Slow cookers are a great way to prepare healthy food year round and there are many tasty recipes on the internet for you to try. But some posted recipes can actually put your family in danger. Those that are most discerning are the ones suggesting putting frozen food into the slow cooker without thawing first. This excerpt from a blog post by Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University explains why.
The reality is that putting frozen food in a slow cooker provides an
excellent opportunity for bacteria to grow as the food and the slow
cooker make their way slowly through the temperature danger zone (TDZ)
to a safe minimum internal temperature. Thawing at room
temperature and then putting on low temperature to cook is just asking
for trouble with bacteria growth.
I really do love the idea of planning ahead and doing some “mass
preparation” to save time and have food ready to go when needed. So,
what would make these recipes a little more appealing and safer?
Check out the recipes you’d really like and start with only a few
meals. Make sure your family likes the outcomes and that many slow
cooked meals before you get a freezer full. This will also eliminate the
possibility of overloading the freezer.
Then, freeze the vegetable/seasonings and meat in separate bags. This
would allow you to brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker
in the morning. Taking the time to do this can provide better color and
flavor to the final product and also it helps speed the meat through the
temperature danger zone.
Most of the recipes say to take the bag from the freezer the night
before and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. While thawing in the
refrigerator is the best method, one overnight may not be enough, so you
may need to plan ahead a little more.
Use the appropriate packaging materials and then use them for their
intended purpose. There’s no reason that you can’t use slow cooker
liners for easy clean-up, they just aren’t intended for freezer storage.
As you’re getting ready in the morning, start the food off on high
and then turn it to low before you leave the house. This helps jump
start the temperature in the slow cooker and rushes the food through the
To read the whole article click here Food Safety and the Slow Cooker