Not as bizarre as they might sound, in Japan fridges that keep food hot are everywhere. They became popular around 2005, when manufacturers began building in warm compartments, known as Hottoko (literally ‘hot store’) into their kitchen appliances. They defrost meat and store cooked foods that are too hot for the fridge. Ready for a revolution in refrigeration?
The Hottoko is an alien concept outside Japan, but there’s a fantastic logic to it. What do you do with food that’s too hot for the fridge or freezer, but still needs to be kept in a protected environment?
Another unusual fridge
Built-in wine bar, sir?
While wine snobs will scoff at the merest mention of a bottle of Bordeaux being kept in the cooler, the Sharp SJ-MB300S-ST packs in an innovative wine-warmer, keeping red wine at the perfect temperature. 15°C to be precise.
A modern Hottoko compartment, like the one found in this Sharp SJ-HD50P refrigerator, can store food at any temperature between -17°C and 63°C. That’s enough range to store frozen foods and piping hot soup in the same place.
Semi-frozen foods can be kept at around -9°C, so they’re ready to cook straight away, and fully-frozen foods can be left to thaw while still protected from bacteria in the air.
At the opposite end of the scale, a modern Hottoko can safely receive foods at a scalding 100°C, gradually lowering their temperature over eight hours to bring them down to freezing point at 0°C. From here, they’re safe to store in the main freezer compartment. How’s that for a fresh take on food storage?