Thursday, November 8, 2012

Time to Buy a Slow Cooker

I have 4 crock-pots and 2 of them are used for food. The other 2 are used for wax.  I have a 7 quart and a 3 quart crock-pot. Really the crock-pot  is probably my favorite kitchen appliance. I use it once a week - if not more at times.  If you want to know why, please check out my post 6 Reasons to Use a Crock-pot.
This the 7 quart that I have, but with cherries on it instead of veggies

Some questions you might be asking before buying a crock-pot.....

What is the difference between crock-pot and slow cooker? 

Crock-Pot is actually a name brand by Rival and slow cooker is just other brands version of a crock-pot.  But crock-pot has become the word we use often when referring to a slow-cooker. Just like when people say they need a kleenex instead of a tissue. Kleenex is the brand name, but it means the same thing as tissue now.

What features?

Really I base my criteria for features on 3 things: the crock, the settings and the size. But there are many more features available so make sure you check some the other features a crock-pot might bring to your kitchen.

The Crock -  A removable crock is a must! The 3-quart crock-pot I have isn't a removable crock - because it is so old.  But my 7-quart has a removable crock.  After using it the first time, I was hooked on removable crock.  I love that I can actually take that out and put in the sink, get it wet or even put it in the dishwasher.

Settings - Next get one with high or low settings on it. If it has a warm setting,  it can be a feature you might use, but having at least 2 settings of high and low is a must.  More pricey slow cookers often come with programmable settings.  The main reason I can see wanting a slow cooker with this feature would be maybe you think you are going to be gone longer then the 6 to 8 hours the recipe calls for cooking, well then you can have it programmed to go move to the warm setting after 6 to 8 hours and sit there until you come home.   I don't recommend setting it up in the morning and to want it to turn on hours later. You don't want your food coming to room temperature for food safety issues.
 Round 3 quart

Oval 7 quart
Size -  I really love having both a 3 quart and a 7 quart crock-pot, but space to store them might be an issue.  If you are family of 4 or more, I really think just going for the larger size is best.  If it is just the 2 of you, I would even say go for the larger one.  Leftovers or being able to freeze the meals to use later is always a great time saver.

What price to expect?

Really most slow-cookers with removable crock and high, low and warm setting will range from $15 to $50 depending on size or the more features it has on it - such as being programmable, having a locking lid making it transportable, or has a removable crock that can be used on the stove top or oven. Some of those kind of features can raise the price from $50 to $100 range.

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