Why You Should Always Add Vegetables To A Slow Cooker Before Meat

Slow cookers, or crock-pots as they are colloquially known, are the devices that make life so much easier for anyone who's looking to make a home-cooked meal while also doing a myriad of other tasks during the day. Remember on The Jetson's how Rosey the robot would prepare meals for Jane Jetson and their family? Well, a slow cooker is almost as close to that as we've gotten with our kitchen tech, and it's a huge help. While slow cookers were originally intended for soups and stews, according to NPR, today you can do so much more with them. These unexpected crock-pot recipes with options for slow cooker omelettes, French toast, and loaded baked potatoes, might surprise you!

While slow cookers do make food prep easy, there is a bit more to them than just tossing all of your ingredients in and turning them on, especially with more complicated recipes. While you may already know what a big no-no it is to open the lid of your slow cooker during the cooking process, there are a few other safety tips you can put into practice so that your next slow cooker meal turns out perfectly.

Veggies first, please!

The USDA notes that vegetables take longer to cook in a crock-pot than meat does, so they suggest adding your veggies to the pot first. This is useful if you're worried about about dense vegetables like potatoes or carrots not coming out as tender as the meat in your recipe. Food Network also suggests giving your veggies a light sauté in a pan before adding them to the slow cooker. Browning the veg just slightly will soften them a bit and boost the flavor of the dish.  

It should be noted that not all slow cooker recipes are created equal. You'll want to read your recipes carefully so you know when to put each ingredient in and for how long they cook. This rump roast crock pot recipe calls for the meat to go into the crock pot raw with raw veggies, while this slow cooker barbecue brisket recipe calls for searing the meat before putting it into the slow cooker. 

Some recipes also take longer than others so you'll want to follow instructions carefully, and never use frozen ingredients in a crock-pot recipe, (per USDA). And don't forget to keep that lid on tight until your recipe is done cooking. When you employ these techniques, you'll be sure to master a slow-cooker recipe that Rosey the robot would be proud of.