Help! Electric kettle conundrum!
November 5, 2009 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Is it ok/safe to heat non-water beverages (apple cider, namely) in my Krups electric kettle?

I'd really like to both preserve the integrity of my tasty apple cider and my expensive electric kettle, but I'm going to need to heat moderate quantities in a location without a stovetop or microwave. Any insights would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
posted by faeuboulanger to Food & Drink (16 answers total)
I really, really wouldn't. Those electric kettles are meant for water and water alone. Anything else might leave things behind that will breed all sorts of nastiness, and this can be tough to clean out properly because you can't just stick these kettles in a dishwasher. I once bought a kettle that, it turned out, had been returned by someone who messed it up by boiling something other than water inside it. It wasn't checked by the store before reshelving, but MY was that an interesting garden of sights to behold by the time I opened it. For your health and that of your expensive kettle, only use it for water.
posted by katillathehun at 3:17 PM on November 5, 2009

Oh, and for heating your cider without a stove or microwave - are you able to purchase anything for this purpose? Hot plates are fairly inexpensive if you've got a sauce pan handy.
posted by katillathehun at 3:21 PM on November 5, 2009

Well, you're certainly not going to make anyone sick. Anything in it is, ya know, boiled. And I let unpasteurized cider _ferment_ fer chrissakes, so it's not a substance I'd worry much about.

I suspect it'll be fine. Clean it with vinegar afterward, just like you would with a coffee maker? You might get some weird deposits on the heating element, but I'd do it.
posted by paanta at 3:22 PM on November 5, 2009

Unless you're prepared to wash it after every use, I wouldn't. Sugary residue = petri dish for mold.
posted by Zed at 3:24 PM on November 5, 2009

Well, you're certainly not going to make anyone sick. Anything in it is, ya know, boiled.

And then there's sugary stuff left behind that didn't quite get wiped out. It cools. Bacteria comes on over. The kettle sits unused for a while and then you have a disgusting kettle. It's not quite like a coffee maker. Coffee pots can be immersed, and the coffee itself isn't usually run through the machine (or sugary, for that matter). Electric kettles can't be immersed. Also, if the kettle is under warranty, that warranty will be void if something happens. The instructions on these things pretty much always say "do not use for anything other than water."
posted by katillathehun at 3:29 PM on November 5, 2009

Maybe you could use a slow cooker. You could experiment with which setting keeps it warm enough. I've seen Crockpots used for this very thing.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:51 PM on November 5, 2009

Would you consider an immersion heater? I don't know if you mean "moderate" to mean a lot or a little but if you're looking at a cup or two at a time, this should work well.
posted by jessamyn at 3:51 PM on November 5, 2009

What you need is a hot pot, similar to this or this. They're made for heating soups, etc., in that the element is not exposed to the contents. Mine was an essential in my dorm room at university and in a few offices since.
posted by angiep at 3:55 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is like taking a sledgehammer to a thumbtack. Your lovely Krups kettle is meant for one thing: to quickly BOIL water. You don't want to boil your cider, you want to gently heat it to a temperature considerably below 212 F. The Krups kettle is on or off, there's no way to moderate the heat. Get something else - if you have the time to prep, the crockpot suggestions above are right on.
posted by webhund at 4:42 PM on November 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've seen people use kettle elements to make boilers for homebrewing, and they've been fine. Just give them a clean afterwards.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:48 PM on November 5, 2009

As long as you clean the kettle thoroughly, it's not a "problem" per se, but webhund is correct in that it is not the right tool for the job.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 5:53 PM on November 5, 2009

Would you be able to heat the cider at home and carry it to this location in a thermos?
posted by Orinda at 6:33 PM on November 5, 2009

Oh please. We used to make mac and cheese in our kettles in college. It's fine.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:43 PM on November 5, 2009

Not sure about this, but isn't apple cider acidic? Couldn't putting it into your kettle cause it to sort of "clean" it. Especially heating it up. I mean maybe some scaling come off the inside. Just a thought. I'd stick to more tried and true methods. IMO
posted by Taurid at 11:13 PM on November 5, 2009

Alton Brown uses his for all manner of things including dairy-ish liquids.
posted by bz at 1:44 PM on November 6, 2009

Why dont you use a camping stovetop?
posted by WeekendJen at 2:30 PM on November 6, 2009

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