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more high altitude questions

Ok, guys. Sorry for asking more questions already. I googled to find out how to test my crock pot's temperature, and found this. Everything else I came across said essentially the same thing (except we all know that 70s crocks with funky colors and flowers are perfectly fine provided they still work). In my high altitude cookbook however, it says that for high altitudes the temperature should be a MINIMUM of 200 degrees Fahrenheit because of the 10 degrees or more drop in the boiling point at high altitudes. Then it says that "some adjustable heat controls on slow cookers have low temperature settings which should not be used for cooking at all. They are designed for warming." Now, I dunno how crock pots have changed since when this book was revised (1980), but low is perfectly acceptable for cooking, is it not? Especially in new crock pots where they cook at too high a temp?

Then the book says to "allow for considerably more cooking and baking time at higher elevations" and "avoid taking the lid off the slow cooker. It takes 20-25 minutes to regain the lost steam and temperature. Never remove the cover during the first 2 1/2 to 3 hours when baking in a cooker." Then there is a bit about legumes not being able to be cooked in a crock pot unless they have been precooked on the stove, in which case they can be finished in the crock.

Does that all sound right to you guys?


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
I don't have that much to say except that I'm glad you've been posting all this. I'm not always that pleased with the results I get from my crock either and I'm curious about temperature settings as well. I will tell you this much: I have an almost new crock pot with three settings, lo, med, hi and I swear the low setting does little more than turn on the pilot light. I think if you stare at it really hard, it might get lukewarm.

I don't live at high altitude anymore, but I grew up at about 7000 ft. Shooting from the hip, I'd tell people that everything takes about 20% longer to cook.
Mar. 11th, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that you're glad. I didn't want to be annoying.

Everything I'm making it getting burnt or cooking in less time than it should, even at the high altitude, so I think the low setting on mine (I have low or high and low still gets pretty hot though I'll have to test the temp to find out how hot that is) is good for cooking but the book confused me. haha
Mar. 11th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
Then there is a bit about legumes not being able to be cooked in a crock pot unless they have been precooked on the stove, in which case they can be finished in the crock.

From personal (bad) experience, you should either pre-cook them (which is probably best, given your altitude issues) or you can certainly soak them overnight (especially if they are dried).

Hope this helps
Mar. 11th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
ITA, I ended up having to fish out a couple of different legumes from an otherwise great soup...that was sure a lot of fun. I added a can of beans to compensate. Never again! Legumes on the stove only!
Mar. 11th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
ew. no fun at all.
Mar. 11th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
Soaking them seems to do the trick. So far so good.
Mar. 11th, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
Things do take longer to cook at high altitude, but don't cook your meats to 200 degrees outside the crockpot (like if roasting something in the oven). I always cook meats to the temp specified in the cookbook (such as 170 for turkey breast, 165 for lamb, etc -- and these are guesses off the top of my head so don't take my word for it on these--). In the crock, the meat is going to get to whatever temperature the liquid is. If that is only 185 or so, it's OK. The meat will be fully cooked and safe to eat.

I cook legumes in the crock pot often and find that while they do take longer, they come out fine. I soak them overnight and start them in the morning, and let them go all day.

I have found that it takes ages for the liquid to start boiling again after I've taken the lid off the crock. I didn't think about it being related to altitude but I bet it is.

I mostly find that altitude affects baking more than anything else. I accepted years ago that it was going to take 15-20 minutes to cook pasta when the package said 7-10. Ha. I have lived at this altitude for most of my life so don't know different.

Edited at 2008-03-11 03:50 pm (UTC)
Mar. 11th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
I've never seen a temp specified to cook meat at in any recipe or book I've used. :o/

I think the soaking is what helps with the legumes. I haven't had problems with them in the crock but the recipes I've used that called for them had me soak them first.
Mar. 11th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
You should of course cook according to the real temperature your crock achieves; on my crocks, "low" achieves a simmer, and "warm" makes it to the 180, so warm really is adequate for cooking.

As for beans.... they soften up a LOT faster if they are boiled for even a minute or two. My crocks run so hot that I just put them on HIGH until they simmer (an hour or so), then turn down to low. Overnight soaking helps a lot, too.
Mar. 11th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
Good advice. thank you!
Mar. 11th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
I cook legumes in my slow cooker on high, from their dry, unsoaked state regularly. I've never found problems with it.
Mar. 11th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
at a high altitude?
Mar. 11th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
I was waiting for this to show up (I got kicked out of hip domestics - whoops)...anyhow, I haven't read your previous post in here as there are too many replies.

I have to tell you that I live at 6800 feet and I have seen other people with the same problem...simply put, your slow cooker is too hot.

I have an older Crock Pot and it's perfect. I have a small one quart that has a hot spot (it's newer) so when I make meatloaf, I have to turn the Crock every so often.

It baffles me as to why the quality of the newer slow cookers are so bad...I've seen this come up and it rarely has anything to do with altitude, it's almost always the slow cooker. I can cook a roast in my 4 quart with no problems. My 6 quart (given to me by a friend that moved and didn't want to schlep it cross country) seems to be too hot on the high setting so I adjust and only use the low on that one. Thankfully I don't have the need to use that one very often.
Mar. 11th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
You got kicked out of HD? Hah. For what?

I posted the first post in there as well. I'm guessing that's what you're referencing. Even if I hadn't gotten pissed from my post there I still would have only posted this post here. If I have only crock questions I figure they should go here.

I definitely know it's too hot but I'm wondering about the altitude as well. I'm going to test the temp but the book made...interesting suggestions and I wasn't sure if I should follow some of them or not (like not cooking on low and cooking everything at 200+).

I think the new ones cook hotter so they kill everything bad (and your food at the same time. gr) that needs to be hotter to die.
Mar. 12th, 2008 03:37 pm (UTC)
Oh they have a "three strikes" policy there. Apparently I did a bad thing back in 2006 and recently I was a bad girl over there so they banned me...whatever. I am not going to fret over it.

But yeah, it's not the altitude, it is that your crock is too hot. In that case I would use the "low" setting for most anything. You will have to play with your recipes a bit but I would be safe to say that you could easily make a chicken or beef dish but it may be a total of 10-11 hours which shouldn't be a problem.

My 4 quart is about 10 years or older. It cooks perfectly on high and a roast doesn't burn at all. The 6 quart, however, about 5 years old runs too hot but I only use that for soups and haven't ever used it for meat. Seems to work well for the soup purposes.

Good luck and keep us abreast of what you come up with.
Mar. 11th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
dried beans...

i sleep with a man who suffers *ahem* after-effects to beans. therefore my tried and true method is to soak overnight with a couple generous tablespoons baking soda added, drain and rinse in the am, put in the crock with whatever flavorings then cook 8-10 hours.

generally a ham bone, or some cubed ham, a smallish onion cut pretty small, a couple tablespoons chopped garlic, and a little salt. oh, and if its pinto beans, a cup of strong coffee. :)
Mar. 11th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
hahaha I'm sorry for youuuuu. :op

Mar. 11th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
oh dont be...

i feed him that kinda thing when he's spending the night elsewhere! ;)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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