When operating a catering business, a restaurant, or hosting outdoor events you may naturally be interested to purchase food warmers. Or perhaps you need it for your own personal use at home.
Keeping meals warm so guests receive food at the perfect temperature to blend the taste of appetizing meals is important. Food warmers have proven to be the best solution for holding food at parties, weddings, dinners, and buffets.
This complete buyer’s guide will help you to choose the right food warmer for yourself or your business.
What is a Food Warmer?
Food warmers are generally used to keep cooked meals at an appropriate temperature until they are ready to be served and eaten. They keep food warm for many hours and when it’s time to make plates for hundreds of hungry customers, there’s less hassle to distribute food.
Meals meant to be consumed warm typically aren’t very appetizing when served cold. Food establishments try to limit this from happening by using food warmers. Reheating food too often destroys nutrients and can easily become unhealthy with bacteria. Luckily, food warmers have proven to be the best solution to that problem.
What are the Food Warmers Called?
When shopping for food warmers different stores may have other names on display. Food warmers are called chafing dishes or warming trays and each is used interchangeably. Other names are also used to refer to different types of food warmers. If you wonder, you may discover the difference between food warmers and chafing dishes.
What is a Food Warmer Used for?
Want to keep your food warm but don’t like reheating it? Lucky for you this complete buyer’s guide to food warmers will fill you in on what you need to know. Food warmers are used for keeping different foods at a consumable temperature. Buyers often purchase this useful kitchen equipment to lessen the time needed to reheat various foods ordered by a customer, or impatient guest. The less time a customer or guest spends waiting for food, the happier they remain.
How Long Can I Keep Food In a Warmer?
Food that has been cooked and placed in food warmers can last for as long as two to six hours based on the temperature adjustments. After being in the warmer for an extended period food becomes less fresh and moist. Ensure to estimate the wait time before food is ready to be eaten at a function or event. This way food isn’t placed in the warmer too quickly.
How Can I Keep Food Warm Without Electricity?
Hosting an annual family dinner or a fundraising event outdoors calls for a method to keep food warm without using electricity. The great outdoors generally do not have plugs or sockets for you to connect an electric food warmer. You surely cannot serve dozens of plates with cold food to guests that were cooked hours before. So how can you keep prepared food warm until it’s time for consumption without electricity?
This buyer’s guide will give you all the details on making a good purchase for a food warmer without using electricity.
1. Chaffing Dishes
Chaffing Dishes are excellent for events such as parties, charity events, and buffets. These will keep food heated for up to six hours without burning or drying them out. The stainless-steel pan containing food is atop another pan with hot water.
The chafing fuel containers are then lit to heat the water which keeps the food warm for a long time without the need for electricity. Chaffing dishes can be bought at affordable prices from $36 to over $300 based on your preference.
2. Thermal Cooker
A thermal cooker has two parts. It has a stainless-steel pot inside with a lid, and the exterior has a thermal container with a cover. It can be used to cook and keep food warm by trapping thermal heat without electricity. There’s no need to worry about food being overcooked and the nutrients evaporating when using this kitchen equipment.
They’ll keep your food heated for approximately six hours or more. If you’re heading to the beach, a picnic, or a night of camping, thermal cookers are very portable and can be taken anywhere.
3. Insulated Thermos
Insulated thermoses can be used to keep food hot for approximately three to five hours. The double glass walls contain a vacuum between them which stops heat from escaping. They are mostly used for foods that cannot be reheated and are best kept in small quantities.
4. Insulated Thermal Bags
Thermal bags contain aluminum foil and are great for keeping food warm for short periods of time. Food is cooked and placed into the bag shortly after so heat is trapped inside. Sandwiches and snacks that need to be kept warm can be placed into these
lightweight packets. They come at different prices and are quite inexpensive and reusable.
5. Aluminum Foil
Using aluminum foil to wrap food in containers is a simple way to keep food hot without using electricity. The foil traps and reflects heat throughout the container so when food is ready to be eaten it is consumable and appetizing.
Are Food Warmers Safe?
Yes! Food warmers are safe and efficient kitchen equipment that can be used to stop issues of keeping food warm after preparation. Some food warmers help you remain safe with a power indicator light and timer that stops after a period of time.
Stay-cool handles are placed on both sides to ensure your hands don’t get burnt while transporting them to and from your serving area.
To remain safe while using chaffing dishes ensure that the fuel is placed inside a holder before sparking with a lighter. Do not put the chafing fuel on a wooden table. When serving food, hold the lid away from your face to limit contact of steam with the skin. After the event has ended, do not remove the water pan immediately as it is still hot and contact with your skin may cause severe burns.
The temperature food has while being eaten can affect the decision of whether that person thinks it was an enjoyable meal or not. A patron falling ill due to unhealthy meals being served at a restaurant or food enterprise is a nightmare. A lawsuit will not only leave a dent financially but also ruin the business’s reputation.
No one wants to dine at an establishment known for causing food poisoning. Stainless steel food warmers will keep your buffet meals at a safe and relatively warm temperature.
Types of Food Warmers and Their Uses
Buffet warmers are great choices if you like to display different foods in buffet style. They keep tasty meals warm and fresh at all times. Buffet warmers are portable and not to mention easy to clean. The stainless-steel frame has three serving trays able to hold 2.5 quarts of food, and can easily be removed and replaced.
Some may have transparent lids that allow guests to see their options and make a choice. This is a food warmer suitable for use at birthday parties, gatherings, fundraisers, and other events. It is safe with adjustable temperature controls and can be set up on countertops and tables.
Countertop Warmers are used to keep cooked and precooked meals at a consistent serving temperature. Water is needed along with the stainless-steel pan to keep food warm and prevent dryness.
They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used in the household or commercially. They usually hold soups, rice, dessert displays and are used by food trucks, and buffets. Temperatures are adjustable and cost varies.
Steam tables are used to keep food warm using hot water to produce heat powered by gas or electricity. The heat from the base of the pan then spreads throughout the food tray at high temperatures keeping meals hot. They can be found at self-serving events, family dinners, and other functions.
If you have a variety of foods that need to be kept warm and fresh until it’s time to serve, use drawer warmers. Drawer warmers keep the temperature of each meal between 60˚ and 200˚ Fahrenheit without transferring flavor.
Controls are also available to regulate temperature. You can put almost anything in these drawers from bread to dinner rolls and even spaghetti and meatball.
Heat lamps are used for warming food in places that do not require a long wait before being served like buffets. The bulbs emit heat at high temperatures that may crisp or overcook food if left too long. Lamps are often mounted in the ceiling over counters.
How to Choose the Right Food Warmer?
From cooking family dinners to a booming catering business or restaurant, in a fast pace kitchen choosing the right food warmer is vital.
To do that consider these tips:
Do you need a portable food warmer?
If you are interested to have a transportable food warmer consider the size and weight of each option as you shop. If you have a catering business choosing a portable food warmer will lessen the time needed to pay for transporting it to different locations.
Electric or Non-electric?
Electric food warmers are often used in a space with access to multiple electrical outlets. On the other hand, non-electrical food warmers don’t require a power outlet and can be used both inside and outside.
Cleaning after use
Consider the time and effort it will take to ensure that the food warmer is properly cleaned before reusing. Which areas can be detached and cleaned and how do you properly replace them?
Food warming equipment has become a piece of essential kitchen equipment for those in the food industry of catering and restaurants. They will keep food at a consistent temperature after preparation to ensure there is free flow in the kitchen while preparing orders.
A large crowd demanding food can be chaotic when orders are too slow in being prepared. Food warmers will take that weight off staff so they can focus on serving hot, tasty, healthy and presentable meals for all customers. Using food warmers in the home is just as helpful for big or small family gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas.