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Posted by johnnydolittle (U11296587) on Saturday, 28th April 2012
This is a last blast on this MB (I think).
Advice please. I have never used a slow cooker but I have seen lots of posts about their uses.
So, do I buy one or not? I am retired and so not hard pressed to make a meal in the normal way.
However, apart from the time aspect are there any benefits for using a slow cooker?
Pros and cons would most helpful.
Posted by Alison Wright (U14267575) on Saturday, 28th April 2012
Personally, I can't think of any cons.
Pros for me are:- Cooking a really cheap cut of meat for many hours will produce & wonderfully tender & tasty result without having to heat the whole oven, so it's very cheap to run.
You can start it off in the morning, go out & safely leave it all day & come home to a cooked meal.
In the summer months, I often slow-cook a ham/bacon joint. That's better than a pan on the hob bubbling away in a hot kitchen.
Some pros & cons here ...........
Posted by NoFrillz (U14455049) on Saturday, 28th April 2012
No cons here either.
I've had one for donkey's years and wouldn't be without it.
Cheap running costs and the ability to make a one pot meal are pros, particularly if you are out for the day or say busy gardening - those times when you come in tired and bone weary it can be an absolute life saver, you don't even have to do your veg to go with.
We use ours to make large quantities and freeze half - also a boon sometimes, to have your own 'ready meal'
I'm such a fan that it was one of the first things I bought for our daughter when she left home.
Over and above all that they're not expensive to buy in the first place.
Posted by Alison Wright (U14267575) on Saturday, 28th April 2012
Things to consider are:-
Buy one with variable heat settings - rather than just an on & off switch.
Buy the biggest one you can afford. Even if you live alone, you can cook up a batch recipe & freeze in usable portions, also good when entertaining.
An oval one will easily cook a whole chicken or a largish joint better than a round one.
They make a lovely creamy rice pudding - no need for the oven, although you won't get the skin on top!!
Posted by Joanbunting (U14658764) on Saturday, 28th April 2012
Dug one out of the depths of DD's cupboards in the US and tried it out a couple of times.
It was good enough and impressed the "owner" enough to say she would use it in future but quite honestly I am just as happy with my oven on a low setting. Happy to say though that she used hers this weekend and was very pleased that I found it and got it into use,
PS She lives in a rented house, owned by the MOD, in Virginia which is really badly equipped. 3 pans, 1 frying pan and 6 place settings of china and cutlery. If she has a dinner party she has to borrow! You should see how the other NATO nations live - utter luxury!!!!
Posted by kari49 (U12195831) on Saturday, 28th April 2012
i dont use mine half as much as i should, it is currently sat on top of the fridge freezer, i got it half price in a sale at argos, really it is too big for what me and mum use it for but as in family use would be invaluable!karen
Posted by meto (U14090385) on Saturday, 28th April 2012
I haven't got one as I don't really have enough space I know I won't use much (given I don't eat meat). However, a couple of things, those those mentioned above, is that it's good to get one with a timer switch, preferably with On and and Off settings in case you get delayed or simply forget about it. Not all of the cheaper ones come with a removable inner bowl, which makes it easier to wash up or even cover and store in the fridge for a day or two.
On capacity, slow cookers are not supposed to be filled more than half to three-quarters full, so although it might accurately say it's 3Ltrs or whatever, it isn't really in usage.
I like that liquid doesn't disappear as steam or vapour, so don't need to worry about a pan on the hob "boiling dry" and having to keep checking it and topping up the liquid - indeed it's better if the lid is kept in place on a slow cooker without keep lifting it off to see how it's doing.
It really depends on the sort of things you cook. It would annoy me if I made something at breakfast for tea that day and it wasn't cooked, as timings seem to vary from 7-10 hours which is a big difference when you're hungry. Can get round that by cooking the day before and reheating as needed either from fridge or freezer. Clearly it'll be easier to gauge timings once you've give it a few goes.
There seems little doubt (various websites) that they use less electricity than a normal oven, so given that they don't cost a huge amount, if I ate meat I'd definitely buy one. Some people say food seems to taste funny, others say it doesn't, but as I have no direct experience I can't offer a comment on that.
Posted by johnnydolittle (U11296587) on Sunday, 29th April 2012
Many thanks to all for the feedback with good sound advice. I think that I will put it to good use and shop around to check features mentioned, and of course prices.
Thanks again and 'see' you all again on Sakkarins MB.
Posted by Pampy (U1022836) on Sunday, 29th April 2012
They're really good for making stock (means you don't have to "hover" over a pan on the hob for a couple of hours). Also good for making soup. I wouldn't be without mine.
Posted by Mamta (U2174216) on Sunday, 29th April 2012
If you are happy with the way you cook, then you don't need to have another gadget which you may or may not use, which may clutter up your kitchen.
After saying that, SC do cook things like carries/casseroles, whole joints/chickens nicely. Jacket potatoes cooked in them are just great for example. My view is that if you have managed without them until now, why clutter up your kitchen space.
I am saying this because I do this often, get carried away, mostly to regret later on. I bought a Andrew James Juicer because I had heard so much about it; www.amazon.co.uk/And... .It is quite large and takes a lot of space to store. I have not used it after the first week or two. It is just occupying space until I can sell it off or find someone who needs it!
Posted by Joanbunting (U14658764) on Sunday, 29th April 2012
So right Mamta!
"If you are happy with the way you cook, then you don't need to have another gadget which you may or may not use, which may clutter up your kitchen."
I wouldn't be bothered with a slow cooker but for DD it has provided a much welcomed alternative - the thing is she didn;t even know what it was! She didn't even have the use of a casserole
For me slow cooking means sealing something into a casserole or a daube pot and letting it simmer for hours - as my gran would have said "Same meat different gravy!"
Posted by meto (U14090385) on Sunday, 29th April 2012
If I had one, it would open doors like making French onion soup where onions are caramelised "forever" and using dried beans and lentils which are much cheaper than tinned. As johnnydolittle says he would use one and given he's read up on them already, I was wondering if someone who uses one could recommend a good book that he could perhaps look for and preferably at whilst out shopping to buy a slow cooker.
I've almost talked myself into getting one as some days when I don't feel like cooking (read washing up the pans) it'd be nice to chuck stuff in and have a nice food smell to perk up the appetite at eating time.
An advantage also is that having joined Sakkarin's board johnnydolittle will find lots of help if he needs some
Posted by ArtemisH (U14261033) on Sunday, 29th April 2012
I have never used a slow cooker but I have seen lots of posts about their uses....
I have never used one either, johnnydolittle, but if you're still interested, here are the ones recommended by Which:
Breville - 4 in 1 multicooker VTP053
Morphy Richards 48724
Morphy Richards Intellichef 48810
The choice is yours!