The Reason Food Doesn't Spoil In A Slow Cooker

We love a good slow-cooker recipe! Coming home to find dinner ready to go, or waking up to a lovely breakfast is an amazing gift, especially considering the slow cooker is not a power hog that runs up your electric bill or heats up your kitchen. But, is it safe to eat food that's been simmering for 8 hours? Yes, it absolutely is. Slow cookers are designed to heat up to between 170 and 280 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the maker. Bacteria grows best in the range of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so the food in your slow cooker spends its time at a safe temperature.

Food kept between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit can cultivate hazardous bacteria quickly enough to make you sick, which is why it's essential for your slow cooker to maintain a high enough temperature. Keeping the lid closed so that the heat stays in the correct range is important not just for cooking time, but also for the safety margin. The cooker loses warmth each time you open the pot!

How to be sure your food stays safe

We have a few safety tips to ensure your food always maintains the proper temperature in your slow cooker. First, don't load the cooker with frozen food. The slow cooker's low heat might not be enough to bring extremely cold foods above 140 degrees Fahrenheit quickly enough to prevent bacterial growth. Instead, either thaw the frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or warm them in the microwave or on the stove beforehand. Next, use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature of your food if you have any doubts. Most stews and soups should reach a minimum temperature of 165 degrees before serving to be safe. And lastly, remember to refrigerate your leftovers promptly.

Your slow cooker was designed to operate safely. As long as you use it properly, you can enjoy the benefits of "set it and forget it" recipes without any reason to worry!