With winter finally blowing in, more and more families are turning to what they know to make hearty, easy meals: the crock pot. It is the ultimate in carefree cooking that makes delicious and warm meals at the touch of a button. Many believe that making a crock pot meal is as easy as tossing in your favorite ingredients, setting the timer to low, and letting it cook all day long. And for many meals, it is that easy. Unfortunately, for many this holiday season, they are going to throw in their favorite meat and vegetables, coming home hours later to find their vegetables nothing more than soggy mush. How do you make your favorite crock pot meals without turning your vegetables into a soup?
Many crock pot users won’t mind if their vegetables are soft and mushy. For the most part, they still taste great! In fact, some vegetables, like squash, are better this way. For those out there that want to make the perfect meal, however, it is important to know what vegetables you want and how much time and effort you are willing to spend on making your meal. Some vegetables, like carrots or potatoes (cut up into large chunks!) take a long time to cook and will generally hold up well through the whole cooking process. They will hold their shape, despite being soft. Green beans are also a good choice. If your recipe requires nothing more than these vegetables, toss them in and get ready to dig in later!
Other vegetables and herbs, such as corn, peas, broccoli, peppers, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and many others simply cannot hold up to the long cook time of a crock pot. By the time the main course is done, the heat has turned them into nothing but a soupy mixture. In addition to losing the consistency of vegetables in the meal, their flavor will usually vanish, defeating the purpose of putting them in the meal in the first place. Some vegetables, such as onions, can be cooked in a crock pot, but it usually depends on their size.