Conventional cooking pots and stovetops have fallen into disuse in many kitchens due to the popularity of pressure cookers and slow cookers. Yet, they offer so much convenience for busy families who want to come home from a busy day at work to a home-cooked, hearty, healthy meal.
However, such devices are not without their issues, and most of them can be put down to human error. What if you had done everything to prepare a delicious meal for your slow cooker to cook but forgot to plug it in before you dashed out of the door? Don’t worry – this is a common mistake for busy people!
A worry here is, can you safely consume the meat that you have put into the turned-off slow cooker that morning? Sometimes you get lucky and remember a few hours into the day that you forgot to switch the device on. In this case, you can pop home or ask a friendly neighbor to turn it on for you. No harm done. Your meal should still be safe to consume if it has not been left out for too long.
What To Do If You Forgot To Plug In Slow Cooker?
1. Make Sure the Meat Isn’t Spoiled
The first thing you need to do is to check if the meat isn’t spoiled. You will get to know the spoilage by smelling the meat. If the meat smells unpleasant and has been in the cooker for most of the day, you will, unfortunately, have to throw it out along with all the other ingredients in the cooker. However, it is better to discard it at even the slightest sign of contamination than sorry.
If your meat smells okay, take the weather into account as well. For example, if it is winter and the kitchen is relatively cold, your dish should be alright. However, if you were going to cook chicken or pork in the middle of summer, it is best to discard everything as these meats go off quickly.
2. Take notice of the timing
The next thing you need to consider is timing. You enter the danger zone, and your health can be at stake when your meat has been out of the fridge at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Conservative people usually throw away the meat when it has been over 2 to 3 hours as the bacterial exposure increases with time. However, these recommended guidelines have a large built-in safety margin that you could probably stretch to 4 hours with no harm done.
3. Sear It Well, Cook and Consume!
If you forgot to plug in the slow cooker and you are confident that the meat isn’t rotten, you can salvage the situation. First, sear it well, then finish cooking it conventionally in the oven or on the stovetop.
We hope this article helps you decide whether to discard your slow cooker dinner or not. Remember, it is always better to err on the side of caution if you don’t want to end up with food poisoning.