Looking for an easy way to cook a delicious and nutrient-packed meal? A slow cooker is a convenient cooking method that helps to save time and money- just toss the ingredients in and wait! By planning ahead now you can have a stress-free family dinner, even on busy nights. Make sure your slow cooked meals are safe for your family by following these food safety tips.
Slow cooker safety tips
- Begin with a clean work area, including a clean slow cooker, utensils, and work surfaces. Always wash your hands with soap and water before handling food.
- Make sure the slow cooker is plugged in and turned on. Slow cookers take a while to heat up.
- Keep perishable foods in the refrigerator until you are ready to add to them to the slow cooker.
- Prepare meat separately from other foods (vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy).
- Thaw meat in the refrigerator before putting it in the slow cooker. Cut the meat in pieces, like stew meat, instead of one large chunk of meat that takes longer to cook through.
- Do not over-stuff your slow cooker. Instead, fill half way to 2/3rds full to ensure all food is cooked through.
- Keep the lid on while cooking- avoid lifting to check on food until the end.
- Use a food thermometer to ensure food has reached the proper internal temperature and is safe to eat.
- The warm setting is meant to keep cooked food hot, not for cooking.
- Do not let food cool down in a slow cooker. Instead, place uneaten cooked food in shallow, sealed containers in the refrigerator. Do not reheat food in a slow cooker.
References: USDA Food Safety