Design Explained –
Clean, Clean, Clean!

We don’t like mold. We don’t like burnt-on grease. We don’t like calcium buildup. What we do like are intelligently designed products that are easy to clean!

Our final post in the Design Explained series for the year explains how many of our products, ranging from home use to commercial use, are smartly designed to be easy to clean.

Removable Inner Lid of a Rice Cooker

Our product designers and engineers ask fundamental questions like:

  • Are the surfaces, grooves, threads and spaces between components large enough for thorough cleaning but small enough to prevent food from falling through?
  • Are there areas where food can get stuck and spoil and how can they be cleaned?
  • Will the area be easy to access for thorough cleaning?

In answering these questions, they realized that four key characteristics about our product design make them particularly easy to clean – their shape, the ability to disassemble their parts, the ability to remove components when necessary and the materials and finishes used to make the products.

Grooves of the Indoor Grill

Our Indoor Grills, Vacuum Insulated Mugs & Bottles and Vacuum Insulated Food Jars are prime examples of how the shape of the product influences its cleanability. Our Indoor Grills are designed with slightly rounded grooves that prevent food from falling through the grill, while also making it easy to wash away fats and food particles from inside the grooves. Our stainless mugs and food jars have wide mouths, making them not only easy to fill but also easy to clean with mild detergent, warm water and a sponge. And the lid of our Commercial Stainless Vacuum Creamer / Dairy Server is funnel-shaped with minimal threading to prevent dairy from getting stuck in the grooves and spoiling.

One Piece Lid with Minimal Threading

For some products, such as our Vacuum Insulated Mugs & Bottles, the ability to disassemble the components in the lids makes all the difference when it comes to thoroughly cleaning them. So often, liquids get stuck inside lid components, creating bad odors and causing mold. Disassembling all of the parts of the lid allows for thorough cleaning and continued hygienic use.

Disassembling Lid

Our Rice Cookers are just as easy to clean, even with all of the electronic components. The inner lids are removable, so that any stuck-on bits of food and dried on cooking liquids can be washed off without wetting the base of the appliance. The same applies to our Coffee Makers. They’re made with removable coffee filter baskets that can be thoroughly cleaned, so your coffee is fresh, without having to submerge the entire appliance.

Removable Water Tank

The materials and finishes we use in our product engineering directly influence how easy our products are to clean. This facet is integral to each product. Whether it’s the nonstick coating in the baking pans in our Breadmakers or nonstick interior in most of our Water Boiler & Warmers, these surfaces are engineered to repel odors, discoloration and buildup. For example, the inner pans in our breadmakers are removable and can simply be cleaned with mild detergent, warm water and a sponge, just like many of our other products. Our water boilers can get an even deeper yet gentle cleaning with our Citric Acid Cleaner (CD-K03EJU), which dissolves calcium buildup, instead of letting it flake off into the electronic components. These materials and finishes make cleaning and maintaining your appliances much simpler, prolonging their use and your investment.

We hope you’ll check out each of these products, and as always, love it when you share your stories with us. Have a wonderful end to 2019 and prosperous New Year!

Bert-san’s Take—Zojirushi Toaster Oven

What can you do in a Toaster Oven? I thought about avocado toast, but that sounded too easy. On the other hand, I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew, you know what I mean? So I decided to try a homemade pop tart because there were lots of recipes online…and I like pop tarts!

First thing I found out was that I didn’t have to make my own pie crust because—who knew? They sell ready made crust at the supermarket! Jeez, I had no idea, honestly.


But I still had to roll out the dough…


…and lay it out as best as I could on the baking pan. (See what I did there with the parchment paper to prevent sticking?)


Then I spread the jam. I used a mango passion fruit jam instead of strawberry because I wanted it tart and not too sweet.


I placed another square of pie crust over the jam and poked holes in it to let steam out, according to the recipe. The edges were sealed with grooves made with a fork. It’s lookin’ good!


Then it goes into my Zojirushi Toaster Oven and bakes for 20 minutes or so at 375°F.


So then the recipe says to make your icing while I’m waiting for my pop tart to bake—so I did! Pretty simple; it’s just powdered sugar and water.


Ding!! Looks all golden brown and everything! I see how there’s a hot spot in the back, but it’s not that bad.


My finished pop tart won’t win any beauty prizes, but it tasted pretty good! The choice of the passion fruit jam was spot on, but my icing didn’t spread well because I made it too thick (lesson learned).

What else can you do with a Toaster Oven? How about roasting chestnuts?

Just pierce the shell with little “X” marks with a knife, add a little water to the pan, and pop them in for like 35 minutes at 425°F.


Ta-dah!

Overall my Zojirushi Toaster Oven ET-WMC22 performed very well. The size is very compact, so it’s perfect for a single person or a small family like ours. The included baking pan is heavy duty and not flimsy, so that’s a bonus. And the automatic pull-out rack made it easy to load and remove my pop tart.

 

 

Images by Bert Tanimoto

 

 

 

 

Foreign Foods in Japan –
Piroshiki!

So many of our Foreign Foods in Japan have come from Europe, the US and China, so this month we’re finally focusing on Japan’s neighbor to the north…Russia!

Piroshiki are hand-held dough pockets filled with various types of fillings. The original dish from Russia is spelled as pirozhki, piroshki or when plural, pirogi or pierogi. In Russia, pirozhki can be found all over the place, made at home, in restaurants and at street food stalls. The Russian version is commonly filled with meat, vegetables, cheese and infrequently fish, when savory, or with fruit and jam when sweet. The dough is typically a yeast dough, leavened and brushed with egg wash, and the entire pocket is baked in a hot oven…perfect for the cold Russian climate!

Pierogi

In Japan, pirozhki were adapted to Japanese taste and cooking methods. One account states that this dish was introduced to Japan after WWII, and the original Japanese piroshiki were filled with minced onions, boiled eggs and ground beef and deep-fried, instead of baked. Another states that Miyo Nagaya, a Japanese chef from Tokyo, became interested in the cuisine of Russia and Central Asia, and opened a restaurant in Tokyo in 1951, where she modified the Russian dish to Japanese tastes.

Piroshiki

Today, piroshiki can be found at bakeries and restaurants in Japan and frying is still the most common way of preparing the dish. Typical fillings range from ground meat, fish and vegetables such as onions, carrots and shiitake mushrooms. One delicious and unique Japanese-centric filling is cooked and chopped up harusame glass noodles, which add incredible texture and umami to the piroshiki. Some believe that piroshiki were the inspiration for kare-pan or curry pan, which is a beloved Japanese deep-fried dough pocket filled with curry flavored ingredients.

Kare-pan

No matter where you get your piroshiki in Japan, you’re sure to enjoy this hot pocket. Have you had it? Have you made it? Share your favorite recipe with us below!

Product Inspirations –
Premium Thermal Carafe Ichimatsu Collection (AFFB-10)

Our vacuum insulated mugs, bottles and carafes come with three different types of innovative inner linings…our nonstick coating, our SlickSteel® electro-polished stainless steel, and our gorgeous glass liners.

Zojirushi Glass Liner

Our glass liner is part of our new Premium Thermal Carafe Ichimatsu Collection (AFFB-10). This carafe extends our line of glass lined carafes, including the Glass Vacuum Carafe (AH-EAE10) designed by British designer David Tong of The Division, the Euro Carafe (AG-KB10) and the Premium Thermal Carafe (AFFB-10S/19S).

Ichimatsu Collection

The Ichimatsu Collection carafe comes in white or black finishes and holds 34 oz. or 1.0 L of liquid. It features a one-touch pour, an easy-to-press side push open/close button and a comfortable handle for quick and easy serving. It also accommodates most brewing attachments for added convenience.

The truly unique and smart design of this carafe stems from the vacuum insulated glass liner that makes up the easy-to-clean interior, and the Ichimatsu pattern on the exterior.

The Ichimatsu pattern hold great historical and cultural significance in Japan. The pattern is a traditional Japanese two-toned checkerboard design that originated during the Edo Period (1603-1868) when a famous Kabuki actor, Sanogawa Ichimatsu, wore pants with the checkerboard pattern on stage. His style became so popular that the pattern was named after him. The pattern and finish of the Premium Thermal Carafe pays homage to this iconic design.

Glass Liner

Along with the stylish exterior, the glass lined interior offers an odor and stain resistant surface so beverages stay fresh. The glass liner is made of two layers of strong, durable and hygenic borosilicate glass, molded into the perfect shape at our factory in Osaka, Japan. The air between the two layers of glass is removed to create powerful vacuum insulation and the interior cavity between the two layers of glass is coated with silver plating to give it heat reflecting properties. We even have a cool video showing you how it’s done!

This new carafe is a great addition to your home or office table, and can be used for cold or hot beverages, including water, tea, coffee and so on. Learn more about it on our website or through our product video at https://youtu.be/VuG3K0Uyao8.

Bert-san’s Take—Zojirushi Breadmaker

Who knew I could actually bake? And that my Rainbow Bread could look so beautiful? I mean, I cannot believe I did this just by following instructions (which I’m really good at) and literally pushing a button. BUT…I’m taking credit where credit is due; even though this crazy amazing breadmaker by Zojirushi does all the heavy lifting, I did have to make the rainbow part, and it wasn’t easy.

Indeed, the trickiest part of baking with the breadmaker might very well be reading the manual. It’s written out pretty well, but for a novice like me, I read and re-read it so I wouldn’t screw up, and I still managed to stumble on a few steps. I baked with the Zojirushi Home Bakery Maestro® (BB-SSC10), which is perfect for us because it’s compact and bakes a 1-lb. loaf; we can’t eat that much in a span of 3-days anyway.

The first thing I did was line up all my ingredients for a simple, basic white bread—flour, dried milk, sugar, salt, unsalted butter, dry yeast and water. Then I studied:

After carefully measuring all the ingredients, I started to load the baking pan, and promptly forgot to add the yeast last so it wouldn’t get wet. This is what it’s supposed to look like (my second try), with the water underneath all those dry ingredients, and the yeast sitting on top.

Then the breadmaker does the rest—which is great if you’re baking plain white bread, but I was planning Rainbow Bread, so I was supposed to interrupt the cycle to add food coloring to the dough. My second mistake—I set the cycle wrong so I had to let it go and settle for plain white bread this first time around. Oh well, I needed a test run anyway!

The unveiling of the finished loaf! So exciting! And it smelled soooo good!

Not bad for a first try. The golden color was great, and it didn’t collapse on me—LOL! And by the way, the fresh bread tasted like…homemade bread! Moist and warm. If you decide to keep it for a few days, I’d recommend toasting it by the 3rd day. Trust me, you’ll still love it.

Here’s how I did my Rainbow Bread. The Breadmaker has a homemade setting, which allows you to take out the dough after it’s been kneaded and before it bakes. This gives you some time to do whatever you want to the dough—like add extra ingredients, or in my case, add food coloring. The dough is very sticky, but if you have enough flour on your hands, it’s manageable.

Then you flatten it, stack it, and roll it up!

After you reload it into the Breadmaker, the cycle starts up again, and the machine does the rest. The longest wait time is by far this part—the dough sits and rests to give it time to rise, and then finally bakes. The total from start to end was about 3-1/2 hours (not including the coloring part). But doesn’t it look amazing? Like a sculpture, if I do say so myself!

I have to admit this was a lot of fun and was an awesome weekend family activity. I can’t wait to try the other breads on the menu, like European and the Cinnamon bread; my family wants to do more Rainbow bread in pastel colors!

 

 

Images by Bert Tanimoto and @ironchefmom