Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Slow Cooker Blues

For the third time my family ended up having sandwiches for dinner because after more than 12 hours of cooking, we still had hard beans in the crockpot. First it was the split peas . . . and I was like okay because I've had problems with split peas before . . . but then the onions in my barley soup that had been wonderful the week before were raw . . . and last night it was lentils that were hard. And according to my health food store, the lentils had come in in December . . . less than 2 months ago.

So is it the beans or are the cooking times I finding on the Internet wrong (maybe I should cook on high instead of low?) or could it possibly be my crockpot? Before I plunk down money for a new one, a friend will loan me hers so I can do a test.

But really . . . I'm getting tired of wasting time and ingredients on an appliance that is supposed to save me work!


Curries N' Crepes said...

It has to be the slow cooker.. Try soaking the beans before or use a pressure cooker. I use my pressure cooker a lot and it takes half the normal time for beans and lentils. Lentils are usually done in less than 10 minutes.

Cathe Olson said...

Lentils and split peas are not supposed to need soaking . . . . but maybe. Actually, I beginning to think a pressure cooker might be more convenient than a slow cooker. My mom used one all the time when I was little.

Pacha said...

yeah, I got this REALLY nice crock pot from my mother-in-law. I used it a few times. Then I found a used pressure cooker at the thrift store. I use it ALL the time, and now wish I had asked for a REALLY nice pressure cooker instead. One that automatically adjusts pressure and cooking time, etc.

I find the pressure cooker more convenient on a day-to-day basis (especially if you're cooking a lot of beans and brown rice), but it depends on what you're cooking. But you can't beat cooking black beans in 12 minutes. :o)

Here's a good reference website: http://missvickie.com

Good luck!

~M said...

Pressure cookers scare me but I adore my crockpot and use it all the time!

I recommend soaking your legumes (all of them!) overnight in a non-reactive bowl. For dried and split peas, add a pinch of baking soda to the water to make them more bio-accessible/available; for other legumes, add a spoonful of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to do the same. Then, in the morning, strain and use fresh cold water and cook on high in the crockpot.

Keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

It must be your slow cooker. I think you should do a litle reserach and buy a new one to meet your needs. They are inexpensive and great tools.
I live alone and cook only for myself and I have 3 in different sizes. I use the 3 quart and 5 qurt all the time and the 7 quart one occasionally.