Warm up with a Safely Slow-Cooked Meal
Warm up this fall with slow-cooked comfort food! Using a crockpot is an easy and safe way to prep your favorite seasonal meals. Be sure to follow these helpful tips to practice slow-cooker food safety:
- Begin your recipe with a clean crockpot, clean utensils, and a clean work area. Handwashing is an important part of preventing foodborne illnesses. Wash your hands before, during, and after food preparation.
- The slow cooker may take a while to reach a safe, bacteria-killing temperature. Keep perishable foods refrigerated until preparation time. Constant refrigeration assures that bacteria won’t get a “head start” during the first few hours of cooking.
- Always completely thaw meat or poultry before adding it to the slow cooker. If using a commercially frozen slow cooker meal, prepare according to the instructions.
- Do not overfill the slow cooker. This can result in the food not being evenly cooked. Slow cookers work best when halfway to three-quarters full.
- Be sure to keep the lid in place, removing it only to stir the food or to check for doneness.
- Reheating leftovers in a slow cooker is not recommended. Cooked food should be reheated on the stove, in a microwave, or in a conventional oven until it reaches 165 °F.