If you’re preparing a meal this Christmas, or contributing to a pot luck, then you may find yourself using a crock pot during preparations. When you do this, you have to pay attention to food safety just like you would with any other type of cooking device. Thankfully, a new report provides some tips in this regard from the University of Minnesota Extension.
To prevent foodborne illness, your first step might be ensuring that anything you’re placing within a crock pot has been properly thawed. When an item is placed inside without being taken out of a frozen state, any contaminants that could have existed within the meat may not filter out during cooking.
In fact, you want to cook an item a sufficient amount of time to always ensure that it’s going to be safe to eat. And don’t fret constantly about whether or not an item is heating up as it’s cooking. The Food Safety Educator interviewed for the story noted that opening the lid only serves to delay serving time. When you open the lid, all that steam that was trapped inside to let the contents stew escapes, and the temperature can drop precipitously. She suggests each lid lift contributes to a 30 minute delay in serving time, so avoid peeking in unless absolutely necessary.
Finally, verify optimal temperature by way of a food thermometer, not being afraid to let the meat stew for longer than you planned if required. In this way, you protect yourself and your guests from harm.