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Volume II
November 27, 2003


Desiri Wightman, RD

1. Cut vegetables uniformly and layer them at the top and sides of the cooker. Quick cooking vegetables (peas) can be added during the final hour of cooking time.

2. Add dairy products in the final 30-60 minutes of cooking, to prevent curdling. Warm them up slightly by whisking in some of the cooking liquid before adding them to the pot. Suitable replacements for fresh dairy products include condensed soups and reconstituted powdered milk. These can be added at the beginning of the cooking process. For more information, see the article Slow-Cooking Success.

3. To avoid pasty rice and pasta products cooked in the slow cooker, cook these on a stove top or in a steamer prior to adding them to the recipe at the end of the cooking time. Try not to overcook them; instead cook them just until barely tender. They can finish cooking in the slow cooker and won't turn mushy on you. Alternatively, you can add uncooked rice and pasta during the final 30-60 minutes of cooking. You'll need to add 1/4 cup extra liquid for every 1/4 cup of raw rice added to the cooker, though.

4. Add fish and seafood during the final 30-60 minutes of cooking. Because these are quick-cooking, they do not hold up well during the long cooking process.

5. Use only half of the liquid requested by a conventional recipe in slow cookery. Liquids don't boil away at low temperatures. Pour liquids over the food last to prevent splashing.

6. When adapting soup recipes, add all the ingredients to the pot, and then add only enough liquid to cover. This may be substantially less water than called for in the original recipe. If, after cooking, the soup is too thick. Thin it with additional liquid. For cream or milk based soups, add 1 to 2 cups of water, instead of the milk, and cook the soup. When it is done, add the requested milk or cream and heat thoroughly.

7. Choose conventional recipes to convert to slow-cookery with cooking times of 45-60 minutes. Usually, these recipes contain ingredients that hold up better during longer cooking periods.

8. If a recipe calls for 15-30 minutes cooking time, cook it 1-1/2 to 2 hours on HIGH or 4-6 hours on LOW. (At altitudes above 4,000 feet, expect longer cooking times.)

9. If the recipe calls for 35-45 minutes of cooking time, cook it for or 3-4 hours on HIGH or 6-10 hours on LOW. (At altitudes above 4,000 feet, expect longer cooking times.)

10. If the recipe calls for 50 minutes to 3 hours of cooking time, cook it for 4-6 hours on HIGH or for 8-10 hours on LOW. (At altitudes above 4,000 feet, expect longer cooking times.)

         * DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *

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