What to Look For When Buying a Crock Pot
The first step in becoming a crock pot "chef" is buying a crock pot of course! Buying a crock pot can be a bit overwhelming due to the vast number of models and types available. Homestyle-Recipes is trying to make this selection process easier and certainly more enjoyable for you.
The number one thing when making any new purshace is to become an educated consumer. Read up as much as you can on the product before you buy it! For example, when buying a new car we shop around for the best deal. Well this should be no different when you're buying a crock pot.
Now reading up on crock pots seems like a simple concept but as you know, this is more difficult than it appears. By using the information Homestyle-Recipes has put together for you, buying a crock pot will be much easier and definitely a lot more fun! Well I guess there's nothing left but to get to it!
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This is probably the most important decision you'll have to make. It's good to think about how many people are usually eating dinner with you. It's also good to think about whether you would like to have leftovers or not. Lastly, think about the kind of meals you like to cook in your crock pot. Remember that larger cuts of meat such roasts and whole chickens will take up more space than a soup or stew.
Finally, for most families, buying a crock pot that is between 4 - 5 quarts is plenty and can accomodate larger meals as well. These questions are all important to ask when buying a crock pot so that you get the perfect size. Here is a chart we have compiled to help you out:
Singles: 1 - 1.5 quart
Couples: 2 - 3 quart
Family of 3-4: 3 - 4.5 quart
Family of 4-5: 4.5 - 5 quart
Family of 6+: 6 quart
Removeable Liner: AKA "Crock"
Choosing a crock pot with a removeable liner is crucial for easy clean up. After a few hours of cooking, it's important to have this option as any baked-in foods can be removed with ease. In addition, a removeable crock makes refrigeration much easier. For example, you can either prepare your crock pot recipes the night before and place in the fridge or you can place leftovers directly into the fridge after cooking.
Look for a crock with a round edge as this is much easier to clean than some intricate rims. Lastly, look for a crock that is substantial in weight; the heavier the better!
Newer crock pots offer three basic shapes. The most common and the most practical are the oval and round shapes. These are excellent for cooking larger cuts of meat as they fit the crock pot perfectly. Another shape available is rectangular. You really can't go wrong with any shape as all of these will be fine. I personally have a round crock pot and it is amazing.
When buying a crock pot, the right lid is very important. We suggest getting a crock pot with a glass lid. This is important so there is no temptation to peak on the food you're cooking. As you know, lifting the lid can set your cooking time back as much as 30 minutes.
In addition to this, your glass lid should be a dome shape to allow room for a large cut of meat. A one-piece lid is also important for withstanding natural wear and tear. In the long run, a one-piece lid will last you longer. Finally, make sure the inner lip of the lid fits snuggly inside the crock pot. This ensures no steam can escape so your food stays nice and moist.
The cooking unit is the outer portion of your crock pot. You can find cooking units that come in a variety of colors, patterns and even steal. Select the most appropriate design/color for your kitchen. Take note on how sturdy the cooking unit is because this will also ensure longevity of your crock pot.
On the front you will find heat settings. Your standard crock pot will have a LOW or HIGH setting, which is all you need. Newer models have what is called a "keep warm" setting. This really isn't necessary as the heat from hours of cooking can maintain the food temperature for a sinificant period of time, as long as the lid stays on.
New vs Used
Looking for a good deal is always great, but a basic crock pot with everything you need is quite inexpensive. We would suggest staying away from used crock pots unless you know the person who had it last. The last thing you want is a crock pot that wont be able to cook your delicious crock pot recipes!
We hope this information was helpful and that it has made your decision as to what type of crock pot you would like a little easier.