Reheating food and slow cookers
I will be making food on my stove, freezing or refrigerating, then reheating. My question is: Can I reheat with a slow cooker? Or should I reheat in the microwave or on the stove, then maintain in a slow cooker. Can I keep food in slow cooker for up to 5 hours safely?
Lane County Oregon food safety
You have a good question. I would say it depends on the quantity of food and the initial temperature of the food you are putting into the slow cooker. The important thing is that you get the temperature up to 140 degrees in a fairly short time, like 30 minutes to one hour. Then it can maintain it on low in the slow cooker at at least 140 degrees until you are ready to serve. If you put it directly into the slow cooker, do it on high for the first hour or so and check the temperature to see how hot the food got. It is probably safer to heat the food in the microwave or on top of the stove and then put in the slow cooker. It can stay for several hours at 140 degrees and above but since the food is already cooked, the longer it cooks the lower the quality, but it should be safe. Temperature is the key to safety. Food should not be out longer than 2-3 hours in the danger zone which is 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F. If it is below 40 or over 140 degrees, you are safe.
Thanks for using Ask an Expert.