What separates a crockpot from a traditional cooking pot is its ability to consistently maintain stable temperatures.
A crockpot runs on electricity and it’s a lot safer to use for long cooking sessions. Because first of all, gas is extremely dangerous, and secondly, electricity is not only safe it’s also a lot more stable and consistent.
A crockpot or a slow cooker facilitates slow cooking by the virtue of two things, its internal facilities, and the four interchangeable temperature settings.
A crockpots’ internal electrical technology allows it to maintain the internal temperature within the inputted settings’ range. For example, the warm setting has a range between 165 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit, so the crockpot, when set to warm mode, will keep the internal temperature within 165 to 175 for the entirety of its ON period.
Every crockpots’ temperature setting has a specific use, but two of the most commonly used ones are warm and low settings.
Slow cooking requires a temperature lower than 100 degrees Celsius. Because boiling your stew for 4 hours straight will not tenderize the meat, it will instead make it a lot tougher. This is why a crockpots’ high setting is only used for braising before its left on low for slow cooking.
Crockpot On Warm Instead Of Low
Now, let’s talk about the warm setting and while we are on the topic, compare it with a crockpots’ low setting.
We know that a crockpots’ low setting is used specifically for slow-cooking.
The warm setting, on the other hand, provides temperatures around 165 to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a temperature range perfect for keeping your cooked food warm for later consumption.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hot temperatures below 140 degrees Fahrenheit can cause a lot of diseases including food poisoning. This is the reason for keeping the crockpots’ warm setting above the 140 degrees Fahrenheit range. But keeping your food safe in temperatures above 140 degrees is not always a good thing. Because ultimately, no matter what, heat will cook your food.
Keeping your food on the warm setting has a few drawbacks, but some of these drawbacks are even more prominent when using the low setting.
After an 8 hours long cooking session on low, your meat should have gotten extremely tender and juicy. Considering you had put your veggies, pasta, and dairy, only within the last 20 to 40 minutes, they also must have cooked to perfection. Now, if you had set this slow-cooked meal on Warm mode because you didn’t have time to eat and left it there for a couple of hours. You will, unfortunately, come back to a pot full of overcooked stew.
This is the cost we have to pay to keep our food safe by maintaining temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. So it’s extremely important to keep your food on Warm mode for one to two hours maximum.
The Warm mode is not Slow mode
Some people might have the idea to cook an 8-hour slow mode stew on warm mode because they would be gone from the house for more than 12 hours.
The crockpots’ warm mode is not comparable to its slow mode. Even though warm mode can overcook foods that are already cooked to perfection. The warm mode doesn’t provide high enough temperatures to cook raw foods like chicken and meat and have them safe for consumption.