Tasty new features

You – and your castle – deserve the very best. So savour the style and savings of new-generation appliances and help save energy and money. The planet will thank you.

by Vicky Sanderson

It used to be that the cottage was the place aging, wonky, or poorly functioning appliances went to die, and that “making do” was seen as a way to both save money and embrace the simple life. In fact, these kitchen has-beens are likely simply wasting money through energy consumption and food spoilage, while complicating cleaning and maintenance and causing homeowners to miss out on tasty features newer kitchen appliances can offer.

Features like sous-vide brings sophistication to cottage cooking.

Home on the range

In vacation homes where lots of entertaining is done, larger-format ranges with culinary bells and whistles can be a worthwhile investment. There’s no shortage of generously-sized, feature-rich units right now.

This June, Monogram will launch a 5.75-cubic-foot Pro Range, which has upgraded grill/griddle covers with protective bumpers, fully customizable accent lighting, and WiFi/Bluetooth.

Foodies will appreciate precision cooking modes like reverse-air convection, no-preheat air frying, three full-extension, self-clean oven racks and a temperature probe.

Another versatile option: Monogram’s 30-inch five-in-one-oven. It functions as a convection or toaster oven, warming/proofing oven, precision oven and microwave. Some four times faster than a conventional oven – without pre-heating – it can roast a full chicken in minutes, which makes it helpful for last-minute dinner invites and fast family dinners.

In other robust ranges, Italian luxury brand Fulgor Milano has the Sofia series, designed in Europe and engineered for the North American market, with brass burners, easy-to-clean matte-black burner bowls and soft-close, four-glass panel doors. Optional door kits in red, black, grey and white are available, allowing an injection of the kind of colour that works so well in a country kitchen.

Clean and dry

Standard-size dishwashers with up-to-date Energy Star ratings are, for example, on average 12 per cent more energy efficient and 30 per cent more water efficient than standard models. They cost about $35 a year to run and will save an average 3,870 gallons of water over their lifetime.

Newer models also clean more effectively than older ones, which means less work for the clean-up crew.

Dishwasher technology now includes features like soil sensors that measure dirt levels and adjust the cycle to minimize water and energy use, water-filtration systems that remove food soil from wash water so detergent works more efficiently, and strategic dish-rack design that improves reach.

TIP: Want even more efficient cleaning and lower energy bills? Scrape, but don’t rinse, dishes, use the air-dry feature and always choose the setting that matches the load.

Superior refrigeration can reduce waste because food stays fresher longer.

Cool as a cucumber

Just as intelligent water use is especially important in rural areas, efficient, flexible refrigeration has become key to the well-appointed cottage kitchen. An Energy Star fridge, for example, uses on average 10 per cent less energy; some models use up to 50 per cent less! So, if you do happen to be renovating a kitchen in a primary residence, do recycle the old unit rather than haul it to the cottage.

Just as importantly, newer fridges come with all sorts of useful perks, like those available in French-door options from Bosch. Its “FarmFresh” system includes an adjustable bar that frees up unused space. An app can remotely monitor and control temperature and lighting, or run diagnostics, and another program balances temperature and humidity on preprogrammed settings for specific foods. That means food is more likely to stay fresh from weekend to weekend, which saves you time, money and hassle in the kitchen.

LED lights in a glare-free interior makes it easier to see what’s there – and what needs to be used up – while reducing electricity bills.

Cocktail hour

For wine lovers, Signature Kitchen Suite has an integrated column wine refrigerator that combines old-world wine-cave values with new-wave technology – including protection against UV light and vibrations – and optimal humidity maintenance.

For those who like their drinks mixed and chilled, LG’s InstaView refrigerator – also Energy Star rated – makes rounded ice (craft ice) to keep sodas, iced coffee and cocktails colder longer.

Countertop gotta haves

Capsule coffee makers can cater to a weekend crowd with different tastes.
A cordless countertA cordless countertop simplifies life.op simplifies life.

Clutter-free countertops make any kitchen look and function better, whether it’s a primary or vacation home. So the appliances that do get to occupy coveted countertop real estate really need to earn their keep. Here are a few smaller foot-print models that save space,

energy, and effort:

KitchenAid blends its trademark performance with convenience in a wireless collection that includes a mini-chopper, hand-blender and hand-held mixer. All are powered by lithium-ion batteries; the blender does about 25 bowls of soup on a full charge. Keep in mind that not only do these pieces keep the counter tidier, they’re useful when the power goes out.

Craving crispy fries with the burger that just came off the barbeque? Want also to avoid the fat, calories and mess of a deep fryer? Consider the Ninja Air Fryer Sheet Oven, a super-slim

countertop model that bakes, air fries and roasts, keeps warm and dehydrates. It toasts up to nine pieces of bread, making it a nice fit for those big family breakfasts on the weekends. Use it indoors to broil a steak on rainy days. As a bonus, it can help keep the kitchen cooler during the dog days: preheat time is 60 seconds. But wait, there’s more. When not in use, the unit can be flipped on its side and tucked under an upper cabinet. Very clever.

Cottage life without coffee is unimaginable, so it’s fortunate that great flavour can be had with small-scale coffee makers. Consider a model like Nespresso’s Vertuo, which uses branded (recyclable) capsules to make a fresh delicious cup each and every time. A variety of blends also means everyone can enjoy the blend and brew of their choice. If even that’s too much of a counter commitment, think about investing in a convenient and discrete built-in unit.

Vicky Sanderson has been writing about home and decor for over 20 years and has an exceptional grasp on everything from paint to pillows, tools to textiles, gadgets to garden tools.