There is a large variety of slow cookers on the market both online and in the store. The first popular one was just called the crockpot. That referred to the highest selling brand name at the time. In this article a crockpot refers to the appliance and Crockpot will refer to the brand. As other manufacturers added a version of this type of cooking appliance to their product lines these became generically known as slow cookers.
Slow cookers can be found in the product lines of the following top selling brands: Cuisinart, Rival, Hamilton Beach and Crockpot. There are other manufacturers that also produce this product. Each brand and model seems to have special features that add flavor and convenience to this very popular kitchen appliance.
This small kitchen appliance is very versatile. Besides being used at home it is a great addition to any recreational vehicle that has an electric hookup. It is also great for making a meal, cooking it and then transporting it to a family gathering in another location.
The crockpot or slow cooker comes in many different sizes. The size is usually measured in quarts. There are slow cookers small enough for a single person or couple to those large enough for large families or cooking large portions of food to later be frozen. They can range from one and a half quart to 7 quarts with the average being in the 4 to 6 quart size.
There are a variety of different options to consider when purchasing this versatile kitchen appliance. Some are digital with touch screen controls. The newer ones can be programmed to come on at a certain time or to keep on “warm” when cooking is completed. If a recipe calls for a change of temperature after the first couple hours of cooking it’s nice to have a cooker that will automatically change the settings. If you have a manual slow cooker you will need to change this yourself. When preparing your meals you may want to sear the meat first. Some cookers have features that make it easy to sear the meat right in the appliance itself instead of in another pan and then transferring it into the crockpot.
When making one pot dinners you often just want to put the slow cooker itself on the table serve from. That makes it not only easy to reach but it can also be an attractive piece of cookware on the table. They can be found in red, green, white, black, and the very popular stainless steel.
Not only are these appliance great for one pot meals but the small ones are also great for keeping dips warm until the very end of the party. Another neat trick that large families use for holiday meals is to make mashed potatoes ahead of time (even the day before) and then put them in the crock pot and they will stay hot for the whole meal, especially those yummy second helpings!