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Summer Slow Cooker Recipes

Cool and convenient, the slow cooker is perfect for preparing warm-weather meals.

3 Slow Cooker Food Safety Tips

Food safety is a special concern in the summer, when warmer temperatures can speed bacteria growth. To make sure your slow cooker meal is safe, follow these three tips:

  1. Get It Hot. In order to avoid possible food poisoning, foods in your slow cooker need to reach 140 degrees quickly, notes Kay Lovett, MEd, an educator with the University of Minnesota Extension office. To ensure this happens, Lovett recommends beginning with thawed foods, as frozen or partially frozen food will take much longer to reach this temperature. If you want to heat up the crock contents right away, turn your slow cooker to HIGH for the first hour, then bring it down to LOW to finish the cooking.
  2. Store Leftovers Correctly. Remove leftover food from the slow cooker right after the meal and store in shallow containers in the refrigerator (to get the food to a cooler temperature, where bacteria is less likely to multiply).
  3. Keep a Lid on It. “Keep the lid on the pot,” says Lovett. “Each time you peek, you lose heat and lower the temperature of the food in the slow cooker.” Remove the lid only to check for doneness, stir, or add an ingredient toward the end of cooking.

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Reviewed on July 28, 2008

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