Whether you are looking to steam your vegetables, cook a roast or create a base for a soup you may find that your carrots are still hard, even after spending a long time in the slow cooker.
To prevent carrots from staying hard in your slow cooker you should add more liquid to the pot or move the carrots further down into the pot to be closer to the heat source.
In this article I am going to be going through the reasons why carrots are still hard after being in the slow cooker and how to prevent it. Along with some tips and tricks you might find useful.
Why Your Carrots Are Still Hard After The Slow Cooker
This can be very frustrating and annoying especially if it’s your first time, but like with every other appliance in the kitchen, it helps to understand how the slow cooker works.
A slow cooker isn’t like your regular gas cooker. There’s a certain degree of temperature it has to acquire to soften food as hard as the carrot.
However, most slow cookers can only get to around 195 to 200 Fahrenheit – this is below the regular temperature of boiling water (212). Hence, low temperature is a common reason for carrots not getting soft in a slow cooker.
The reason for your carrot problem might also be that you haven’t been patient enough. There are different types of slow cookers and each of them has variable cooking time. You must understand yours and learn about how much time it takes to cook.
Plus, slow cooking takes five times the time regular cooking would – a simple dish that would normally take 30 minutes for a regular cooker might take 2 hours in the least and 4 to 6 hours at most for a slow cooker.
However, it is also worth noting that the problem might not necessarily lie with your slow cooker but instead with your cooking technique. For food like carrots to be in the slow cooker, it has to be cut into many pieces. The trick is to make all of those pieces be of the same size.
Foods cut into even pieces will cook more evenly than food cut randomly. Also, for slow cookers, the foods at the bottom of the container tend to cook faster than those on top. So, whenever you want to cook your carrots, it may serve you best to put them in first.
What Is The Ideal Size For Cooking Carrots?
Like with most vegetables, there are suitable sizes for cutting carrots. It doesn’t matter if you’re boiling, steaming, or roasting, you should cut carrots into ¼-inch thick slices before cooking.
You can also cut them into strips that are 2-inch long and ¼-inch thick.
What Are The Best Ways To Slice Carrots For A Slow Cooker?
There are several ways to slice carrots for your slow cooker. However, I found the following to be the best;
The word ‘batonnet’ means little stick in french and is widely regarded as the starting point for small dice and other cuts. To cut carrots the batonnet way, you must first measure it ¼ inch by ¼ inch and ensure it is within 2 to 3 inches long.
After the measurement, peel your carrots and cut into the ideal 2-inch length, then slice each of the sides one at a time to produce a flat surface. The final step is to cut evenly into stacked-planks to turn them into ¼-inch thick strips.
This method involves squaring off the carrots before cutting them at a 45-degree angle. Repeatedly cut and roll them one-quarter of a turn in your direction. Do your best to maintain a thickness of ¼ inch.
After slicing, you shouldn’t add the carrots at a period that ruins the quality of your cooking. I’ll help you to determine the best possible time.
When To Add Carrots To Slow Cooker
When to add carrots largely depends on what you’re trying to make and how much quantity. For instance, if you’re making a small quantity of roast, feel free to put in the carrots at the same time as the roast. For a larger quantity, you should add it later.
This is because a slow cooker has a heating device located at the bottom part of the cooker and an internal ceramic crock that maintains consistent heat. So the larger the roast, the more time it’ll take to cook.
Larger roasts not only require longer cooking periods but also higher temperatures. Even though your decision would most likely depend on the recipes, for larger roasts, carrots are best added 2 hours before the roast is done. This will greatly improve its texture.
Since baby carrots cook faster than longer ones, you can also choose to substitute them to have faster cooking. Plus the location is important when adding your baby carrots. You should put them on top of the roast and around it. That way they can cook faster than the meat.
How Long Should You Cook Carrots In A Slow Cooker?
This largely depends on your desired temperature setting. If your cooker is set on low, it will take 5 to 6 hours. However, if it’s on high then 2½ to 3 hours should be enough.
What Are The Best Dishes To Cook Carrots With?
Carrots are a type of vegetable that goes well with both roast and water-based dishes. However, carrots are best roasted or glazed with chicken, beef, celery, onion, honey, curry, and raisins, and more.
How To Prevent Carrots From Staying Hard When Being Cooked
The main problem here is how the carrots are being placed in the slow cooker. To prevent them from staying hard, they must be placed in the middle or bottom of the slow cooker.
Placing the carrots in the middle will ensure they’re well cooked but not mushy. And placing them at the bottom will put them next to the heat and ensure the texture is soft.
Your food will cook better when your slow cooker is halfway or almost full. This will decrease your cooking time too. Also, if your slow cooker is set to low temperature, turn it up to high.