Preparing hot meals on a hot summer day, in a small kitchen, with poor air ventilation and outdated home appliances can be simply tiring, both for the cook and for other household members.
Cooking can increase the air temperature in the kitchen by as much as 40 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit (or by about 4 to 8 degrees Celsius).
To cope with the overwhelming heat, you do not need to install an air conditioner at home right away.
Instead, you can try cheaper and simple ways to lower the air temperature in your kitchen during cooking.
FOOD AND DRINK
Drink a lot
We regulate our body temperature by sweating. While evaporating from the surface of the body, sweat takes away the heat from the skin. However, this cooling system works only provided that we replenish the lost fluids and electrolytes.
Under normal conditions, a person emits about 10 cups (2.5 liters) of sweat per day. When working at a high temperature of the surroundings, you can sweat even double than that.
In order not to expose yourself to dehydration, you need to replenish the fluids. So remember to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water!
Try not to cook if you don’t need to. We usually don’t have much appetite on hot days, anyway.
During summer, do only short cooking, steaming, blanching, and quick pan-frying in the kitchen.
Avoid turning on the oven. But if really you must use the oven, do it wisely and limit it as much as possible.
Use small countertop appliances instead, such as a microwave, toaster, blender, or a sandwich maker, to prepare smaller meals. Get familiar with your microwave, as this appliance has many more functions than just reheating leftovers.
You may even utilize a slow cooker or multi-functional food processor so that you can spend as little time in the kitchen as possible.
Make the most of canned, already prepared, ready-made, and frozen foods.
Serve a cold buffet for your family, and raw food meals such as salads. It is best to prepare a light salad, cooler, or other meal that does not require the use of an oven or stove.
Do prep work beforehand, in the morning or the night before. Otherwise, you may also cook meals in the morning, when it’s not that hot outside, then reheat it and serve later.
Use pots and pans with robust walls, or hot food containers. They will ensure to keep your meals warm for longer so that you can eat the food a long time after it’s been cooked.
Spice it up
Have you ever wondered why the cuisine of people in hot and tropical countries is spicy? This is also one of the methods they use to deal with high temperatures.
In Spain, Morocco, or Mexico, hot spices like chili and curry are a staple. After consuming them, we begin to sweat more, and after the sweat evaporates we quickly feel a pleasant cooling of the body.
It’s the same with garlic. Even though it is not associated with cooling down, it’s worth knowing that garlic improves blood circulation and stimulates the body to cool naturally.
Switch off appliances
Many people forget that home appliances can also be a source of heat. All equipment in the house that is powered by electricity gives off heat, even if it’s switched off.
Therefore, unplug all appliances that you are not using. This simple trick will effectively lower the air temperature indoors and by the way, it will save energy and lower your electricity bills.
Even though a smaller appliance like a microwave oven is still a source of potential heat, it does emit less heat than a traditional oven.
Keep away from baking in the oven and all those activities that require the use of the oven. Using such equipment in hot weather can cause you to “cook” yourself.
Apart from the heat emitted by kitchen appliances, and the steam emitted during cooking will only add to the effect of feeling hot. On hot days, avoid long cooking periods and bear in mind that steam in the air causes an unpleasant feeling of heat, which is what we want to avoid.
Increase air circulation in the kitchen
Cooling by making a draft of wind is best done if you have windows wide open on two opposite sides of the house. As a result of the pressure difference inside and outside the house, the air is circulated and exchanged for fresh air.
Obviously, trying to ventilate will not help and can even make it worse if you open your windows at noon when the sun is shining the most. It makes sense to ventilate the house when it is the coldest outside and the air is still fresh.
If your kitchen window is facing the East, then it’s best to open it in the early morning and in the late afternoon, and when it’s to the West – until noon.
To be able to enjoy it for as long as possible, keep the windows closed during the hours of maximum sunshine and heat. Otherwise, the hot air will enter inside.
To ensure proper ventilation, all you only need to do is open the windows slightly and only those that are not exposed to sunlight at the moment, if possible.
Pull down the blinds
If you don’t have an AC unit or want to save on air conditioning, then covering up the windows with blinds or roller blinds is the best solution. However, curtains that block heat but let light in will also work well.
But the most effective in the fight against heat indoors are external blinds. They will protect against sunlight and not let hot air into the house.
A good way to avoid overheating is to install vertical awnings as they don’t allow UV rays to penetrate the interior of the house.
White fabric on the window
Hanging a white fabric on the window helps to cool the interiors on hot days. It should preferably be a cotton opaque material. Additionally, you can make it damp with water so that the heat evaporates from it.
This trick works much more effectively when the fabric is hung on the outside of the window and not inside the house.
Wear suitable clothing
Excessive sweating and overheating of the body can be caused by inappropriate clothing. It is better to choose loose-fitting clothing and clothes made of natural fabrics (such as cotton, silk, or linen).
At home, it’s also clever to put a T-shirt (must be quite loose) in the fridge for a while. It will keep a pleasant cold for some time, giving you a moment of comfort.
While cooking, it is useful to have a bandana tied around the forehead, which not only absorbs excess sweat from the forehead but also allows it to evaporate, cooling the head. You may also wear sweatbands on your head and wrists.
Choose footwear made of breathable materials. The flip flops are perfect for the beach, but you won’t necessarily be comfortable (and safe) in them when you’re cooking in the kitchen. Instead, wear stable, slip-on, not slippery shoes with closed toes. The shoes should also be very comfortable so that they will not rub or cause blisters.
Give up wearing jewelry
Before you start cooking or doing any other kitchen work remove all jewelry and watch from your body.
Jewelry and other metal accessories can become very hot under the influence of high temperatures. When you sweat, moisture accumulates on your skin underneath the accessories which causes bacteria to multiply easily in these places.
OTHER USEFUL HINTS ON HOW TO AVOID SWEATING IN KITCHEN
Get a fan, or two
Buy a ceiling fan, standing fan, or a portable table fan for your kitchen. The fans are the cheapest and commonly used method to help you stay cool and sweat less in hot surroundings.
These devices set the air in motion, which flows around the human body, stimulating evaporation and bringing you comfort.
Why not making a sea breeze in your house?
Even the best air conditioner won’t give you the feeling of a cool, sea breeze on your hot and sweaty skin. Meanwhile, all you need to experience this is a portable fan at home. Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and place it next to the fan. When you turn it on, a refreshing mist will reach you, which will bring relief during hot days.
If you have a couple of small fans, place them in several spots.
This way you will create a cooling wind blast that will evenly disperse the heat and will help maintain a constant temperature inside. It’s important to make sure that the wind from the fan is not blowing directly at you to avoid catching a cold, which could be even more inconvenient on hot days.
Make a cold compress
Cool your body down with a cold wet towel that you put in the fridge beforehand.
Use a hot water bottle and convert it into a summer version. To do this, simply freeze water inside the plastic bottle. Instead of warming the body, water that’s gradually thawing will effectively make it cool.
It’s also useful to carry a frozen water bottle with you during the day for making cooling compresses. Additionally, once thawed, the water will quench your thirst.
Pouring cold tap water on your wrists for a few minutes is an equally effective way to lower your body temperature.
It’s also worth pouring clean water into a bottle with a dispenser and place it in the fridge for some time. When you feel hot, just spray it on your face and body. It will work like a cooling compress!
Act on your sense of smell
Non-medicated nasal sticks full of menthol and other herbal oils like eucalyptus or peppermint oil, are designed to refresh, put you on your feet, and bring a feeling of coolness.
Despite using the nasal stick by inhalation to alleviate your sinus congestion, it brings relief and makes breathing easier, is refreshing and invigorating during the heat. The sticks are really good when you’re feeling unwell or close to fainting from the heat.
Help from house plants
It’s good if you have a lot of green plants in the house. They not only make the air humid but slightly cool it as well.
Having large ferns is particularly beneficial as they create kind of a microclimate in the room. Surprisingly, the air will not only be fresh but it will also be much cooler than in other rooms, even if they are on the same side of the house.
Call the chimney sweep
Hardly anyone remembers this before the beginning of summer, but it is really worth having the return air grilles and ventilation ducts checked by a chimney sweep for cleanliness and any obstructions before the heat kicks in.
If you want to improve the air quality and ventilation in your home, the annual cleaning of grilles and ducts is very important. After the cleaning, your kitchen will be properly ventilated having a consistent airflow, which will allow the indoor temperature to drop.
As you can see, it’s possible to use one or more of the proven methods listed above. Try them to lower the air temperature in your kitchen so that you can avoid feeling too hot and sweating while preparing meals.