Ah, the humble slow cooker. It’s the efficient little engine that could. When you compare a slow cooker’s average wattage use (70watts–250 watts) with that of a conventional electric oven (2,000 watts–4,000 watts), it’s clear that using a slow cooker is usually going to be more efficient. This is true even though slow cookers generally run for a much longer period of time to complete meals than ovens do.
Part of their terrific efficiency is due to the simple fact that slow cookers are smaller vessels than ovens. On that note, the smaller the cooker, the higher the efficiency. Keep that in mind if you’re shopping around to avoid ending up with a model larger than you intended.
Since slow cookers are great for making large amounts of food, there’s always potential for leftovers. And many cookers can be removed from their heating elements, so you can refrigerate those leftovers while they’re still inside the cooker itself—no dirty Tupperware!
There’s simply no denying the inherent coziness of slow cooking warm meals in the winter. But doing so in the spring and summer carries a unique benefit. It helps avoid overheating the kitchen (not to mention yourself) the way an oven can. This makes it easier for your A/C to do its job—another victory for energy efficiency!
Using the combination of heat and time to their advantage, slow cookers make magic even with inexpensive, lesser cuts of meat. Over the hours, the meat will tenderize and soak with any spices that are in the mix. Dried beans work well in slow cookers and are around 60% less expensive than canned beans.
Easy does it
A big part of what makes slow cooking so great is how easy slow cookers are to use, even for those of us who are not masters of the culinary arts. Layer the food, set it and forget it! Instead of having to cook after a day at work, you’ll come home to the wonderful smell of your ready-to-serve meal. And clean-up is a snap since you can cook meals for the entire family with a single dish.
Slow Cooker Pot Roast — Serves 12
This easy and delicious pot roast recipe makes its own gravy as it cooks. Try it for yourself and you’ll very likely fall in love.
- 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 5 1/2 pounds pot roast
- 4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 medium potatoes, each cut into 6 pieces
- In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast, carrots and potatoes in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture.
- Cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on low setting for 8 to 9 hours. Garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy!
There’s an amazing variety of great slow cooker recipes out there, so take it slow with tasty, easy slow cooker meals. They can help you cut your energy and food costs while you expand the number of meals in your rotation.
Visit the Store at energizeefficiently.coop to shop for slow cookers and other energy-efficient products.