Do Slow Cookers Kill Bacteria? Surprising Facts You Never Knew

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do slow cookers kill bacteria

Food safety is a priority, so many people wonder – do slow cookers kill bacteria?

We all know that raw meat contains bacteria. Thus, it is important to use the right tools and techniques to eliminate them. Otherwise, you are exposing yourself to great health risks.

Cooking meat at a certain temperature can help kill germs and bacteria in it. But in the case of slow cookers, do these really work? Or are they ineffective when it comes to getting rid of these harmful elements?

Let’s uncover the real deal about using slow cookers and whether they are helpful for destroying bacteria in your food or not.

Keeping Food Safe – Do Slow Cookers Kill Bacteria?

A slow cooker makes things much more convenient for people.

It is a type of kitchen appliance that does not require you to keep checking on it. Simply leave your meat in it, and you can expect the slow cooker to do the job for you.

What it does is it helps to tenderize tough meat cuts such as the chuck, round, shoulder, and the like.

When used the right way, you can be sure that your cook will turn out bacteria-free afterward. And most importantly, ready to eat! It’s a great tool for making delicious stews and other recipes.

Now, a slow cooker, as the name implies, cooks your food slowly. This is because it uses low temperature varying from 170 to 280 degrees Fahrenheit. It can take several hours before your food is ready, so do not expect to have it ready in just minutes!

Moreover, a slow cooker works by combining direct heat, steam, and long hours of cooking. Over time, it destroys bacteria in your meats.

How to Use Slow Cookers to Kill Bacteria Efficiently

The most important thing you need to know is to use this tool properly.

This way, you can be absolutely sure that it does kill all the bacteria in your food. For instance, you must maintain the required level of liquid in the pot. This is particularly true when cooking poultry and meat.

Typically, manufacturers recommend filling the pot about 1/2 to as much as 3/4 full of water. Be sure to check directions indicated in the package to achieve the best results in your cooking.

Another thing to keep in mind is in starting the cooking process. Here are some tips you need to know to maintain the best quality results in your recipes using the slow cooker.

1. Good hygiene is essential.

You always need to maintain proper hygiene when it comes to handling meat products.

Before you put the meat in the slow cooker, be sure that your hands are completely clean. The cooker and surface of all utensils you will use should be free from dirt.

2. Thaw before you start cooking.

Next, make it a point to thaw the meat well. Never place frozen meat in the cooker and expect the machine to destroy harmful bacteria.

Keep in mind that slow cookers start at a low temperature. Thus, you will never be able to get the bacteria out when the meat is still frozen. This can even result in hazardous illnesses such as food poisoning or bacterial infection.

3. Preheat your slow cooker.

Another thing you need to remember is that you must preheat your cooker. It is even better if you use hot liquids as this speeds up the process of heating the water.

Before adding in the ingredients, make it a point to preheat your cooker. Place it on the highest setting during the first hour of cooking. This way, it can help to kill bacteria in poultry or meat.

4. Avoid cooking using the warm setting.

You will notice that your slow cooker has a “warm” setting. This is not meant for cooking food. What it does is to maintain the warm temperature of your cooked food such as with soups and stews.

If you need to cook, make sure it is the right temperature.

5. Soak beans before cooking.

When it comes to cooking dried kidney beans, be sure to soak and boil them first. There are toxins present in the beans, and you can kill these harmful components by boiling.

Soak them overnight, rinse and boil in a pot for about 10 minutes. Then, you can add them to your slow cooker to cook them thoroughly.

6. When in doubt, use a food thermometer.

There are certain temperatures required for killing bacteria present in food. If you are unsure about the level of heat generated by your slow cooker, it is wise to invest in a reliable food thermometer.

The idea temperature for some foods include:

  • 145 to 160 degrees F for roasts
  • 165 degrees F for soups and stews
  • 165 degrees F for poultry

You can also check the slow cooker’s package to determine the required cooking temperature and time for your recipe.

7. Take it easy with the veggies.

Vegetables cook quite slowly. Thus, you should put them closer to the heat to cook well. The best places to put them are at the sides and bottom of your slow cooker.

Speaking of recipes, here are some further tips when using slow cookers for cooking food. Check out this video to learn more.

Final Thoughts

Slow cookers make your life easier since you can prepare your dishes without having to stand and watch as they cook.

But if you ask – do slow cookers kill bacteria, it all depends on how you use this kitchen appliance. There are certain techniques and methods you need to apply to make sure your food turns out safe and bacteria-free.

By simply applying the tips I presented here, you should be able to ensure a delicious and healthy meal each time you cook in your slow cooker. Thus, you can rest easy knowing that you are not at risk of food-borne illness.

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