Reviewed.com compared AGA Mercury to the heft of a luxury car and hailed it for its exquisite precision, insisting it’s unlike any oven ever seen. Kitchen & Bath Business listed AGA Mercury as one of the new hottest cooking appliances. And, it clearly has an appealing aesthetic that breaks through the cluttered market of kitchen appliances. But what exactly can the AGA Mercury do? Find out why people are choosing the AGA Mercury range with this up-close look.
How the Right Refrigerator Can Reduce Wasteful Food Spoilage
Your refrigerator could be a friend or foe in the kitchen, depending on the quality of food preservation it provides. Choose the right one, and you’ll cut back on wasteful food spoilage and needless trips to the grocery store.
Here’s how to cool down on the unnecessary surplus of food costs.
Spoiled Food Spoils Your Budget
American families throw away about 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy. That’s up to $2,275 each year, wasted, for the average family of four. On a macro scale, that’s 40 percent of food (or $165 billion) in the United States, uneaten.
Fresh fruits and vegetables account for the largest waste, followed closely by dairy, and proteins like meat, poultry and fish. The primary causes of food spoilage are poor refrigeration storage, low interior visibility to see all contents available to eat, partially used ingredients and misjudged food needs.
The Cold Facts: How to Keep Food Fresh, Longer
Refrigeration has been a part of our culture for 125 years or more, and became essential in American kitchens before the end of World War II. However, most Americans today still are unaware of what it takes to keep foods safe in the fridge, nor how to prolong storage life.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that most consumers do not understand the consequences of storing foods at the wrong temperature. And, only 4 in 10 are aware that eating food stored higher than 40°F will increase the likelihood of foodborne illness.
Food preservation is a science of the proper storage environment. The key to how long food will last is directly related to the cooling performance of your refrigerator. Storing food at 40°F or below will delay bacterial growth and freezing below 32°F places bacteria in a dormant state, inhibiting growth.
Let’s take a look at one of the most delicate items to store: fruit. Refrigeration is proven to control the ripening process. For example, fruits that ripen on the plant need to be preserved after picking to delay deterioration. These include strawberries, grapes, cherries, apples, blueberries, raspberries, tangerines, oranges, limes and blackberries.
Most fruits that continue to ripen after harvest can be stored at room temperature until they reach peak ripeness, then placed in the refrigerator to preserve it and prevent early spoilage. These kinds of fruits are avocados, pears, plum and tomatoes. Cut fruit always requires refrigeration, as it exposes more of the fruit to microbes and bacterial contamination, accelerating the ripening process.
Buyer Beware: Not All Refrigerators Cool the Same
Stay clear of refrigerators with fluctuating temperature swings and stratified cooling within the compartment. This kind of erratic cooling environment can release moisture, which leads to mold and microbe growth and inevitably premature spoilage.
And, setting the control to 40°F doesn’t necessarily mean the compartment is 40°F throughout. In competitive product testing conducted by Marvel Refrigeration, certain models from other brands were unable to maintain a consistent compartment temperature like Marvel products can. In some cases, the top shelf area was 12°F warmer than the bottom shelf, an unstable storage environment that is not ideal for perishables.
Considered a premium refrigeration option, Marvel’s line of full-size and undercounter refrigerators rapidly cool down food to preservation temperature and maintain an even temperature and stable environment. This minimizes the moisture evaporation that can lead to mold growth and degraded food quality. Some models include a moisture-control evaporator to remove excess humidity and ion air purifier to eliminate airborne bacteria, mold spores and odors.
Look for Models with Specialty Storage Bins for Specific Foods
Some full size refrigerator brands like Marvel Refrigeration offer dedicated storage such as dairy compartments, deli drawers for meats and cheeses and humidity-adjustable drawers for vegetables and fruit.
More than just a convenient feature, these specialized compartments are engineered to provide the ideal environment for specific food items, ultimately prolonging shelf life.
The Importance of Good Lighting
Poor interior visibility is also a big factor in food spoilage. Simply by being able to see all your food options, you can prioritize the stored food you eat by its expiration date and expected shelf life.
We’ve all probably experienced this personally on more than one occasion, when leftovers are hiding in a dark corner and forgotten about until a horrific rotting smell alerts you of their presence. Well-distributed refrigeration lighting helps you determine what’s there and also what needs to be eaten sooner than later.
Consider models with well-dispersed bright white LED lighting that fill the interior with light from corner to corner, leaving no area overlooked.
Buying a New Refrigerator? Look For These Qualities.
When it comes time to replace your full size refrigerator, be sure to look at these factors to know you’re choosing a model that will preserve your food longer and prevent wasteful food loss from early spoilage.
- Dynamic Cooling Technology or forced air cooling with precise temperature control
- Specific compartments for dedicated food storage (dairy, meats and cheese, produce)
- Ion air purifier
- Bright LED lighting
- ENERGY STAR® rating a plus, the indicator of energy-efficient performance
There are also plenty of undercounter options to expand your food preservation capabilities in the kitchen, like refrigerator drawers, beverage centers, all refrigerators, freezers and other built-in appliances that tuck in flush with your lower kitchen cabinets.
Invest in a top-performing refrigerator, and you’ll find it pays out in dividends over the years by reducing grocery bills and energy costs. After all, our parents were right: Food is meant to be eaten, not wasted. Especially when it hits our pocketbooks.
Recommended Products to Extend Food Shelf Life:
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The following is an excerpt from our archives and a historical look at our company before it became Marvel Refrigeration. This is the story of Ranney Refrigerator Company.
The Ranney Refrigerator Company, founded by Frederick E. Ranney, was originally incorporated and started in business in Greenville, Michigan, at its present location in 1892. For over a half century the company has grown through knowledge and experience gained and imparted from father to sons…three generations of planning and producing better refrigerators.
Prior to 1930, the company was primarily engaged in the manufacture of ice refrigerators sold nationally through furniture and hardware outlets. However, both wood and metal cabinets were produced for several electric refrigerator manufacturers during that period.
During the 1930s, the company manufactured household electric refrigerators on contract, including such names as Westinghouse, Universal Cooler and Zenith. In addition, a line of “air-conditioned” ice refrigerators was marketed nationally through the ice industry with the company’s own sales force. These ice refrigerators bore the trade name “ECONOM-ICER”.
Pearl Harbor found the Ranney Refrigerator Company prepared and ready to serve in the National Defense…Designing and manufacturing accessories for 40 mm Bofors Automatic Cannon; accessories for 20 mm Oerliken Automatic Cannon; propelling charge retainers for 75 mm and 105 mm artillery ammunition; parts for parachute flares and various kinds of containers and parts for Army Ordnance and Naval Ordnance, the Quartermaster Corps and Signal Corps.
The company continued in this manner throughout the war, maintaining a fine defense production record; at one time producing over 30 different products, all on a subcontract basis, for over twenty different customers including such companies as General Motors Corporation, Hudson Motor Car Company, Liquid Carbonic Corporation, American Oerliken Gazda, Rex Manufacturing Company, Fruehauf Trailer Corporation, Chrysler Corporation and others.
When hostilities ended, normal “private label” electric refrigerator production was resumed under such brand names as COPELAND, WORTHINGTON, CO-OP, MONITOR, L & H, ALDENS, ARMAID, SUPRE-MACY, BELKNAP, GILSON and REMA.
Navel Ordnance Development Award
The Ranney Refrigerator Company was cited by the United States Navy with the “Naval Ordnance Development Award” for outstanding performance in connection with the research and development of the 20 mm Sight, Mark 5, Mod O, and the 20 mm Twin Gun Mount, Mark 24, Mod 5. This distinguished service citation was made possible through the fine spirit of cooperation and diligent effort on the part of all employees.
The Ranney Refrigerator Company maintained a complete Engineering Department. This department designed, styled and engineered complete refrigerators to the customer specifications. In addition, this department operated a Product Development Laboratory for the development of new products through testing and analysis of experimental models. The facilities of the Engineering Department were available to customers requiring products other than refrigerators as were all the other company facilities.
The Sheet Metal Department Press Room was well equipped to do light and medium stampings. Monorail steel handling equipment serviced the full Press Room width and expedited efficient line production from the steel storage bays through square and rotary shears direct to the bank of presses. Press Room facilities, in addition to standard metal working equipment, included a 175-ton capacity Thunder Bay Press, a 170-ton capacity Verson Press Brake, and specialized equipment including a Tishkin 14 Roll, Roll Forming Mill and a Struthers-Wells high speed Tangent Bender.
Associated with the Press Room, the company maintained a small Tool & Die Department to make small dies, jigs and fixtures and, for tool and tie maintenance.
Metal Fabrication and Finishing
The Metal Fabrication and Finishing Department was supplied from the Press Room and parts storage areas by both power and gravity conveyor systems. Department facilities included arc, gas and spot welding equipment. Skilled personnel operated traveling overhead gun welders, fixed pedestal welder stations, and specialized expansion gun welding fixtures for both line production and job lot application. This department also included complete facilities for metal finishing, grinding and buffing.
The Paint Department was laid out for hi-bake Dulux finishing. An overhead chain conveyor system carried parts through a six stage Bonderite treatment, dry off, prime spray, prime bake, finish spray and finish bake. The conveyor system then delivered finished parts to an inspection station at the head of the assembly lines.
Paint Department equipment included two 20′ DeVilbiss Spray Booths and both gas and oil fired Drying Ovens complete with all safety devices.
The entire second floor of the plant was devoted to assembly operations. Straight line production methods were utilized throughout with feeder lines both powered and gravity conveyed. The refrigerators move down motorized assembly lines through the specialized charging manifolds and on to the refrigerator constant temperature testing room. Here each refrigerator was individually tested for a minimum of three hours. From the constant temperature testing room, refrigerators were returned to the main production line for final assembly inspection and through the Packing Department for crating. Crated refrigerators were then conveyed to the warehouse storage areas.
The entire assembly line was easily adaptable to job requirements. Ample assembly floor area and flexibility of operation stations make possible a daily production of up to 400 complete units.
It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our dear friend and respected colleague, Robert Turnbull, fondly known as Bob the Beer Engineer to us and his devoted readers.
The senior project engineer for Marvel, Bob poured a lifetime of experience into our undercounter product line and was significant in the development of Marvel’s award-winning beer dispensers and wine refrigerators. He was also one helluva brew master and craft beer aficionado. It’s because of these talents that we started calling him Bob the Beer Engineer, a nickname that stuck.
A creative and inventive engineer, Bob could work his way to the top of any design challenge to create innovative appliances that we could all be proud of. And, he did it all with a sense of humor and a contagious laugh that could turn your day right side up. If you asked him how he was doing, you could bet his reply would be, “Living the dream!”
Deeply entrenched in his craft, Bob cared about his work—and the people. He enjoyed listening to customer “wish lists” to develop a demanded product beyond their expectations. And it was something he did very well. For 12 great years, we were fortunate to have his visionary thinking and practical expertise among our brain trust of engineers.
Bob once said:
Drinking good beer is done for many reasons. Sometimes we drink to socialize with friends, sometimes to remember old friends, and sometimes just to remember.
Bob, we raise our beer glasses skyward in admiration of you and all the contributions you made to bring out the best in homes across America. Cheers to a friend that we shall drink with again in another place, in another time.
In honor of his legacy, let’s take a look back at the writings he shared with us.
114-Year-Old Montreat Heritage Home Renovated with AGA Legacy Appliances
When it comes to historic preservation, Tom and Katie Widmer of Montreat, North Carolina, are with the times. The couple decided to winterize their summer cottage, originally built in 1903, and convert it to a year-round permanent residence. They enlisted Hive Interior Design to modernize their 114-year-old home, while honoring its turn-of-the-century architectural details. Part and parcel with the overall design, the appliances were just as important as the rest. After careful research, the couple selected a full suite of AGA Legacy kitchen appliances to emulate the historic qualities of the home.
Tom Widmer describes the vintage-style range as the focal point of his kitchen, “You enter in through the arched cottage door into the family room, and the first thing you see dead ahead is the Legacy range!”
We caught up with the couple to get details on their new AGA kitchen, including before and after photos.
Why did you choose AGA Legacy appliances for your kitchen?
We were intent on keeping the cottage feel of this Montreat Heritage House (one of the original houses built at Montreat). We looked at all the brands and didn’t find any that matched the look/feel we were striving for, until we found the AGA Legacy Range. Its look was exactly what we wanted. Then when we learned about its functionality, features and terrific reviews, we knew there was no other option besides AGA. Although the refrigerator and dishwasher were more contemporary in style, they still matched well not only with the range but the entire look of the kitchen. In retrospect, AGA was an excellent decision.
Tell us more about your kitchen design. What do you like best?
Keeping the “cottage” feel and historical context was extremely important to us. Thus, we did some things reminiscent of the period, like marble and soapstone counter tops, antique fixtures over the island and dining room table and using our antique Hoosier cabinet instead of additional contemporary cabinets. But our favorite element was the repurposing of the old heart pine flooring from the original 1903 kitchen. Notice the wood used in the sink cabinet, the hood above the range, and the window trim. It is the repurposed kitchen floor. We also used it on three sides of the island.
Any design challenges you encountered?
We were hoping to be able to use the efficient “triangle” of kitchen appliance/sink layout. But to do so would have obviated our use of the Hoosier cabinet, as it was a natural location for the refrigerator. We felt it was important to place the Hoosier cabinet where we did and ended up lining up the refrigerator and sink on the same wall. It was a good decision, and we don’t feel we’ve given up any kitchen efficiency. We love the look of the refrigerator where it is.
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You might have been in this situation before: you return home with a carload of groceries for your upcoming party, and now you’re trying to stack everything into your kitchen refrigerator like a game of Tetris. Are you left to decide what you’re going to leave out at room temperature?
Make hosting parties a breeze without stressing over where to store the extra food and drinks with the storage versatility of an undercounter refrigerator. Capable of storing a combination of extra-large food platters, wine bottles, 12-oz cans, 2-L bottles, 6-packs and more, Marvel offers plenty of solutions to keep your guests quenched and satiated.
Here are four clever ways to help you store more for home entertaining.
1. 3-in-1 Convertible Shelving
A removable glass pane reveals a bonus wine rack option, so you can adapt the shelving configuration to store food, beverages or wine. It works as a great “libation station” to provide plenty of drink choices for your guests. (Available on select models.)
2. Fully Adjustable Cantilevered Shelving
No need to cram or stack items (usually at the peril of the next person who opens the door). Cantilevered shelving allows you to raise or lower shelving to the height of the items you’re storing. Simply lift and remove and slide into the runner level you want.
3. Tall Item Storage
Never lay milk on its side ever again! Certain models provide a half-width interior shelf and extra door storage to accommodate for high-clearance vertical storage for 2-liter bottles, large milk jugs and other tall items.
4. MaxStore Bin
An elegant catch-all, the clear-view MaxStore bin helps you organize loose or bulky items, and it’s capable of storing as much as 15 pounds of fresh produce, four wine bottles or 22 cans!
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The latest wave of kitchen appliances disproves the typical American belief that bigger is better. New multi-oven designs from AGA demonstrate that smaller ovens provide far bigger benefits in terms of energy efficiency, cooking versatility and performance than traditional single oven designs.
Consumers often look for the biggest oven they can buy, assuming it equates to better cooking performance. When really, all that capacity is completely unnecessary for the typical family meal, and it’s limiting when you want to cook more than one dish at the same time.
More ovens, less wasteful energy use
The most efficient way to cook, multi-oven ranges maximize the kitchen footprint by splitting the cooking cavity into separate ovens, each with its own temperature control. This offers versatility to cook items large or small using only the ovens required, which conserves energy compared to heating one large cavity every time. It’s this resourceful design that earned AGA multi-oven ranges a European efficiency rating of A or higher.
People who entertain frequently will find multi-oven designs offer the most cooking versatility in a kitchen range. Rather than juggling cook times and temperatures for a Thanksgiving dinner, a full meal can be prepared simultaneously.
The swiss army knife of cooking appliances, AGA multi-oven ranges are designed to be a major workhorse in the kitchen. Three separate ovens provide European convection, 7-mode multifunction cooking and dual-element broiling. And, our ovens are capable of fitting a 25-lb turkey.
Simultaneous cooking with no flavor transfer
Roasting a chicken and baking a cake at the same time can prove to be a challenge with single oven designs. Not only is there only one temperature setting, but sputtering sauces or drippings can mix between dishes and affect taste. And, the convection heat of most single oven ranges carries food moisture throughout the oven cavity. That means the flavor and smells of items can intermix when cooking more than one dish in the oven, particularly with absorbent foods. With separate ovens, there’s no concern of transferring smells or flavors.
“Typically weekday dinners are prepared on the stovetop since oven cooking may not accommodate lifestyle or time available for cooking the family meal,” explains AGA Chef Ambassador Kurt von Kahle. “A smaller oven heats up quickly to assist with both, the side dishes and provide speed in preparing the 30 minute meal. The versatility of the cooking functions in smaller ovens can work well for family dinner plans and expand menu options.”
Fortunately, buyers looking to expand their cooking capabilities at home have a wide selection of options to choose from on the multi-oven platform. Appliance manufacturers like AGA offer 36″, 44″ and 48″ induction and dual fuel multi-oven ranges with assorted design options, including retro, ultra-contemporary, French chic and professional-style.
With more education, consumers will soon discover that multi-oven ranges can do more for them than the average single oven range, and the tide will change.
SHOP THE LOOK
A look at one of the oldest refrigeration companies in America
American manufacturing is an industry with great responsibility – to our people, to our planet and to our economy. It’s rooted in handcrafted quality, where craftsmanship is the defining virtue by which all others are measured.
That’s why this year, we celebrate our 125th anniversary with tremendous gratitude. And it’s a feat that we could not have done on our own.
We’d like to thank our customers for choosing us, our partners for keeping us competitive, and our community for its support. And to our employees, thank you for dedicating your time and talents to make our products something we can all be proud of.
Walk down memory lane with us, as we look back in time at the triumphs (and struggles) our company endured since its early years beginning in the late 1800s.
MARVEL THEN AND NOW: 125 Years of American Manufacturing
First founded as Ranney Refrigeration in 1892, Marvel Refrigeration is built on a foundation of over a century of American-made craftsmanship and a long-ranging history of industry breakthroughs.
Since its beginning producing and delivering ice boxes by horse and buggy—to the precise and rapid Dynamic Cooling Technology of today—Marvel continues to innovate with the principles of preservation science at its very core. Trusted by hospitals, medical facilities, government operations and homes across America, Marvel prides itself in cooling technology so precise that it can store anything from delicate food, wine and beverages to biological lab samples.
Over the years, Marvel supported troops with vital materials for three wars, refreshed sports stadiums, and protected cold storage assets for hospitals and laboratories. And to this day, Marvel continues to enrich homes and institutions across America with award-winning products, innovative performance and impeccable design.
Today, our company stays true to its roots in American history, with a 175,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in the same community it first originated, Greenville, Michigan. We employ over 200 highly-skilled workers, some of whom have family that have worked at our facility for generations.
When you choose Marvel, you’re choosing over 125 years of handcrafted quality and leading innovation in the refrigeration business. You’re choosing American products, and most importantly, you’re choosing the best refrigeration technology available on the market.
The kitchen renovation that broke the rules
When you create a kitchen that defies convention, you likely have a good reason for it. Such was the case for author and food writer Stacey Ballis. A gourmand by passion and profession, Ballis chose to define her kitchen space by tasks, rather than the traditional triangle-shaped layout of today’s standard. Why?
“Choosing to model a home kitchen on a zoned restaurant kitchen takes away all of the “rules” we were taught about home kitchens. So we were already outside the box when we created a zone for both cold and pantry storage, two zones for cooking sharing one prep space and one cleaning space and a separate zone across the room for baking, all of which does require some thought about how to organize yourself.”
A year later, her kitchen is the capable hub of holiday parties, quick weeknight meals and elaborate weekend dishes, and she wouldn’t change a thing.
“It works PERFECTLY. For the way we cook, it has been a godsend.”
A primary element in her kitchen design is a massive 72″ refrigerator freezer combination unit from Marvel. It spans across the back wall and is positioned for easy access near the food prep work station. And every square inch of its spacious interior is put to full use.
“The 72-inch side by side has completely changed our lives for the better,” Ballis says.
“Suddenly there is room in the freezer to really sock away stuff, so I can finally make big batches of homemade stock like I always wanted to, and not take up the whole freezer. That includes stashing old bones and carcasses and veggie scraps until I have enough for stock. I can start prepping for holiday meals a month out. I can put full sheet trays in the fridge! The fridge stays organized with the help of a bunch of clear plastic bins, and I always know where everything is. But I no longer have to remove all of the regular inhabitants when I load in groceries for a big party…everything just fits! Glorious.”
And, in another zone of her kitchen, Ballis chose a 24″ Marvel Dual Zone Wine Refrigerator to preserve her husband’s favorite wine varietals and libation accoutrements.
“The wine fridge has been really great,” Ballis says.
“Charming Suitor [her husband’s nickname] keeps it full of a variety of everyday wines, as well as the vermouth, Lillet, and other cocktail making supplies that used to take up a ton of room in the regular fridge.”
Ballis also has a 15″ Marvel Single Zone Wine Refrigerator, but this model serves an inventive dual purpose. As it so happens, the wine refrigerator is also the ideal environment for the long-term preservation of…cheese!
“The cheese fridge has been wonderful, we are getting twice to three times the life out of our cheeses and charcuterie as we used to in the regular fridge!”
With her ingenuity and experience with fast-paced commercial kitchens, Ballis was able to transform an 800-square-foot kitchen into a highly productive space for entertaining, proof that some kitchen design “rules” are worth breaking.
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On my last post, I was joined by leading health and wellness expert, registered dietitian, Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD, to talk about how best to cook your food for maximum nutrition and natural flavor. Here are 10 examples of this practice in action.
1. Overnight oatmeal
I start my day off with a bang with this hearty breakfast of steel cut oats, left to cook in the simmering oven while I sleep. Considering I’m not much of a morning person, the idea of waking up to a warm bowl of oatmeal with my favorite mix-ins is enough to throw off the comforter and hup-two my way to breakfast.
2. Oil-free eggs
I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth saying again. You can cook up an egg without oil or butter, just by placing Bake-O-Glide atop the simmering plate. Crack the egg, close the hob for a few minutes, slide off with a spatula and grab your fork…breakfast is ready!
6. Steamed vegetables
Quick-boil your favorite vegetables, then transfer (lidded) to the simmering oven to finish steaming. Add herbs for flavor.
7. Quintessential rice
The magic in the preparation is that it’s EASY. Once the water comes to a boil, I transfer the covered pot to the simmering oven to leave untouched, no need to stir or tend to it. I can have it ready in 20 minutes or leave it longer without burning or drying the rice, which means I can comfortably turn my attention to prepping other meal items while it fluffs up on my schedule. Mix in a protein and diced vegetables for a one-dish wonder. Bonus: it’s gluten-free!
8. Speedy stir fry
Toss your favorite vegetables into a preheated AGA cast iron wok with a bit of oil or sauce for nourishing eats in short order.
See, eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to relegate yourself to a diet of grass clippings! The AGA helps you mind your waistline with its gentle cast iron radiant heat cooking method. It’s the far more satisfying (and easy) way to up your intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants while also reducing the dependency on oils, sugars and fat to flavor food…no sacrifice to the taste experience necessary.