So it’s about a zillion degrees out — but you still have to eat! And to do that, you usually have to spend some time in the kitchen (although takeout does sound good). For the days you’re definitely going to be cooking at home, here are our best tips for keeping your kitchen from overheating.
1. Don’t turn on the oven.
File this one under “well, duh.” If you really want to keep things cool in your kitchen, your best bet will be to cook, er, prepare things that don’t use your oven. Consider firing up your grill, mixing up some cold salads, or using your blender for a gazpacho. Or consider limiting the heat to just your stovetop — ideally recipes that get cooked over medium heat.
(Image credit: Diana Yen)
2. Pull out that slow cooker.
Although you might think that a slow cooker should be reserved for simmered stews on frigid days, it’s a smart way to cook while you’re out of the (hot) house, and keep the heat relatively contained. This way, when you get home from work, you just have to serve and get those leftovers into the fridge. Ooh, that burst of cold fridge air feels good, no?
Summer Slow Cooker Recipes
3. Clean out your fridge and freezer.
Some days are so hot that you just want to stick your head in the freezer. We say do it! Use it as an excuse to clean out those random condiments or half-eaten bags of frozen veggies. Just do a small shelf or section and work quickly: You don’t exactly want melting pints of ice cream sitting on your counter, and you don’t want to make your fridge work too hard to keep its cool because you’ve got the door open.
4. Do your cooking earlier in the day.
I know, I know, we all wish we had so much time. But if it’s really going to be sweltering, carving out a few minutes first thing in the morning to cook is a great way to beat the worst temperatures of the day. When it’s time to eat, you can zap your meal in the microwave, which won’t heat the room. Or cook up some chicken in the morning and use it in chilled dishes like a chicken or pasta salad.
Cold Recipes with Chicken
5. Get things moving.
Crack a window and get your fan out to start circulating the air. But here’s a pro tip: Instead of putting a fan on a counter so it blows air right at your face, experts say that you should actually keep your fan on the floor. This allows you to pull the cool air from where it’s living, and push it up towards the rising hot air. Just position it somewhere no one will trip over it. You can even try putting a bowl of ice in front of the fan. Our friends over at Apartment Therapy say it helps to cool things down!
Another benefit of a fan: I Spent $30 on a Window Fan for My Rental Kitchen, and It’s Made a Huge Difference
6. Close the shades.
Love that natural light that peeks into your kitchen while you sip your morning coffee? Those rays heat up your kitchen! Whenever possible, keep the curtains drawn — assuming you have curtains in there. Also, steal this move from school teachers and switch the lights off and limit excessive movements to keep the temperature down. For example, if you’re gonna walk over to the pantry, make sure you grab everything you need so you don’t have to walk back and forth a ton of times.
On a related note: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Picking Kitchen Window Treatments
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