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The electric kettle is a popular kitchen appliance used to boil water. It is faster and uses less energy than other methods of heating water like boiling water in a pan placed on an electric or gas stove top. All electric kettles will bring water up to a boil but higher-end electric kettles may have functions like a timer and a dial to bring the water up to a specific temperature. It takes between two and four minutes to bring water to a boil in an electric kettle, but that time will depend on the model of the kettle, and the amount of water in the kettle.
Over 95% of people use electric kettles to heat up water, but there are different uses for an electric kettle.. In addition to using an electric kettle for tea or coffee, alternative uses of an electric kettle include boiling water for for boiling noodles, vegetables, or potatoes.
The electric kettle is a versatile tool that can be used in unique ways which include the following:
- Make oatmeal
- Water plants
- Facial treatment
- Boil eggs
Using an electric kettle to perform these functions makes the item a more versatile appliance and adds to the list of foods and drinks that can be prepared with the item. Below is a list of 10 uses for an electric kettle with descriptions of how to perform each function.
- Make Tea
The first use of an electric kettle is making tea. Tea is a very popular beverage around the world and many varieties of tea can benefit tea-drinkers in a diverse set of ways. Tea can be mentally stimulating, help with digestion, and help with weight-loss by lowering appetite. An electric kettle is a great tool for making tea because it heats up water very quickly and all electric kettles have spouts that help pour the water into a tea-drinker’s mug or teacup without risking a spill.
To use an electric kettle to make tea simply press the button to turn the kettle on and wait for the water to come to a boil. Once the water is boiling, the kettle will make a sound indicating that the water is hot and the electric kettle will stop heating the water. Then, wait a minute for the water to cool down before pouring the water into a mug for serving the tea. The reason this is done is that when tea is prepared with water that is too hot, the tea taste can become too strong or bitter. Make tea with a tea bag by dipping the tea bag into the mug and letting it steep for two minutes or until the flavor of the tea has reached the desired intensity.
If making loose-leaf tea, simply pour the boiling water from a kettle into another vessel with a spout and add the leaves to the water that was just poured out. Let the leaves steep in the water for three to four minutes. Finally, strain the water and pour the tea into the mug or teacup of choice.
- Make Coffee
An electric kettle can be used to make coffee. Although more than 90% of US households that make coffee at home utilize a coffee machine or french press instead of an electric kettle. The reason for this is that electric kettles allow the water to be brought up to a high temperature very quickly. Coffee has many health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, is mentally stimulating, and regular consumption of coffee can lower the risk of heart disease.
To make french press coffee with an electric kettle, simply turn the kettle on and wait for the water to come to a boil. While waiting for the water to come to a boil, add the desired level of coffee to the bottom of the french press. Then, once the kettle makes a sound indicating that the water is hot, remove the kettle from its base and pour the water into the french press. Use a spoon to mix the coffee and the water, and then press the coffee down with the press piece of the french press to compress the coffee grounds at the bottom. Let the coffee steep in the french press for four minutes, and then pour the coffee into a mug and enjoy.
- Make Oatmeal
Another use for an electric kettle is making dry packaged foods that require the addition of hot or boiling water. Oatmeal is a classic example of this type of food and one that many people prepare in the morning for a quick, delicious, and nutritious breakfast. Just like with making coffee or tea, the speed of the electric kettle and its spout help make preparing oatmeal a simple and quick process.
To make oatmeal with an electric kettle, it is important that instant oatmeal is used, as the oats will not be in contact with the water for a long period of time. First turn on the kettle to bring the water up to a boil. Then, pour the dry oatmeal into a bowl for serving. Once the water is hot pour it from into the bowl and stir the oatmeal and water around. Let the mixture sit for one minute and a half to two minutes or until the oatmeal has reached the desired consistency. Add fixins such as raisins, nuts, or cinnamon to increase the flavor and enjoy.
- Make Instant Noodles
Instant noodles can be made with the help of an electric kettle the same way as oatmeal. The benefits to making instant noodles with an electric kettle is that the stovetop can be avoided, saving the effort of using a pan and washing it afterwards. This is a good solution for people in offices or students, as they often do not have access to stoves and wish to prepare quick, easy meals.
To make instant noodles with an electric kettle, turn on the kettle and fill the kettle up with the amount of water stated on the noodle package. Place the dry noodles into a heat-proof bowl, and then, once the water has come to a boil, add it to the bowl with the noodles. At this point add any flavor packets that come with the instant noodles as well. Cover the bowl with a plate or tin foil to trap the heat, and then let it sit for two to three minutes or until the ramen is soft enough to eat. Stir before consuming and enjoy the ramen hot. Do not let the ramen sit in the water for too long or it will become cold and the texture will be mushy and undesirable.
- Water Plants
The fifth use of an electric kettle is watering plants. Most kettles hold between 1.5 and 2 litres of water, so they are perfect for holding water to give to plants inside or outside the house. Many people keep houseplants in or near the kitchen, and since electric kettles are often kept in the kitchen it is very convenient to use for watering houseplants.
To water plants with an electric kettle, simply fill it with water to the desired level, and let the water gently stream from the spout into the planters or pots. Do not overwater the plants, as this could lead to excessive draining onto floors or countertops.
- Unclogging Drains
Another use for electric kettles is to heat water for unclogging drain pipes. Bathroom and kitchen drains often get clogged by oils or soaps, and the electric kettle helps to clean these pipes more efficiently because of their speed and capacity to hold water.
A common way to use an electric kettle to unclog drain pipes is by using salt and vinegar. This solution is good because drain cleaners that are known to sometimes damage pipes with bad chemicals can be avoided. To clean a drain this way combine one cup of iodized salt with 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar in a bowl or vessel of choice and stir to combine. Once the salt has dissolved in the mixture take out the drain stopper and slowly pour the mixture down the drain. Let the mixture sit there for 15 to 30 minutes, with the length of time depending on the intensity of the clog. Then fill the kettle up to its maximum volume with water and turn it on to bring it up to a boil. Once it is boiling, pour the water down the drain slowly in small circles. Repeat the last step until the drain is clear if the drain is not cleared the first time. Place the drain stopper back into the drain once the drain pipe is clear.
When pouring boiling water down the drain make sure to pour it gently and directly down the drain, since if the sink is made of porcelain, hot water may damage the sink.
- Steaming for Sinus Relief
Electric kettles can be used to heat up water for a home steamer setup, which can help alleviate the symptoms of upper respiratory infections like stuffy nose. The moisture and warmth of steam can thin out mucus, helping those who are battling a cold or sinus infection temporarily reduce stuffiness and breathe through their nose more easily. This treatment does not remedy infections, but will provide temporary symptom relief and alleviate discomfort.
To create a steamer with an electric kettle simply fill the kettle full of water, turn it on and allow the water to come up to a boil. Once the water is done boiling add the water to a heat-proof bowl. To inhale the steam safely, one should drape a towel over their head, shut their eyes, and slowly lower their head so that it is no lower than 8 inches above the level of the water. Covering one’s head with a towel will allow the person inhaling the steam to trap most of the steam that is generated and easily inhale it, and will also prevent the water from cooling down too fast. Inhale the steam slowly through the nose for no more than five minutes.
There are multiple factors that must be considered when inhaling steam. It is important not to inhale steam for too long, and also not to put one’s face too close to the water, as there is a risk of scalding skin with hot water. Also it is important to place the bowl on a sturdy surface to avoid spilling the water onto oneself or onto the floor.
- Steaming for Facial Treatment
Heating water in an electric kettle to inhale steam is also helpful for maintaining healthy skin. Inhaling steam not only helps with the treatment of symptoms of upper respiratory and sinus infections, it is also said to benefit the skin by keeping it clear, clean, and moist. The steam can open up pores and brighten one’s complexion.
The method for using an electric kettle for facial treatments is identical to the method outlined in use #7. Simply follow those steps and once the boiling water has been poured into a bowl or a vessel of one’s choice, add other elements like a few slices of citrus or a few drops of essential oil to the water to boost the effect of the facial treatment. Then, place a towel over your head, cover your eyes and maintain a distance of at least 8 inches between your face and the water. Breathe in slowly and deeply for two to three minute intervals until the face feels clean and relaxed. Gently pat moisture off face with a towel and apply a thin layer of moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.
It is important not to steam the face for too long, as that can irritate the skin. Also, just as is the case with steaming to clear the sinus, covering one’s eyes, maintaining a safe distance between oneself and the bowl and keeping the bowl on a stable surface are all essential steps to safely reap the benefits of this home spa treatment.
- Boil Eggs
The ninth use of an electric kettle is boiling eggs. This should only be done in kettles that do not have exposed electric coils at the bottom
The way eggs can be boiled in an electric kettle depends on the type of electric kettle being used. If the kettle has a timer that can keep the water hot for a certain length of time, simply set the timer, add water, and keep the water hot for the desired interval of time. Hard boiled eggs typically take between 8 and 12 minutes in hot, near-boiling water, whereas soft boiled eggs take between three and five minutes to cook in water of that temperature. Once the water in the kettle is boiling and the desired time interval is set, use a spoon to gently drop the egg down into the kettle and let it sit in there for the desired time. Once the timer is up, use a spoon to take the egg out and transfer it to a bowl with ice and water (ice-bath) to stop the cooking process.
If an electric kettle without a timer feature is used to boil eggs, the process is similar but since the water will cool down more rapidly once it has reached its boiling point, the cooking time will be slightly longer. To boil eggs with this type of kettle, first add enough water to the kettle to easily cover the egg, then gently place the egg inside the kettle with a spoon, making sure to avoid direct contact with the boiling water. Turn on the kettle and once the water is at a boil and the kettle is turned off, start it up again. This may need to be done two or three times to reach the desired level of done-ness. Finish this process by using the spoon to remove the egg from the kettle and place the egg in a bowl with ice water to stop the egg from cooking longer.
- Blanch Vegetables
Finally, electric kettles are great for heating up water for blanching vegetables. Blanching vegetables is a very important process when cooking many types of vegetables with heat, as the hot water will help stop enzymatic action that kills flavor, helps the vegetables retain vitamins and color, and makes vegetables soft so that they cook faster in heat. Blanching also removes dirt off of vegetables rendering them cleaner and safer to eat.
To blanch vegetables with the help of an electric kettle, simply add enough water to cover those vegetables in a bowl into the kettle, and turn the kettle on. While the water is boiling, add vegetables to be blanched to a heat-proof bowl. Once the water is done boiling and the kettle turns off, gently pour the water over the vegetables and cover the bowl with tin foil or a plate to trap the heat. Let the vegetables sit in the hot water for two to three minutes and then use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to an ice bath to stop the vegetables from cooking further. Dry and eat the vegetables as is or use in dishes such as pasta, rice, or a stir-fry.
It is important to cover the bowl being used for blanching, as if the bowl is not covered heat will escape from the water very quickly and the vegetables will not get fully blanched.
What are the common mistakes made when using electric kettles?
Electric kettles are easy to use as they primarily serve one function: heating water. However, there are still mistakes that people may make when using electric kettles, especially with the maintenance of the kettles. Below are some of the mistakes that should be avoided when using an electric kettle:
- Cleaning: cleaning the kettle while it is still hot can damage the device so one must wait for the kettle to cool down before cleaning
- Overfilling: the kettle should not be overfilled because the boiling water can then flow out of the spout and create a mess in the kitchen
- Turning on from empty: the heating source can be damaged if kettles are turned on with no water filled inside
What is the history of usage of electric kettles?
The first modern kettle was created in 1955 by Russell Hobbs. The first iteration of the device was able to boil water in just a few minutes and automatically shut off once the water had reached a boil. Modern electric kettles are now able to keep water warm for extended periods of time. How exactly an electric kettle heats up water varies with the type of kettle.
Do the use cases of an electric kettle change based on type?
Yes, the use cases of an electric kettle change based on the type. There are multiple electric kettle types, for example, some electric kettles are primarily made of plastic while others are primarily constructed of glass or stainless steel. Stainless steel kettles tend to be the most durable. Some kettles also have gauges allowing the user to read the volume of water in the kettle. Finally, some kettles have a keep-warm feature that allows the water to stay warm for extended periods of time. Electric kettles with a keep-warm feature are better for boiling eggs, as they allow the eggs to be cooked in water that remains at a consistent temperature.
What is the difference between an electric kettle and a tea kettle?
While all kettles will bring water up to a boil, there can be some differences between electric kettles and tea kettles. The main differences between electric kettle and tea kettle is that electric kettles are always electric, while tea kettles are often not, and require a gas or electric stove to bring water to a boil. Tea kettles are also usually shaped differently than electric kettles, with handles that run above the kettle as opposed to the side of the kettle, as is the case with most electric kettles. They also have longer spouts for pouring water into tea cups/mugs.
Which electric kettle is the best for heating water?
The best electric kettle for heating water is the Breville 1800W Schott Glass Kettle. Its 1.7 liter capacity, ergonomic handle, sleek glass and metal frame, and rapid boil capabilities make it a top tier product. Choosing the best electric kettle will depend on factors like speed, design, and material. Glass kettles are optimal for those who seek a quality aesthetic in their electric kettle.
What are the other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to an electric kettle ?
Kitchen tools with use cases similar to electric kettles are coffee makers. A coffee maker is very similar to an electric kettle with the main difference that the coffee maker can actually itself brew coffee. A coffee maker can heat water very quickly, allowing it to be used similarly to a kettle for making tea and coffee, or heating up water for cooking or cleaning.