Whether you call it a Crock Pot or a slow cooker, it’s one of the most indispensable appliances in your kitchen. But did you know it can be helpful with more than just cooking? Here are 5 little-known uses for your slow cooker besides cooking dinner:
Make clarified butter: Also known as drawn butter (and sometimes ghee), this is unsalted butter with all of the milk solids and water removed. The remaining golden butterfat is soft and liquid, earning its name as ‘good oil’ in portions of the world. Making clarified butter can be time-intensive, so preparing it in larger batches makes sense. That’s easy to do in a slow cooker: simply place 2 or 3 pounds of butter in the crock, then cover and cook on low. After an hour, skim the milk solids that have floated to the top until you reach clear liquid. Strain this through a cheesecloth into clean containers and refrigerator for up to two months or freeze for up to a year.
Freshen the air: Whether you need to get rid of cooking smells or want to scent the house for the holidays, your slow cooker can pull double duty as an air freshener. Just fill it 3/4 of the way with water, add a couple tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of your favorite essential oil, then turn it on high and leave it uncovered. The steam will waft fragrance throughout your house. No essential oils on hand? Toss in apple and orange peels, a few cloves and some cinnamon sticks instead!
Make new candles from your old ones: We all have those old bits of candles that are lopsided or have odd holes burned through one side. Rather than toss them in the trash, toss them in the crockpot instead. After they’ve melted, fish out the old wicks and gather your heatproof containers. Tie a wick on a pencil laid across the container’s rim and let the other end dangle into the empty container. Carefully ladle the melted wax into the container, being careful not to disturb the wick, and let cool. Voila, new candles!
Dye fabrics and yarn: If you have a spare crockpot that you won’t be using for food again, why not put it to use making custom-dyed fabrics and yarn? Soak your material in a bowl filled with equal parts water and vinegar to start with, then make the dye in your crockpot following the manufacturer’s mixing instructions. Add the fabric or yarn, stir well with a non-porous spoon, and let it “cook” covered on high. After an hour, turn the crockpot off and remove the lid. Allow the contents to reach room temperature (2 to 4 hours) then carefully remove the fabric and transfer it to a sink filled with cool water and 1 cup of salt to “set” the dye. Rinse well, then dry on the line or in your dryer.
Make your own body lotion: Why pay for a bunch of nasty-sounding chemicals, when what you’re really trying to get is soft, supple skin? It’s so easy to make your own body moisturizer by melting 8 oz. cocoa butter in 2 oz. of distilled water in your slow cooker on low, then stirring in 2 oz. of beeswax, 4 oz. of sweet almond oil, and 2 oz. of coconut oil. (Materials can be found at your local health food store or online.) Store in clean, lidded containers and store in a dark place. By the way, this makes a great gift, too!
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