Crockpots are the ultimate in kitchen convenience, especially for working people. Whole meals are prepared in crockpots, while the cook is happily occupied around the home or at work. Nearly anything can be prepared in crockpots: stews, pasta, soups, steamed puddings, macaroni and cheese, casseroles, roasts and even homemade jellies and jams. Then comes the clean-up afterward. Because the crockpot slowly simmers food to peak flavors for longer periods of time, there are several ways to make clean-up easier. Read the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to clean a crockpot. There are several types of crockpots available. Some have an inside cooking liner that can be removed for cleaning. Check to see if this type is dishwasher safe. Other crockpots are made from food-grade ceramic material and are not removable. This type requires special handling when cleaning.
The easiest way to deal with cleaning a crockpot is to remove as much of the grit as possible. Then, fill the crockpot with warm water three-quarters of the way to the top. Allow to soak for 15-20 minutes. Baking soda acts as a great cleaning agent when soaking the inside of the crockpot. But, a gentle liquid dish detergent can also be used, depending on the type of crockpot. When the grit has begun to loosen from the walls of the crockpot, use a long-handled brush to swish away remaining residue. Then, simply dump the water into the sink and rinse thoroughly with more warm water. Be sure that all electrical elements remain dry.
Another way to clean less sticky surfaces of the inside of the crockpot is to wipe clean with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly. Although crockpots are intended for cooking over a longer period of time, the surface should never be scratched. This creates pitting that tends to absorb food into the tiny fissures and alters the flavors of foods prepared in the crockpot. Steel wool and other abrasives should never be used to clean the inside surface of a crockpot for this reason. Another way to clean the crockpot is with a simple soaking in water with a teaspoon of common household salt added. The ratio of the water to salt should be at least 1 cup for each teaspoon. With this method, simply use a soft cloth soaked in the salted water, clean and rinse thoroughly.