If you know HellaWella, you know we love slow cookers. They’re a super easy, relaxing way to create a warm, filling home-cooked meal.
What you may not know is there just like any other cooking method, you can make yourself sick using a slow cooker. To prevent a night on your porcelain throne, follow these 10 tips from HomeFoodSafety.org.
Make sure your space is clean. This includes the slow cooker, utensils and your own hands.
Store your perishable foods in the refrigerator until you’re absolutely ready to add it to your slow cooker. Bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature.
Prep meat and vegetables separately.
Defrost meat or poultry before putting it in the slow cooker to make sure it cooks all the way through.
Make sure your slow cooker reaches a bacteria-killing temperature. To do this, start on the highest setting for the first hour and then switch it to low for longer cooking. It is safe to cook foods on low the whole time (if you’re leaving the house), but you still must ensure your food reaches the proper internal temperature.
Don’t overfill the slow cooker. It should be half to two-thirds full.
Cut up the meat into smaller pieces. Large pieces may take too long to cook all the way through.
Keep the lid on to retain heat. Remove only to stir or check to see if it’s done.
Use a food thermometer to ensure you reach a safe temperature.
Keep your leftovers in shallow containers and refrigerate within two hours.