Have a busy and hectic lifestyle? Ever wish there was some way to magically take dinner out of the refrigerator, put it in the oven and have it piping hot as you walk through the door in the evening?
Perhaps not surprisingly, given the state of today’s technology, Whirlpool has turned that wish into a reality with their new Polara Refrigerated Range. You heard correctly, and in this case it’s not an oxymoron. The Polara actually will refrigerate and then cook your food, all in the same appliance.
At first glance, the Polara looks like any conventional range. It’s 30 inches wide and 36 inches high at the cooktop, so it’s designed and engineered to fit into a standard range opening in any kitchen. There are four smooth-top burners, a window-door, and digital controls, and it’s available in four standard colors – white, biscuit and black, as well as stainless steel.
Now the differences: With the Polara, you can place your uncooked food into the range in the morning, before you head off to work. You set the controls so that the appliance will be in refrigeration mode until a certain time, and it then switches to cook mode automatically.
In refrigeration mode, cold air from a refrigeration compressor located below the range (it’s in that space occupied by a pull-out pot drawer on most ranges) is fed through the unit. The cold air enters through a vent at the top left of the oven cavity, circulates through the cavity to cool it down, and then exits through a vent at the rear. This cooling cycle keeps your dinner safely refrigerated until it’s time to cook it. The cooling cycle is limited to 24 hours, and the Polara is not intended to replace your conventional refrigerator. It will however, act as a second refrigerator for storing food on a temporary basis, such as during a party or when you’re stuck with a huge amount of leftovers.
At the time you have programmed in that morning, the unit will automatically switch from cool to bake. It will heat up to whatever temperature you programmed in, and bake for whatever length of time you have specified. The result is a piping hot meal, ready when you get home at night.
The Polara is also a convection oven, and uses Whirlpool’s AccuBake system, which combines an internal heat circulation fan with two sensors that automatically sense the temperature at the top and bottom of the oven cavity, and regulate it accordingly. According to the manufacturer, this system results in more uniform temperature control that allows for the baking of two or more different dishes at the same time.
Ah, but what if that late-afternoon meeting runs longer than you expected? Not a problem. At the end of the baking cycle, the Polara will automatically switch into a warming mode. This mode is also fully programmable, and will keep your food warm for up to two hours. At the end of that two-hour warming cycle, if you’re still not home the range will change modes once again, this time back to cooling. This will re-refrigerate your meal for up to 24 additional hours.
Another nice feature is that the cooktop is fully independent of the oven/refrigeration cavity. That means that you can use the cooktop at the same time that the oven cavity is in its refrigeration mode, and Whirlpool as designed the insulation surrounding the cavity in such a manner that heat transfer between the two is kept to a minimum.
Polara ranges are all electric, and as with any cooking appliance you need to install it according to the manufacturer’s specifications, making certain that you maintain all proper clearances to combustible surfaces, and that electrical circuits are correctly installed and grounded.
The Polara is available through any appliance dealers that carry Whirlpool appliances. The cost, as you would expect, is higher than a conventional range, and averages approximately $1,800.
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