In my last home I had unsealed butcher block counters. They were easy to clean and generally easy to sand down when anything stained or nicked the surface. But there was one large exception: my slow cooker. The first time I ran my slow cooker when I was away during the day, I came home to find that a combination of heat and moisture from the cooker left the surface warped and stained.
For the years that followed, I cursed the small stain that remained from that day and always kept a baking sheet under my slow cooker while it was in use on the wood counters. That was until a Kitchn reader pointed out an easy alternative for setting up a slow cooker. It's something that every kitchen has, is easy to clean, and safe for something that will be hot for hours on end. Any clue what it is?
The Smartest Place to Set Up Your Slow Cooker: The Stovetop!
That's right, set your slow cooker on your stovetop for safer slow-cooking. Even if you have raised burners, a six-quart slow cooker can fit easily on the surface. The stovetop isn't generally in use at the same time as the slow cooker and is designed to take the heat, moisture, splatters, or drips that might come from the cooker. Ideally you're using this spot when you have to leave the slow cooker unattended all day.
More on Storing Your Slow Cooker
Now, there will be instances (like cooking-heavy holidays) when you might be using the slow cooker and the stove at the same time. You're next best alternative is to set your slow cooker on a baking sheet, a silicone baking mat, or an old wooden cutting board — all of these can withstand the heat and moisture from the slow cooker to protect your countertops.
Where do you leave your slow cooker when it's on all day?