Electricity revolutionized cooking by taking it from all day jobs to those that only take a matter of minutes. Referred to as electric cookers, electric powered cooking devices can include stoves, slow cookers, rice steamers, toasters, and even electric tea kettles. These devices allow us to control the heating and cooking temperatures to meet our needs.
Stoves were designed to apply direct heat through heating coils to replace cooking over an open fire. Over the decades, stoves transformed from fuel-burning appliances to their modern versions which rely on natural gas or electricity. Those that require gas are known to be more cost-efficient while electric stoves tend to cook food more evenly. As stoves became more desirable, advances were made that included glass-ceramic cooktops in place of the iron heating coils.
Not only were these more stylish and easier to clean, but by use of infrared radiation heated and cooled down more quickly (making them safer). Another improvement was the invention of the induction stove which utilizes electromagnetic induction that doesn’t produce flames or heat in the surrounding areas. Induction stoves reduce risk of injury significantly while also being more energy efficient.
Although most western homes come with a stove installed, there are many people who find it simpler to rely on smaller electric cooking appliances to meet their needs. Use of smaller appliances also saves on electricity costs and pose more energy-efficient ways to prepare food.
The slow cooker, or crock pot, is a popular electric cooking device that allows people to throw their meat and vegetables into one device and let the appliance take care of the rest. Slow cookers can be placed on any counter-top and plugged into any standard outlet for power. Simple models have high and low temperatures while others have a digital interface that allows users to choose among numerous levels of heat. While slow cookers are not popular for their speed, thus the name, they do offer easy clean-up and energy efficiency.
Steamers are another popular counter-top electric cooker. Steamers are often used for cooking rice, but can also cook many other foods. Steam cookers lock in certain amounts of air and liquid to produce steam. This hot steam circulates within the vessel to cook the food. Medical experts often recommend steaming food as the best way to cook since this method maintains the most nutrients in food over other cooking methods. Steamers, like slow cookers, also release less heat into the surrounding area.
Manufacturers and individual inventors continue to develop electric cookers and create new cookers that combine advantageous features of various cookers. Recent market releases include appliances like the Sanyo 3-in-1 Multi-Cooker which advertises the ability to steam, grill and slow-cook all with one device. Similar counter-top electric cookers, like the NuWave Infrared Oven, boast of combining conduction, convection and infrared technology to cook food faster and more efficiently. The NuWave Oven boasts of 15% faster cooking times to 85% more energy efficiency over a conventional oven.
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