When asked about the benefits of a slow cooker I would answer:
Being able to prepare minimum-effort meals for maximum flavour. Slow cookers produce delicious meals in a simple and convenient way. They free up your time and enable you to relax knowing a good meal is being cooked while you are doing something else.
Let me cover what I think the key benefits to cooking with a slow cooker are:
1) Tasty food
Slow cookers have lots of benefits but the number one for me has to be the taste of the food. Slow cookers do produce delicious dishes with great flavours. The slow cooking process allows the food to gently cook which helps flavours intensify. When cooking meat it becomes beautifully tender. Sauces are rich and flavoursome. Spices, herbs and vegetables mellow and bring their distinct flavours to a slow cooked dish. This is what I ultimately love about slow cooking.
Great tasting food without lots of preparation. My favourite slow cooker recipes are ones that you just need to throw all the ingredients into the pot, set and leave. Particularly if you are cooking soups or stews where the ingredients can be simply chopped and added. No need for searing, softening or marinading. Meat can be browned before adding if you wish but not is not essential.
3) Money saving
Slow cookers are great for cooking cheap cuts of meat. Chicken thighs, lamb shoulder, pork shoulder or beef brisket cook perfectly. I also find the rich flavours of the meat are really extracted therefore requiring less meat in the recipe as the flavour permeates the whole dish. I like to bulk up a dish with more vegetables like carrots or potatoes.
4) Getting organised
One of biggest benefits of slow cooking is how it helps you feel organised. To leave the house in the morning knowing that the evening’s dinner is already cooking and will be ready for us when we return is a comforting feeling. If I haven’t got much time in the morning I prepare everything for my slow-cooked meal the night before. I then put it into the slow-cooker pot, cover and store in my fridge overnight. Then all it takes is for me to get it out of the fridge first thing in the morning. After having a shower, got dressed and had my breakfast the pot is close to room temperature and ready for me to put it in the slow cooker, switch on and leave.
Slow cooking generally involves mainly fresh ingredients, cooked at low temperature for a long period of time. Consequently nutrition-rich, natural juices from vegetables and meats are retained.
Did you also know that to slow cook meat in liquid at a low heat helps reduce cell-damaging compounds AGEs (advanced glycation end products). These compounds are typically found in charred (BBQ) or grilled meats and have been linked with inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
6) Easy to clear-up
I try to use recipes that do not require lots of different pans to prep a slow cooked meal. I can’t see the point in dirtying frying pans or mixing bowls when really most recipes will turn-out fine if all the ingredients are chucked into the pot together. This means there is very little washing-up and if you are lucky enough to have a slow cooker that will go in the dishwasher you could find that slow cooking saves you time here too.
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