[This is a sponsored article with Panasonic.]
Before the pandemic my cooking skills amounted to opening a can of baked beans, but after lockdowns I can say that my pan-seared salmon in butter garlic roux topped with crème fraîche and poached baby spinach is pretty good.
Suffice to say, I’ve cooked a lot, shopped for a lot of different ingredients, and have found my fair share of problems.
I’ve had precious ingredients go rotten in the so-called meat drawer after a few days, had to thaw frozen chicken at 8PM while my hungry wife stares on, and I’ve even left some mushroom soup in the fridge that began sprouting new mushrooms.
I’ll admit, Panasonic’s Prime Fresh technology had me intrigued because they claim to solve all of these problems—and some I didn’t even think about.
As a savvy home cook myself, I wanted to find out what it is, and how would it actually help me?
How would it help me keep meat fresh?
My number 1 issue with cooking is keeping my food fresh. Put it in the chiller and it lasts only three days, put it in the freezer and I have to thaw it for at least a few hours.
Of course, I’m too forgetful to thaw it out before dinner so I leave my chicken frozen for months and end up buying fresh chicken just to avoid the hassle.
With Prime Fresh I found out that food is kept frozen at -3°C and it retains flavour for up to seven days.
I wondered how that’s different from a freezer and found that freezers tend to keep food at -16° which turns them into solid ice blocks to keep food from spoiling.
With the Prime Fresh drawer, you tap a button and the compressor sends a blast of very cold air into the compartment. The compartment freezes items in only 30 minutes which leaves an icy shell surrounding the meat, keeping the insides fresh.
This frozen layer prevents oxidation from taking place and prevents bacterial growth too, thus keeping the food fresher for longer.
So far, it sounds like a fast-acting freezer, which leads me to my next question.
How long will it take to thaw?
Thawing meat is not pretty. It takes forever and the juices that leak out are unpleasant to say the least.
In writing this article I also found out that bacteria thrive during the thawing process and the liquids that are released during thawing introduce moisture which actually activates even more bacterial growth.
How is Prime Fresh different?
Well, since meats are only partially frozen in a soft freeze, there’s actually no thawing necessary.
With a soft freeze, there’s only a thin layer of ice that can be easily cut through with a knife. Since it’s a soft layer, there’s no crystalisation of meat like in the freezer and a block of minced meat doesn’t instantly become a lethal throwing weapon.
This actually makes my weekly shopping easier since I can actually shop once a week and cook for one week. Instead of the routine I have now which is shop enough for one week, freeze most of it, cook two nights and order takeout the other three nights.
How expensive is my electricity bill going to be?
No amount of convenience is worth the increase in my monthly spending and my bill is already high enough because of air conditioning.
For this issue, Panasonic’s DZ and BX series fridges come with ECONAVI technology that monitors your daily refrigerator usage and automatically sets the right temperature for different compartments, reducing energy consumption.
Specifically, the vegetable case is kept at 6°C, the regular fridge compartment is kept at 4°C, while the Prime Fresh case and freezer are kept at -3°C and -18°C, respectively.
Since some compartments don’t need as much energy to maintain the proper temperature, the energy needed for cooling is regulated which controls the costs of electricity.
I’m pretty much convinced at this point of the benefits of this one compartment, but Panasonic has one more trick up its sleeve.
What about the smell from the drawer?
Some of us know the perils of mixing different meats, leftovers, and produce together which leads to clever ways for us to segregate food in the freezer and chiller.
What inevitably happens however, is that different microbes in the air in your fridge mingle, have a party, and leave all of your food with an indistinguishable funk.
For this, Panasonic’s Blue Ag+ technology uses blue LEDs and Blue Ag filters with silver ions that interfere with the respiration of bacteria. This kills bacteria, suppresses its growth, and removes odours from your fridge.
Say goodbye to cross contamination and breathe in the fresh odourless smell that fridges should have.
If you’re convinced, which Panasonic fridge should you get?
In a nutshell, all three Prime Fresh, Blue Ag+, and ECONAVI features combine to allow a home cook to waste less food and money. Your ingredients are less likely to spoil, which also means you’ll save extra trips to the grocery store to get more fresh products.
Soft freezing also quickens prep time, and the automatic temperature controls also allow you to spend less on your monthly bill.
If you’re interested in trying out these features, the 465L NR-BX471WGKM (RM3,285) and 422L NR-BX421WGWM (RM2,939) fridges are decent options if you live alone, with a partner, or have a smaller household.
If you have a larger family and need extra storage space, the NR-DZ601VGKM (RM5,799) is a four-door 601L fridge that packs a two-layer vegetable case and a Jumbo Freezer.
Featured Image Credit: Tech Tips