat, but for cheap cuts of meat or root veg, I allow at least three to four times.

2. If you have economy 7 type tariff electricity, you can cook overnight for literally pennies

3. When adapting ‘normal’ recipes, remember that because there is no evaporation during cooking, there may be excess liquid in your dish at the end of the cooking time. If so, drain it into in a small saucepan and simmer until it has reduced to an appropriate amount. It's important to add seasonings after this reduction takes place, since reducing the liquid will intensify the taste.

I use mine for soups, stews, chutneys (wonderful for these, as they can cook down for eight to ten hours and then just need a quick boil in the big saucepan to reduce any excess liquid, also it seems to speed up the maturation of a chutney to start it off in the slow cooker, so you can open the jar about a month before a standard chutney would be ready), chilli con carne, gammon (cook with apple juice or cider, wonderful!) … in fact there’s almost nothing that comes off the allotment that doesn’t end up in there, sometime or other.

Pot roast in slow cooker by basykes.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, January 10, 2008


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