From steam oven to induction cooktop, innovative kitchen appliances make time in the cookspace easier and smarter
There is so much talk today about creating a “smart home”—since the kitchen is usually the busiest room of the house, it has the opportunity to be the most intelligent. Choices for kitchen appliances are driven by how the cookspace is used on a daily basis, what minimizes labor, and what cuts down cooking time. Take into consideration the steam oven cooking 3x faster or the dishwasher that packs more in a single cycle. Whether you are a gourmet chef or simply someone who likes good meals with minimal effort, the following features will help you to work smarter in the kitchen.
Combination convection-steam oven
In response to consumers’ desire for healthy meals that can be prepared in shorter-than-usual times comes the steam-assist oven. Usually combined with a convection feature, this oven circulates air for more even cooking and emits steam for juicier results with meat, chicken, and fish. Together, these functions can also reduce cooking time by as much as a third to a half, and that means a lower energy bill. This oven is great for reheating food the next day without drying it out. If you don’t want to commit to the triple-thousand-dollar price tag or switch out your present oven at the moment, there are countertop versions available from companies like Cuisinart.
While not brand new to the scene, induction continues to innovate, ensuring its place in the working-smart kitchen appliances category.
Induction works by connecting to the size of the pan, heating only where it’s needed. This reduces energy waste from an open gas flame or an exposed electrical element that emits heat outside of its center of contact.
The area around the cooking zone also stays relatively cool, as opposed to electric coils or the grate above a gas burner. So you don’t have to worry about an accidental burn. Look for added safety features such as automatic turnoff in the case of extreme heat or if a cooking zone operates for a particularly long time.
Some manufacturers, like Thermador, offer an induction cooktop with memory, so if you move a pan to another area of the surface, all the programmed settings will be transferred to the new location of the pan, eliminating the need to re-jigger that perfect heat adjustment.
Fridges with climate-controlled compartments
Communication centers that take and send messages, and software that stores and transmits recipes are getting a lot of attention right now, but one factor remains constant: among the top complaints homeowners have for their refrigerators is food waste. Not that it’s the fridge’s fault, but the greater the capacity—and capacity is a major factor in selection—the more likely the cucumbers will get shoved to the back of the drawer, only to be discovered when they have become a slimy mess. To answer this, manufacturers have fine-tuned climate control with drawers that include dedicated convertible temperature settings so the cheese stays fresh and the lettuce crisp in their neighboring compartments.
Refrigerator drawers such as those from Fisher & Paykel offer subtle climate control for maximum flexibility when you toggle between the need for extra fridge or freezer space, or even to perfectly chill wine for a party.
While the operation of a dishwasher is surely a science, the loading of the dishwasher is something of an art. The range of contents—dishes, pans, flatware, mixing bowls, hinged utensils—can require imagination and strategy to place them effectively for the best wash. With the addition of a third rack that can be adjusted to customize loads, many of those odd and oversized items, like sheet-cake pans and serving trays, can be cleaned at the same time as a complete load of dinner dishes, saving time, electricity, and water. Another option: twin removable trays that can be positioned to allow long-stemmed wine glasses on one side while stowing all the flatware in a rack atop the salad bowls on the other.
You have two options here: a motion sensor in the shank of the faucet that detects the wave of a hand to turn on the water, or a touch-sensitive version that operates with gentle pressure from the back of the wrist or elbow. The benefit is time (and water) saved in clean-up since you don’t have to wash down the handles repeatedly during the course of preparing a meal.
Take your smart kitchen one step further with a seamless, integrated design to keep your space clutter and chaos free.
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