Even the most avid food-loving chef finds it hard to spend time in the kitchen on a hot summer day. But the family has to eat. Here are seven tips to avoid dying of heat stroke while still preparing a delicious meal.
Don’t Turn on the Oven
Turning your oven on is the fastest way to turn your kitchen into a sauna. On a hot day, plan and prepare a cold meal. Use kitchen tools like bread makers, food processors, and deli slicers to prepare an assortment of breads, dips, salads, pickles, and cold meat for all to enjoy.
Improve Air Circulation
If you’re going to use the oven, make sure to turn on the fan in the hood of the stove. Although this fan is super helpful in sucking out bad smells and steam from your cooking, it can also act as a vacuum for the heat coming off of the stove. Also, make sure you don’t preheat the oven for any longer than it has to be. As soon as the preheating signal alerts you that the oven has reached your desired temperature, put your food in and set a timer. As soon as it’s finished cooking, turn the oven off immediately.
Improving the air circulation will definitely help in keeping your kitchen cool. Upgrading your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning) system is a good step to cooling down your kitchen. Although it may seem costly, the benefits outweigh the cost, including overall better health for your family, fresh air, and adjusted humidity to keep you comfortable. Use a ceiling, floor, or table fan to circulate the cool air and reduce stress on your system.
Use the Slow Cooker
A slow cooker is not just for stews on cold days. It is a great way to cook a meal while you are out without having to suffer standing over a stovetop. Plan ahead and find a recipe that the family will enjoy. Come home to a cooked meal ready to for the family to eat. And once all have eaten, enjoy the burst of cold air as you open your refrigerator to pack leftovers away.
Cook Early In the Day
Cooking early in the day while it is still cooler outside may take some planning, but it is worth it. When it is time to eat, simply heat the meal up in the microwave. Unlike the oven, your microwave will warm up the food without heating up your kitchen. You could also prepare the next day’s meal at nighttime after the sun goes down. This way you’re always a day ahead and you’re cooking when it’s cooler outside.
Keep Curtains and Blinds Closed
While you may enjoy sitting drinking a cup of coffee with the suns rays streaming in early in the morning, avoid the temptation and keep the curtains, blinds, and shades closed on a hot day. Those cozy rays of the sun will heat up your kitchen in no time at all. If your kitchen has enough natural light, keeping the lights dimmed or even off will help keep your kitchen cool.
The best way to keep your kitchen cool is not to cook in it at all. If you have the facilities, choose instead to cook outside on the barbeque or grill. Cooking outside often becomes a family activity where all can relax and spend time together. On a very hot day, cook when the sun is going down and the air is cooler. As an added bonus, it will keep your energy bill low.
Avoid Cooking Large Food Items
Baking a large turkey is going to take way longer to cook than frying small pieces of chicken on the stove. Any time you’re cooking, make sure to cut the food into small pieces as it will cook faster than large pieces. The key here is to cook as quickly as possible. After all, the longer your appliances are on, the hotter it’s going to get.
Yes, cooking in a hot kitchen may feel like a nightmare, but applying these few tips will definitely help you to enjoy cooking without overheating. Take the time to plan ahead, prepare easy meals, and enjoy the summer without the extra heat.