Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don’t Involve Food

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Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

The slow cooker (or crock pot) is a wonderful appliance for hands-off cooking, but the gentle, slow heating process can also be used for other things unrelated to food. Such as these ten things.

Many of these projects are crafty, and you might want a dedicated second slow cooker (perhaps picked up at a garage sale) for these purposes, such as the soap-making one. Others, however, you can just whip out your slow cooker to accomplish, clean, and then use for slow cooking food. It’s a wonderfully multi-purpose tool.

10. Make Soap

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

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Homemade soap is wonderful because you can customize your soap bars with the scents and ingredients you prefer. This project requires just water, olive oil, coconut oil, and lye (which you have to handle carefully). An hour in the slow cooker, though, and you’ve made your own soap.

9. Strip Paint

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

Instead of using toxic chemicals to remove paint, drag out your old and unused slow cooker and let it strip the paint off an object overnight.

8. Dye Fabric or Yarn

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

Dyeing fibers is easy in the slow cooker because you don’t have to watch over it. The slow cooker pot acts as both a dye bath container and a heat source to help fabrics and other materials absorb the dye. Knit Picks offers instructions for dyeing yarn and folk artist Susan Hemann shows us how to dye fabric. (I heard you can also dye paper in the slow cooker, but was unable to find a tutorial for this. Feel free to experiment!)

7. Make Potpourri

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

If you don’t have one of those small simmering potpourri things, your slow cooker can fill in for the job. After all, slow cookers are known for creating intoxicating smells as they simmer foods. This time, fill up your slow cooker with spices, fruits, and other ingredients that will scent your home throughout the day. This seems particularly fitting over the holidays, as in this combination of cloves, oranges, allspice, and cinnamon at Heathers Dish.

6. Make Candles

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

Homemade candles make a great gift, but dealing with the wax is a pain. If you use a slow cooker, though, you’ll avoid the mess of double-boiling and pouring. Just put the containers in your crockpot, fill with wax shreddings, and let the slow cooker do the work. You can also combine bits and pieces of crayons in the same manner.

5. Make Play Dough

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

This one’s for the kids…or maybe yourself. Just as you can make bread in the slow cooker you can make play dough. Repeat Crafter Me has the instructions for doing this. You only need a few pantry items and about half an hour of “cooking” time.

4. Freshen (or De-Stink) a Room

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

Baking powder is a powerful weapon against bad odors and a generally stale smell. Put it in a slow cooker with some water, and you can freshen up any room of your home, even musty basements.

3. Use It as a Humidifier

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

An old slow cooker filled with water can add moisture to the air, much like a rice cooker can—no need for a dedicated humidifier. As Crock Pot Recipe Exchange explains, fill the pot with water three quarters of a way up and let it heat up on high. Then remove the lids and let the moisture escape into the air.

2. Clean Jewelry

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

Whether your jewelry is tarnished or could just use a good cleaning, your slow cooker is your friend. Make your own all-natural jeweler’s pickle (an acidic solution that removes oxidation and flux from soldered metal) and clean jewelry in the slow cooker, with The Artisan Life’s directions. Clinton Kelly offers a simpler formula that involves just white vinegar and salt to clean jewelry in the slow cooker.

1. Clean Animal Bones/Skulls

Top 10 Things You Can Do with a Slow Cooker That Don't Involve Food

Finally, if you have animal skulls or bones that need cleaning, the long slow simmer of a slow cooker will work better than boiling. We’re serious! Our own Vitals writer Beth Skwarecki shared this tip with us and I couldn’t help but make it the top tip. Many people use animal skulls for decoration or artwork (c.f. Georgia O’Keeffe, photo above courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art via Studio 360).

Title image by hchjjl (Shutterstock).

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For Crystal-Clear Chicken Stock, Turn to the Slow Cooker

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For Crystal-Clear Chicken Stock, Turn to the Slow Cooker

When it comes to making essential but labor-intensive homemade stock, we’re all about time-savers (like using already-roasted chicken as the base for a brown stock). Now we’ve just discovered another shortcut: use to slow cooker to avoid having to skim chicken stock.

POPSUGAR food editor Nicole Perry makes a good point: the slow cooker’s main virtue — low, even heat — is a real asset during the process of making a stock or broth. She writes:

The single most frustrating part of making bone-based stock is skimming off all the scum that bubbles up to the top as it simmers along. Made in a slow cooker, the liquid is heated to such a low temperature that the need is virtually eliminated, and the resulting stock is practically crystal-clear.

It’s true that uncovered, slow heating is the best way to make stock. As food chemistry authority Harold McGee points out in his book, On Food and Cooking, both of these factors allow soluble proteins to escape their solids and coagulate more slowly, forming large patches of scum that either rise to the surface and are easily skimmed off, or settle into the sides and bottom. So if you do need to skim anything off, it should be pretty easy to do so.

Although this version is made with poultry, you could apply the same slow cooker technique to other bases like beef, vegetable, or veal stock, too. Then you have a deeply flavorful base for soups, sauces, and stews. Hit the link below to get the slow cooker chicken stock recipe.

With This Recipe, You’ll Have No Reason to Buy Store-Bought Chicken Stock | POPSUGAR


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