October 21, 2014

Washing Dishes in Mineral Water?

This may sound like the bottled water craze had gone too far, but hold on, this might not be as inane as it sounds.  This is an innovation featured in the new Siemens speedMatic dishwasher designed to make the drying cycle faster and more efficient by heating up faster than regular H2O.

According to Greenlaunches.com, Siemens have come up with an environment friendly and green zeolitic drying system that has won the Award for Climate Protection and the Environment. Together with the Siemens speedMatic dishwasher, the system is around 20% more efficient than others in the highest energy-efficient category. It uses just 10 liters of mineral water instead of 14 liters per cycle and this technology will now be mass produced. The technology will also find its place in mid-range models and not just high-end ones. Minerals that generate supplementary heat that help shorten the program to less than two hours at 50 degrees Celsius makes it more efficient than other dishwashers around.

This heat is supplied by zeolites that are aluminosilicate minerals with a very large surface area and microporous structure. They absorb 40% of their dry weight in water and give of heat and also the absorbed water.  Conversely, they release the water they stored when they were heated. During the drying cycle, the warm, moist air is channeled into a container under the dishwasher interior space, where there are 1.15 kilograms of zeolites. The mineral absorbs the moisture and releases hot, dry air, making the drying cycle much faster. In the next washing cycle the minerals are regenerated when the moisture is removed from them as the dishwasher is heated up.

At 50 degrees Celsius, for example, the standard program is reduced to just under two hours, about 30 minutes less than is needed by conventional dishwashers. The speedMatic is thus the fastest dishwasher in the AAA (highest-efficiency) class. And thanks to its energySave function, the machine consumes about 20 percent less electricity than the previous best dishwasher in its class. Further attractive features are higher spray pressure for hard-to-clean pots and a clever device for improved dissolution of dishwasher tabs.  And for maximum hygiene, like the level required for baby bottles and cutting boards, the speedMatic’s rinse temperature can be set at over 70 degrees Celsius, which will kill 99.99 percent of all bacteria and germs.

Dishwasher Lasagna

If you read our post on cooking a turkey in the dishwasher and you tried it, we have a second cooking adventure for you: A Lasagna!

A man named Pete at The Warp and The Weft has the whole project mapped out. We’ll share some of it here for you:

The basic steps are as follows and can be found at wikihow.com:

Ingredients:
* 1/2 jar of favorite pasta sauce
* 3 fresh lasagna pasta sheets (or ‘oven ready’ lasagna sheets)
* 1/2 16.8 oz container of Ricotta cheese
* 1/2 package of mixed grated cheese
* 1 cup freshly chopped spinach
* Garlic
* Onion flakes
* Fine herbs

Steps

1.
Cut three 24-inch x 12-inch sheets of aluminum foil and lie flat.
2.
Take first lasagna sheet and place flat it in the center of the aluminum foil.
3.
Spread a thick layer of pasta sauce over the sheet, covering the entire surface.
4.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese and spinach and layer half the mixture on top of the tomato sauce.
5.
Layer desired amount of grated cheese, along with fine herbs, garlic, and onion flakes.


6.
Top with second lasagna sheet and repeat all layers.
7.
Cut third lasagna sheet into strips about 3/8-inch wide and layer on top of lasagna in a criss cross fashion. Top with herbs and spices.
8.
Wrap lasagna tightly in the foil by taking the longest sides of the foil and bringing them to meet above the lasagna.
9.
Fold the edges of the foil together to make a ‘paper bag’ effect (like that you would when folding a brown paper lunch bag)above the lasagna. Begin to fold the edges together downward until you are just above the lasagna.
10.
Flatten the foil out above the lasagna and fold in the remaining sides like a present, first the sides, then the middle.
11.
Place the wrapped lasagna flat in your dishwasher on the bottom rack.


12. Set dishwasher to normal cycle and select ‘heated dry’ and ‘sanitize; settings for maximum heat.

13.Wait for the cycle to complete, then carefully remove lasagna from foil and let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Pete ran into a couple glitches, let us know how yours turns out!

Cook Your Holiday Turkey in the Dishwasher

Here’s something to do while the kids are home from school and you have vacation-itis. Entertain the folks with dinner cooked in the dishwasher.

Cooking Method & Considerations

Allow one 50-minute cycle for every 2lb of weight. Hermetically seal a seasoned turkey inside several appropriate turkey-sized oven bags.

Place the turkey in the dishwasher to steam-cook.

When cooking a turkey, ensure that the temperature of the meat doesn’t rise above the recommended 145f by using a meat thermometer.

Test Run

As a trial run, a 5lb supermarket chicken was cooked in the dishwasher providing impressive results: firm, tender, moist breast meat.

Two cycles were used, and the bird was finished off in the oven to brown and crisp the skin.

Getting a whole turkey cooked this way might take all day, so Electrolux (where I found this wacky idea) suggests their Steam Combination oven as a quicker, (saner?) option.

New Jenn-Air Trifecta Dishwashers

The new Trifecta dishwashers from Jenn-Air, part of an all-new collection of luxury appliances that includes advanced wall ovens, cooktops, refrigerators and ventilation systems, not only promise exceptional cleaning performance, quiet operation, and reduced water and energy use, but a number of added features designed with entertaining in mind.

“Like all of the appliances in our new collection, our latest dishwashers reflect the brand’s shift into the super-premium appliance category,” notes Juliet Johnson, manager of Jenn-Air brand experience. “In addition to providing a level of performance far beyond anything Jenn-Air has ever offered, they include a number of special cycles tailor made for keeping things running smoothly when entertaining.”

These new cycles include a One Hour Wash option that allows for the quick cleaning of dishes before guests arrive, and a Plate Warmer cycle that ensure hot plates to help keep food warm before guests begin dining. A China/Crystal cycle delivers a lower pressure wash spray to gently wash china and crystal, and a SteamClean option for stemware. A Top Rack Only option on select models concentrates cleaning power to the top rack by using the top spray arm, resulting in a shorter cycle that can quickly wash glasses over the course of a wine tasting or dinner party. The same cycle can also be used to clean half loads of several different types of dishes. including standard size dinner plates.

Beyond its Normal Wash and Heavy Wash cycles, the dishwashers feature a Sensor Wash option that gauges load size and food particle levels, adjusting wash cycles accordingly. While all cycles utilize a ClearScan Turbidity Sensor to determine particle levels to manage energy and water use, the Sensor Wash cycle uses both the ClearScan Turbidity Sensor and a temperature sensor to determine load size for a customized cleaning performance on every load.

Other features include a stainless steel tall tub, dual wash zones that concentrate cleaning power by alternating washing action between top and bottom racks, and a variable speed motor that adjusts to save energy and reduce noise. For more effective cleaning with less water use, the Trifecta dishwasher utilizes pressure enhancing wash arms with narrow spray jets that concentrate water flow to accelerate the water’s force. A dual wattage heating element offers the choice of high-performance fast drying when needed, and also provides the necessary power to heat water to the required temperature for a sanitize option. It operates at sound levels ranging from 48 to 42 dBA, less than half the perceived level of casual conversation.

A specially designed three-stage filtration system features a filter plate, a coarse filter cup filter and a microfine filter created to optimize water flow and minimize food particles that can be left inside the filter or redeposited on dishes. Rather than utilizing a screened bottom, the filter cup is bottomless and sealed directly to the dishwasher drain, allowing particles that are captured in the cup to be washed out of the system. The innovative filter design also makes it easier to maintain, with fewer manual cleanings required.

Designed to maximize loading flexibility, the dishwashers feature an adjustable upper rack that is easily removed to accommodate very tall items from lobster pots to long vases.

Other conveniences include cup shelves with integrated stemware holders; a lower rack with a Split & Fit silverware basket that can be split and placed to fit around the dishwasher load; light item clips for small, lightweight items; and onyx black racks with fold down tines and shelves.

Style choices for the new dishwashers include the commercial look of Pro-Style in stainless steel and the sleek, refined Euro-Style options available in Oiled Bronze, black and white Floating Glass and stainless
steel.

Truth in Appliance Energy Labeling

Those yellow energy guide labels we all rely on to pick energy efficient appliances, have come under scrutiny from the US Department of Energy (DOE). As we wrote about in November, manufacturers covet the EnergyStar label and use the yellow sticker to entice buyers.

Those labels may not be as accurate as you think. A review of previous filings for the labels found instances of missing or incorrect information.

The DOE addressed the problem this month by giving manufacturers 30 days to provide accurate information on their products’ energy use. Also, it promised to take a tougher stance to enforce energy-efficiency standards.

The agency said makers of such products as refrigerators, dishwashers and air conditioners have until Jan. 8 to provide the information, which is primarily used to certify that the appliances meet minimum energy-efficiency standards

Sears Dishwasher Rebate Hard to Get

On Black Friday, Sears offered free installation on select Kenmore dishwashers in the form of a rebate coupon. The coupon is pretty simple to understand as far as these things go–buy one of the listed models, and Sears will pay for the installation. According to William, however, the listed model that he wanted remained out of stock only for the duration of the coupon. When he asked Sears to honor it the next day, they agreed to–but then after he bought the dishwasher they told him he had broken a nonexistent rule and therefore had voided the coupon.

Here’s William’s story as found on consumerist.com:

“Over the Black Friday to Cyber Monday period, I attempted to purchase a dishwasher from Sears.com that had been heavily discounted and included a free installation coupon. Checking the Sears.com website I found it curious that from the time Black Friday had begun, to the sunset of the coupon, the dishwasher (Kenmore Elite #1318) seemed to be out of stock around the country (I checked multiple zip codes).
Perhaps most interesting was that when I stopped by a Sears store and inquired about the availability of the dishwasher, they too were very surprised to find that the item was out of stock around the country. Of course, as soon as the coupon expired, the item was suddenly back in stock on both Sears website, and in the store.

Armed with this rather curious information, I contacted Sears.com and asked them to explain the coincidence, or perhaps to offer to honor the now expired coupon. They came back to me and told me that they would honor the coupon and that all I would need is to send them an order number as soon as I purchased the dishwasher. Given the tough economy and the helpful service I received at the Sears store just days earlier, I decided to try and purchase the dishwasher through the store and thus give them a bit of business. Following my purchase, I obtained a “sales check number” and contacted Sears.com thinking that this would suffice to receive the rebate. Sears.com came back to me and told me that the number was not in their system, and that I should check again with the store. I contacted the store and asked them if the order had been processed… they informed me it had, so I went back to Sears.com.

During my conversation with their representative, I was informed that Sears.com could not honor their commitment as I had purchased the item in a store as opposed to the website. I informed the representative that there was no requirement in either the original coupon or in the emails that they had sent to me. They informed me that there was nothing that they could do.

Thankfully, the store that I purchased the dishwasher from has decided to waive my installation charges. However, I don’t see why they have to foot the bill when this is a Sears.com problem.”

You can view the coupon here.

Getting Dry Dishes

One of the simplest ways to save a little money and energy is to let your dishes air dry after they are washed in the dishwasher. Simply use the wash only cycle and open the dishwasher door as soon as the cycle finishes. The dishes will be very hot and will dry quickly.

If you are still using the dry setting on your dishwasher and find that the dishes are wet when the cycle is complete, first check that you really programmed the washer for the heat dry setting, then check to see if the rinse aid dispenser needs filling, evaluate how well the dishes are loaded, and make sure a large item doesn’t block smaller items.

Here are some additional problems to check:

Did you use the proper amount of detergent? Too little or too much detergent can have an affect on how well dishes dry.

The next things to check are the filters, drain valve, drying fan, heating element, and the thermostat. Sometimes a clogged filter will prevent all the water from being able to exit the unit. Clean or replace clogged filters. A faulty drain valve that leaves too much water in the cabinet can be to blame. Is there too much standing water left in the unit after the dry cycle is complete? Check for blockages at this valve.

Some dishwashers have a fan that circulates the cabinet air to help dry the dishes. If the fan is not working properly, you need to replace it. At the bottom of the dishwasher is a heating element that warms the air in the dishwasher. The increased temperature speeds up the evaporation process and decreases the drying time. Visually inspect the element and look for any burned or broken areas on it, and if it’s burned out or if you can’t measure continuity with it removed, it will need to be replaced.

There is also a thermostat that measures the water temperature and drying temperature. If the thermostat is faulty, the cycles may not complete properly. If it’s faulty, you need to replace it. You may want to unload the dishes in the bottom rack first so that any water left pooled on dishes in the top rack won’t spill onto the bottom rack’s dishes.

Get Cleaner Dishes Out of Your Dishwasher

We’re always scouring the web for the best appliance tips. Recently The New York Times offered this advice:

    Simply scrape your dishes, don’t pre-wash. The detergent goes after the food.

    Use just enough detergent. This is determined by how dirty they are, not how many dishes are in the load.

    Powdered detergent works better than liquid or tablets.

    Load properly, glasses on top, pots and pans on the bottom and don’t let items nest together. You can check your manual for the best way to load your particular dishwasher. Also, don’t impede the free movement of the sprayer arm.

    Streaks and spots are caused by water droplets and are not permanent. A rinse aid will help prevent them.

My favorite tip: Open the dishwasher immediately after the cycle ends. The dishes are at their hottest and will dry very quickly, leaving shiny dishes with no spots.