Keeping your kitchen cool (and still cook your meals) during the hot summer weather can be a challenge. Traditional cooking with the oven or stovetop can generate enough heat to raise the temperature in your kitchen area substantially. Here are a few ways to keep your kitchen cool when the temperatures rise.
Shun the Range and Use Counter Appliances
On hot days, plan meals that involve the use of various counter appliances such as microwaves, convection ovens, slow cookers, electric skillets, multi-cookers, toaster ovens, grills, griddles, or Panini or sandwich makers. Any of these gadgets can either eliminate or reduce range oven use. Cooking in a counter appliance not only saves energy compared to heating a larger oven, but they also add only minimal heat if any, to the surrounding area.
This is a great opportunity to get those appliances out and make an old favorite or try something new. You can also cook part of your meal in the morning when your kitchen is cooler and combine other ingredients later for a delicious meal.
Serve a Cold Buffet
A buffet meal lets your diners pick and choose their favorite selections. A cold buffet spread is very refreshing on hot days and involves very little, if any, cooking appliances. It's a great opportunity to use time-saving kitchen tools such as food processors, food choppers, deli slicers, breadmakers, and your beautiful relish and veggie trays. Your family will love making their own cold plate from an assortment of salads, greens, vegetables, dips, pickles and relishes, assorted cold cuts, and fresh bread or buns. If you are hosting a lot of people, consider using a buffet server.
Keep the heat out by doing all the cooking on an outdoor barbecue, grill, or pizza oven. Grills come in various sizes as well as fuel types, so you'll easily find one that works for your outdoor space and meets your family's needs. It won't be cool by the grill, but cooking outdoors will keep your kitchen cool.
Plan a Picnic
No balcony or outdoor patio? Turn your family dinner into a picnic or tailgate supper. The whole family will enjoy a meal at a beach, park, or in their favorite country setting. You can even enjoy a picnic in your own backyard. These informal meal settings build great family memories, improve moods, and provide a welcomed cooler environment to enjoy great meals. In fact, asking another family to join you just doubles the fun. Pack up the picnic basket and enjoy your meal outside.
Improve Air Circulation in the Kitchen
A little air movement helps to make a kitchen more comfortable. Buy a table or floor fan and strategically place it to move the air around in the dining or food prep areas. Another great option that circulates air but also adds a decor feature to the room is a ceiling fan. Consider the benefits of changing your kitchen ceiling light to a ceiling fan with a lighting fixture. This will improve air circulation and provide what feels like a cooling breeze. A fan will help you enjoy a more comfy space and keep the cook cool and happy during meal preparation.
Draw the Shades
You'll be surprised at how quickly you can drop the room temperature by ten degrees or more by closing the window shades and draperies. No window dressings in your kitchen? Take your window measurements (minimum and maximum) and find something to keep the sun from shining through and heating up the space.
Go to a Restaurant
As a last resort, consider eating out in an air-conditioned restaurant. This is always well received on a hot day. To limit multiple trips and make this a special event, keep a hot weather fund just for this purpose. When the fund is refilled, it's time to head out to eat again!