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  1. Preparation : LEAVE IT ALONE The main advantage of slow cooking is to set and forget it. You do not need to tend the pot. By all means do not hestitate to leave your home while your crockpot is on. DO make sure it is not touching the walls or or other appliances. STIRRING Stirring is not required for the great majority of crock- pot recipes. Occasionally I encounter one that requires basting, but that is most infrequently. KEEP IT COVERED LEAVE THE LID ON. I cannot stress this point enough. Every time the crockpot is uncovered, 1/2 cooking time is lost. NEVER remove the lid during the first two hours when baking breads or cakes. Most pots have a glass lid, so you can see pretty much whats going on inside. If for some reason you must open the pot, make sure you do all your additions then to minimize overall heat loss. COOKING TIMES It is best to follow the recipe's instructions, but a general rule of thumb is ONE HOUR ON HIGH EQUALS TWO HOURS ON LOW. If for some reason you cannot be there at exactly the time specified to turn it off, don't worry. Because of the low cooking temperatures your food will not burn. HIGH ALTITUDE COOKING Allow more time than given in the recipe at altitudes over 4000 feet. TEMPERATURES There are generally two temperature settings, low and high. Low is 200 degrees and high is 300 degrees. FROZEN FOODS When using frozen foods in a recipe, thawing prior to adding them to the pot is essential, actually more because you risk damage to a ceramic pot liner more than anything. If you have a metal crockpot you may add frozen items but several extra hours of cooking time must be added as well. (JO's note) (I have cooked frozen food successfully) SPICES Because so little evaporation takes place when cooking with this method, spices tend to be intensified. I am careful not to over-season and just before serving make my corrections. FOIL SPEEDS COOKING To save time, aluminum foil may be placed under the crock pot lid. The foil reflects the heat back onto the food and I feel keeps the heat in the pot a little more effci


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