Is Your Slow Cooker Really Boiling Your Food? - Popa's Kitchen Blog at - 240882

Popa's Kitchen

Is your slow cooker really boiling your food? 
Jun. 22, 2011 4:51 pm 
Updated: Jun. 24, 2011 4:28 am

Often I read on “thebuzz” that someone says, “My slow cooker boils.” Well it may seem so but I’m sure it’s just simmering (a point just below boiling). So I have decided to do a little research that may help anyone interested.

First let me say that Crock Pot® is a brand name of a slow cooker. There are many other brands of slow cookers that are available. My information is based on Crock Pot® because the slow cookers I use are Crock Pot®. Keep in mind that this is for oval type slow cookers that the "crock" pot is removal from the heating element.

According to the Crock Pot® web site;fgid=44< "both High and Low stabilize at the same temperature, it is just a matter of how long it takes to reach the simmer point. Once food reaches the simmer point, total cook time is dependent on cut and weight of meat to reach the point of maximum flavor and texture potential."

Ok, so what does this mean? If you start out on high it will reach the simmering point quicker. If you start out on low it will take longer to reach the simmering point. "Typical cook time for slow cookers to reach simmer point (209°F): Low: 7-8 to reach the simmer point High: 3-4 hours to reach the simmer point." And most of us thought High and Low were two different temps.

How do you know what the simmering point is on you slow cooker? Just do a simple water test. Place 4 quarts of room temperature water in your slow cooker cover it (don’t open the lid) and cook on high or low for six hours. After six hours check the water temperature, ideally the water temperature should read between 195 degrees and 209 degrees. Sometimes the settings vary so you may want check both the high and low settings. Wow, that could be a 12 hour chore. I personally would check the setting that you use most.

I sincerely hope this helps some of you. Maybe even some of you will get that slow cooker back out and put it to good use. I use mine a lot in the summer to keep the kitchen cool along with the usual soups and stews in the winter.
Jun. 22, 2011 5:08 pm
Thank you. That's very interesting. I Am a recent convert to using a crock pot so I haven't had that "it's not like it used to be" experience with them.
Jun. 22, 2011 5:13 pm
Good blog - and timely too. I have both Crock Pot brand and Hamilton Beach. I do know that for food safety standards the newer slow cookers are hotter. Also not all slow cooker's High and Low cook at the same temp. Sounds like time for another experiment. :)
Jun. 22, 2011 6:17 pm
Great Blog bd-weld! I'm going to check my slow cooker's temperature. I did not know that the cooking temperature was the same and that high and low just meant "time." Thanks for the good info.
Jun. 22, 2011 6:23 pm
I know mine crockpot SIMMERS HOT it will boil the food (full crockpot of Spaghetti sauce) on low in about 4-5 hours..1 inch from top it will be in a full boiling splattering the top and thicking/burning at the bottom if not watched..
Jun. 22, 2011 8:06 pm
Do not overfill stoneware. To prevent spillover, do not fill stoneware higher than ¾ full.
Jun. 22, 2011 8:09 pm
Keep in mind that this is for oval type slow cookers that the "crock" pot is removal from the heating element.
Jun. 22, 2011 8:56 pm
Ahhh - here is a mistake a lot of people make - they have one crock pot - maybe 6 quart and try to cook everything in it. A skow cook should be filled to 3/4 full.
Jun. 22, 2011 9:03 pm
Thanks for the info. I guess I never really thought about it. I do know that the quality of the Slow Cooker makes a big difference. Originally, I owned an authentic Crock Pot and never had a problem with scorching the bottom of the pot after a long cooking period. I lost it in a move and replaced it with a cheaper brand and now I really have to be careful to avoid scorching. On a side note..I discovered to never add Parsnips to a slow cooker stew...that's all you can taste.
Jun. 23, 2011 5:21 am
good info!
Jun. 23, 2011 6:28 am
thanks for the info, I use my crock pot more in the winter, it helps to heat up my kitchen and we eat more soups, stews and chilis in the winter. I do love making chicken broth in mine and since I am a huge multi-tasker (not really, just many things going at one time, maybe I am just unorganized) I love to set the crock pot to cook and move onto other things
Jun. 24, 2011 4:28 am
Interesting test! Will have to give that a try as I have 3 and they are different brands/sizes. Crock pots are wonderful tools and your research hopefully will help save a lot of meals!
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Graduated from the Culinary Institute of Burn and Learn. If DW and I were to take our daughter, son-in-law and our grand children out to dinner we would have to ask, "table for 10". Therefore, cooking at home has a high priority.
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