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Experts warn one slow cooker mistake could make you very ill

Experts warn one slow cooker mistake could make you very ill

These bad boys come with a rule book - as one wrong move could leave you very ill.

Slow cookers are the unsung heroes of our kitchen sides which save us countless hours of time and effort.

Whether you're whipping up a winter warmer, lamb shanks or even a pavlova, pretty much everyone can benefit from one.

One woman even went viral with her big breakfast recipe which the slow cooker took care of while she slept.

As they are cost-effective and convenient, the appliances are always in high demand too. There's an idea for your mum's Christmas gift.

But these bad boys come with a rule book - as one wrong move could leave you very ill.

Like anything you use to cook your food, it's key to make sure that your slow cooker is squeaky clean and bacteria-free.

However, the preparation doesn't stop there - and sometimes this golden rule slips the mind of some amateur chefs.

Safety comes first when using your slow cooker.
Getty stock images

Food expert Meredith Carothers warned people to never put frozen ingredients straight into your slow cooker.

Meats, vegetables or prepared meals that have been in the freezer can take a while to thaw.

Carothers, a public affairs specialist at the US Department of Agriculture, urged people to be cautious when starting from frozen.

This is because it might take too long for your nosh to fully defrost and start cooking.

Frozen items also take longer to reach a safe internal temperature while it is slowly being cooked.

Carothers told AARP that leaving your food in this danger zone can allow bacteria to grow on your grub and potentially result in illness - or severe food poisoning.

Carothers recommended popping your frozen ingredients in the fridge, in cold water or the microwave to raise the temperature.

The food expert told people to make sure their frozen ingredients are thawed.
Getty stock images

But if you are using a pre-prepared slow-cooked meal that instructs you to place the ingredients in the slow cooker while they're still frozen, you can skip that.

The USDA's guidelines read: "The slow cooker may take several hours to reach a safe, bacteria-killing temperature.

"Constant refrigeration assures that bacteria, which multiply rapidly at room temperature, won't get a 'head start' during the first few hours of cooking."

Reheating food in the slow cooker brings similar risks, as Carothers says it may take too long to reheat them to a safe temperature.

"When it's cooking, there's that time-temperature relationship that cooks it within a certain amount of time versus reheating it,"she explained.

"It's just an extra safety measure to make sure that you're reheating something quickly and efficiently versus putting it into a slow cooker."

Turns out swotting up on your slow cooker could save you a pretty violent bout of food poisoning.

Featured Image Credit: Getty stock images

Topics: Food And Drink, Hacks, UK News