The slow cooker is a great kitchen appliance to use to make easy homemade dinners. You just add the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and then at dinner time, your meal is ready! It sounds easy and it is, but there are some food safety concerns.
Here are some safety tips to follow to ensure you do not get food poisoning from your dinner:
- Prepare meat and vegetables separately – Cut and prepare these foods on separate cutting boards and then refrigerate in separate containers to avoid cross contamination.
- Always defrost meat, chicken or any protein before putting it in the slow cooker – Defrosting meat will help ensure food cooks evenly and to the appropriate internal temperature. Always thaw meat in the refrigerator never at room temperature.
- Use a food thermometer – The only way to know for sure if your food is cooked appropriately is using a food thermometer. You can use the smart phone app “Is My Food Safe?” as a guide for internal temperatures of various foods.
- Store leftovers in a 2” container and refrigerate within 2 hours after cooking – Slow cooker meals are great for leftovers, but if they are not packaged and stored correctly then there is a risk for food poisoning. After food is removed from the pot, then store in a shallow container and refrigerate within 2 hours.