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Time-Saving (and other) Advantages of a Slow Cooker

By Robin Robertson, author of Fresh From The Vegan Slowcooker

Robin Robertson

One of the things I like best about using a slow cooker is its paradoxical nature: Although your food takes longer to cook in a slow cooker, it can be a real time-saver.

On days when you're too busy to cook, it's a stress reliever to know that dinner is ready in a slow cooker.

Slow cooking can actually help you to eat more well-balanced and economical meals on nights when you may be tempted to order takeout or eat packaged convenience food.

Using a slow cooker can be more convenient than other cooking methods, simply because you can leave it unattended—something you wouldn't do with an oven, a pressure cooker, or any stovetop cooking method.

With your main dish simmering in the slow cooker, you will have more time to be creative with side dishes, salads, or other accompaniments.

Food doesn't burn when left unattended because the heating coils in slow cookers cook food gently and evenly from the bottom and sides. The lid keeps the heat and moisture inside. So even though meals prepared in a slow cooker take longer to cook, they can actually save you time.

Flavor is also a good reason to use a slow cooker. Because of the extended, gentle cooking time in a slow cooker, the flavors have time to mingle and intensify. Using a slow cooker allows you to enjoy the rich flavors of hearty soups, stews, and other dishes without having to be tethered to a hot stove.

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A slow cooker can be a relief to busy stay-at-home moms and others who don't have the time to linger in the kitchen.

Another plus is that a slow cooker doesn't heat up the kitchen the way other cooking methods do, which is a relief on hot days. The slow cooker uses less energy than other cooking methods, so you save money on utilities.

Speaking of saving money, the slow cooker also makes it easy to cook larger quantities of food that can then be frozen. This is preferable to relying on expensive frozen convenience foods.

Versatility is another great reason to slow-cook. You can use slow cookers to make everything from appetizers to desserts.

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A slow cooker can also be a great help when company's coming, allowing you to keep the soup or main dish warm while you entertain guests. Using a slow cooker also lets you free up other cooking surfaces. This can be especially handy for holiday meals.

If you're serving a buffet meal, you can place the slow cooker right on the table. It will keep the food at the proper serving temperature while you enjoy the party.

Slow-cooked dishes are also great for potlucks. Just prepare your dish in the slow cooker, bring along the entire unit, and plug it in when you arrive at your destination to keep your dish warm for serving. Dinner is served!

Read Sarah Kingsbury's Review of 'Fresh From The Vegan Slowcooker' Enter our Facebook Contest to Win a Free Copy of Robin's Cookbook

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