When the summer heats up, your kitchen can go from a cozy haven to a torture chamber of heat, and cooking can go from a pleasant task to a taxing chore. Fortunately, you aren’t doomed to suffer through the hottest months of the year. There are some easy summer cooking tips to help cool down a room that can make your kitchen comfortable even when the summer is at its hottest.
The best way to cool down your kitchen? Take it outside! Instead of sweating your way through making dinner, head to your storage unit and dust off your grill. This will be particularly pleasant if you have a shaded patio with some outdoor furniture where you and your family can relax with some refreshing lemonade.
Of course, you can cook outdoors even if you don’t have a patio and a grill. On particularly hot days, hold off on dinner. When the sun starts to go down, use a fire pit in your backyard to cook some hot dogs and s’mores.
To make your outdoor dining experience as nice as possible, you may want to invest in some extra supplies, such as mosquito repellent lamps, a tent gazebo, and some comfy outdoor cushions.
Cover the Windows
There are several effective ways to cool down your house, and your kitchen in particular, even when you don’t have air conditioning. If you don’t have blinds over the windows in your kitchen, it may be time to buy them. The blinds can keep the sun from sneaking inside and making you feel like an ant trapped under a magnifying glass.
You can also refresh your landscaping and place some plants right outside your kitchen window. The plants will provide some nice shade. Choose a species that is easy to care for and will thrive under the conditions in your area.
It is a common myth that fans cool down a room. Air circulation fans merely move the air. As the air moves over your skin, it cools your body temperature. If you leave a room with a fan on, you won’t come back to a room that is any cooler than when you left. However, turning fans on when you’re slaving over a hot stove can definitely make your time in the kitchen more tolerable.
There is one instance in which fans actually do lower a room’s temperature. If the air outdoors is cooler than the air indoors, placing a fan next to an open door or window can help bring that cool air inside. This is good to keep in mind during the evenings when the sun sets, but your house still seems to be an oven.
Choose Microwaveable Foods
Unlike your stove or oven, your microwave emits almost no heat when it’s running. Choose foods that are easy to prepare in a microwave. Microwavable foods often get a bad rap for being unhealthy or tasteless, but that isn’t always the case. There are lots of delicious foods you can cook in a microwave, including quinoa, steamed veggies, meatloaf, and mac ‘n cheese!
Be Smart When You’re Preparing Your Meals
Larger items take longer to cook; therefore, when you’re preparing to make a meal in the oven or on the stove, try to cut your food into small pieces. This isn’t always possible if you’re going to have company over and you want your food to look a certain way, but keep in mind that the longer you have to have your appliances on in order to cook your food, the hotter your kitchen is going to get.
Also, on an unusually comfortable summer day, why not take advantage of the mild temperature to do some cooking in advance? Prepare and freeze easy meals, then reheat them in the microwave on hot days to you save yourself time and sweat.
When you do have to cook, try to avoid doing it during the hottest part of the day. By moving your meal times an hour or two, you can avoid the kitchen when it’s at its least comfortable.
Don’t Cook at All
Many people find that their appetites are reduced in hot weather. If this is the case for you, you can opt for lighter meals than what you usually eat. A fresh, crisp salad doesn’t require you to turn on any cooking appliances, and it can make for a refreshing snack. A blended fruit smoothie is another satisfying, no-heat edible.
Alternatively, to avoid cooking in your kitchen, you can head out to your favorite air-conditioned restaurant. Your budget may restrict you from doing this often, but it makes for a nice occasional treat.
Cooking during the summer can be an uncomfortable chore, but there are ways to cool down that can make the experience less miserable.