Sunday, March 9, 2014

How Your Slow Cooker Can Save You Money

If you haven’t yet discovered the joys of using a slow cooker, you should really consider investing in one, particularly if you are short on money, time, or both – and these days, who isn’t? You can toss a few ingredients and seasonings into the pot in the morning, turn your cooker on a low setting, go to work, and come home to the enticing aroma of a hot, delicious, ready-cooked meal. Or if you work at home, you can go about your other business without fretting over what you’re going to do for dinner (although the tantalising cooking smells might drive you to distraction). And did we mention that slow cookers are a boon to cooks on a budget? They can help you save not only on your grocery bill but also on energy costs.


Then and now

Slow cookers first became a “thing” back in the 1970s when more women went to work outside the home and simply didn’t have hours to spend slaving over the proverbial hot stove to prepare the family’s evening meal. In 1971 the Rival Company bought out a small firm, Naxon, creator of an all-purpose electric cooker. Rival reintroduced the cooker under the Crock-Pot name, and the product took off. Three years later the company introduced removable stoneware inserts, making the device easier to clean. Women discovered that they could start the evening meal in the Crock-Pot (or other branded slow cooker – other companies soon followed Rival’s suit), and when they came home they could have a home-cooked meal on the table in no time. Responding to the growing demand, a wave of “crockery cookery” cookbooks hit the bookstore shelves, and a new era was born.


Over the past few years slow cookers have enjoyed quite a comeback in the UK, spurred in large part by the economic downturn, as well as by the fact that busy working families have even less time to spend in the kitchen preparing meals than they did forty-plus years ago. Seventy-five percent of Britons polled in a 2009 survey said they had dusted off their old slow cookers or had purchased new ones. That’s somewhat noteworthy considering that cooking trends these days are very often influenced by celebrity chef endorsements, and as a whole, those TV cooks seem to snub slow cookers.

Notwithstanding the snubs, on Amazon.co.uk, sales of the cookers are reported to be up by 55 per cent over the past couple of years. And the trend shows no sign of abating.


How a slow cooker can make life better

For the benefit of those who are new to the whole slow-cooking thing, slow cookers are self-contained electric cooking pots that can simmer meals at a low heat for as long as 10 hours. Modern models generally consist of a removable ceramic “crock,” a glass lid, and a heater housing with controls. They come in various sizes and price ranges. You can get a good one for about £20 (take a look here to get an idea of what is available). Payday Loans could offer the finances you need to allow you to purchase the model you prefer, allowing you to make savings in the kitchen for years to come.


Slow cookers offer several advantages:

1. They allow unattended cooking. As the name “slow cooker” implies, these devices are designed to cook foods such as stews or curries very slowly, generally for a minimum of six hours. However, on lower settings cooking can take as long as 10 hours. This makes the slow cooker ideal for those who want to make a delicious meal but simply don’t have time to stand over a stove for hours.

2. They are energy efficient. Slow cookers use very little power. You might think that running a device for six or eight or 10 hours would use more energy than running your electric oven for a mere hour or two. But that’s not the case. The slow cooker uses just a little more energy than a light bulb, according to the price comparison site, uSwitch. As for that conventional oven, the Centre for Sustainable Energy (www.cse.org.uk) has estimated the average electricity usage of an electric oven to be between 2-2.2kWh, while a slow cooker uses approximately 0.7kWh over eight hours. And while a microwave oven is actually the most energy-efficient way to cook food, not everything is microwaveable, particularly tough cuts of meat – or stews and many different types of curries and sauces that need to be simmered slowly to reach a state of perfection.

3. They’re a boon for cooks on a budget. So you can’t afford a prime rib roast or filet mignon? No worries. With the right seasonings and sufficient cooking time, your slow cooker can turn even the cheapest or toughest cut of meat, and the most basic and boring vegetables, into something savory, tender, and altogether lovely. As indicated above, slow cookers are perfect for making stews.

4. You’ll never run out of recipes and ideas. There are many thousands of recipes available for slow cookers; they’re all over the Internet and can also be found in magazines, newspapers, and, of course, slow-cooker cookbooks. If you’re not keen on doing recipes from scratch, the food manufacturers have your back. In the past decade or so they have come out with a dizzying array of “easy meal” kits and simmer sauces specifically for slow cookers.

So never mind what those snooty celebrity chefs say; let them turn up their noses. The reality is that many thousands of people have discovered that a slow cooker really can be their best friend in the kitchen.

10 comments:

Christina said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My mom cooked often with a slow cooker in the 80's when I was a kid and now I have...not one...but three of them! They are a great time saver that still makes really tasty food!

Deanna Watson said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

My mother has started using a slow cooker. I love to go to her house for dinner now!

VickeC said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I use my slow cooker all the time ,an love it

Robbi Hess said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I really love my slow cooker... mainly because I don't enjoy cooking and watching pots and pans and when I use the slow cooker my family thinks I have been cooking all day!

nici said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love my slow cooker. It is so easy! I didn't know how much energy it saved. That is awesome too!

doctordiva said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I use a pressure cooker more often now than my slow cooker. You can make really horrific cuts of meat turn into tender stuff in a nice big pressure cooker. For example, a corned beef in 1.5 hours instead of 6 hours on the stove. I prefer it in the pressure cooker than in the slow cooker. Dried beans? 20 minutes--from dry. BUT as a working Mom, my slow cooker has saved me. Homemade minestrone soup, barbecue pulled pork or beef, pot roast, soups in general. I throw things together at night, put it in the 'fridge overnight, yank it out in the morning and put it in the slow cooker for 10 hours (long days as a doctor) and VOILA. Dinner!

Karo said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I really love using a slow cooker for so many reasons. I really love using it in the summer months when there is so much work going on outside. All I have to do it put whatever we want in it in the morning and when we come in at night supper is ready. Great time and money saver since you can use cheaper cuts of meats.

Tracie Trump said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love my slow cooker and use it year round. My favorite thing is make ahead freezer crock pot meals.

Linda Meyers-Gabbard said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I use mine all the time. So many morr choice than in my moms time. Love the slow cooker.I get rerecipes daily for slow cooker.

LauraJJ said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh I too LOVE my slow cooker! I really do need to use it more often! I love that I can make it early....get the kitchen all cleaned up and dishwasher ready...so after dinner its a quick clean up too so I can relax too!

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