Slow cooking has been around as long as people have been cooking food. Before the invention of cooking tools, like pots, people would wrap meat and fish in leaves and cook them in fire pits.
Slow cooking softens the fibers of tough meats, root crops and dried beans, making them more tender to eat and more digestible. There are still parts of the world today that use this method of slow cooking out of necessity and there are people that use variations of it by choice to enhance the cooking experience and flavor of the food.
With the introduction of pottery and iron pots as cooking tools, slow cooking in pots started with the pots holding simmering food being hung over open fires and left to cook overnight. Rival Industries introduced the first manufactured slow cooker in 1971 called the Crock Pot, a term that is still trademarked today by Rival but frequently used as a generic name for slow cooker by pretty much everyone.
Slow cookers are very popular. Several surveys by manufacturers and magazines over the years puts slow cookers in an estimated 80% of American homes. They are convenient, easy to use, and most importantly, safe. The US Department of Agriculture approves slow cooking as a method of safe food preparation because the direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking and steam created within the tightly-covered container combine to destroy bacteria.
Slow cookers are counter top appliances, so they don't take up much room. They are energy efficient, using about as much electricity as a 60-watt light bulb, while they slow cook the contents of the pot at a low temperature between 170º and 280º F.
Tips for the most efficient cooking in your slow cooker are:
- Make sure it's at least one-half full, but not more than two-thirds full.
- Add desired amount of liquid
- Keep the lid in place.
Popular Slow Cooker Brands
Hamilton Beach Slow Cookers
Hamilton Beach is one of the country's leading distributors of small kitchen appliances. They pride themselves on their product quality, wide variety of options, superior customer service and brand name strength. They are also committed to helping make our days a little easier.
Bestsellers of Hamilton Beach Slow Cookers
Hamilton Beach 33967 Set 'n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker: Family Size 6 quart oval Programmable slow cooker with flat panel digital read-out and stainless steel base for easy storage and clean-up, plus separate temperature probe for large cuts of meat.
Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Slow Cooker: Comes equipped with an "on" indicator light and a user-friendly control dial for choosing low or high heat settings; for selecting the keep-warm mode, which maintains an ideal serving temperature without over-cooking; and for switching the unit off.
Cuisinart Slow Cookers
Cuisinart is not limited to just food processors. Plugged or unplugged, nobody covers the kitchen like Cuisinart. The company prides itself as a full-service culinary resource with a wide array of products, preferred by chefs and favored by consumers.
Bestsellers of Cuisinart Slow Cookers
Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker: Slow cooking is an art form and the Cuisinart Programmable 3.5 Quart Slow Cooker perfects it using a precise, convenient 24 hour LCD countdown timer and four cooking modes including a Warm function when the time elapses.
Cuisinart PSC-400 Stainless-Steel 4-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker: Programmable technology makes homemade meals easier than ever! This Cuisinart Slower Cooker features 24 hour programmable countdown timer, three cooking modes- and it automatically shifts to Warm when it's done cooking!
Crock-Pot® Slow Cookers
Crock-Pot® is the original slow cooker and introduced a new category of appliances in January 1971 that revolutionized the way Americans cooked for their families. A Crock-Pot® slow cooker combines old time principles to produce exceptional flavor, nutrition and economy cooking.
Bestsellers of Crock-Pot®Slow Cookers
Crock-Pot SCR300SS 3-Quart Round Manual Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel: No matter the recipe or the occasion, your Crock-Pot Slow Cooker keeps the temperature steady so your food is cooked to perfection, full of flavor and delicious.
Crock-Pot SCVT650-PS 6-1/2-Quart Programmable Touch Screen Slow Cooker, Stainless: The ultimate in slow cooker convenience and style. This slow cooker’s modern design is evident with the new eLume touch screen user interface, polished stainless steal exterior and stylish metal handles with a silicone wrap.
Slow Cooker Recalls
August 31, 2010
Description: This recall involves the Bella Kitchen 5-quart programmable slow cookers. Only slow cookers with model number WJ-5000DE and date codes 0907 or 0909 are included in this recall. The slow cookers are black and "Bella Kitchen" is marked on the control panel. The model number and the four-digit date code are printed on a label on the underside.
July 29, 2005
Description: The recall includes Rival® Crock-Pot® slow cookers with model numbers 3040, 3735, 5025, 5070 and 5445. The model number is printed on the UL label located on the bottom of the base. The recalled Rival® slow cooker has a removable ceramic bowl that sits inside of a metal base. The Rival® logo is printed on the front of the unit above the control knob. The bases are round or oval shaped and were sold in various colors and designs. A date code is stamped on the side of one prong of the power plug. The first two digits represent the week of manufacture and the last two digits represent the year of manufacture. Any plug with a date code from 0199 (1st week of 1999) to 3504 (35th week of 2004) is included in this recall or the previous recall.
January 13, 2005
Release # 05-085
Description: The recalled slow cookers include the 4.5-Quart Oval and 6-Quart Double Dish models sold under the General Electric (GE) brand name. The model name is printed on the front of the units. The 4.5-quart unit has model number 106661 and the 6-quart unit has model number 106851. Both models have series codes A through D, which are printed on the bottom along with the model number. The base of the slow cookers is white with an olive or honeysuckle graphic.
Originally issued August 5, 2004, Revised April 18, 2006
Description: The recalled Corningware 4 Quart Slow Cooker (QVC item number K2585) has a removable white ceramic bowl with a glass lid and a plastic storage lid. The enclosure that surrounds the ceramic bowl is made of plastic. "CorningWare" is printed on the front of the unit underneath the digital display and control buttons. The model number, SC-40PL, is located on a silver label on the bottom of the base.
Originally issued June 15, 2004, Revised February 10, 2005
Release # 04-159
Description: The recalled General Electric (GE) Cool Touch 6 Quart Slow Cooker has a removable blue ceramic bowl with a glass lid. The enclosure that surrounds the ceramic bowl is made of plastic. The GE logo is located on the front of the unit underneath the temperature control knob. The model number 168945 is located on a silver label on the bottom of the base.
July 17, 2003
Description: The recalled slow cookers were sold under the Hamilton Beach and Proctor-Silex brand names, which are printed on the front of the base of the unit. The slow cookers are either round or oval, and were sold in solid white and various print designs. They have a capacity of 3.5 to 6.5 quarts. The slow cookers have series codes A through D which are printed on the bottom along with the model number.
RTalloni on March 03, 2011:
Useful--I own several sizes--but I need to learn to use a larger variety of foods with them.
Markrules from USA,P.A, Newport on February 17, 2011:
slow cookers are so useful, thanks for the info