Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cooking during hot weather

I don't like hot weather. but I probably don't need to say that again! One of the reasons (of many) is that cooking heats up the kitchen so that we need to limit the time spent with the stove on in any way we can.

Gas stoves are better for summer cooking because they stop producing heat as soon as the flame is turned off. Electric stoves, by contrast, retain heat for long moments after being turned off. If you have an electric stove, you probably won't want to replace it with gas just for that reason!

Here are some tips on how to reduce the excess heat when you cook.

1. Use thinner pots and pans. Heavy cast iron or club aluminum hold heat much longer than thin stainless steel or enamel pans. That's a good thing when you're trying to save electricity in the winter because you can turn the stove off and food will continue to cook for a time, but in the summer, having a hot pan on the stove, radiating heat is the last thing you need.

You'll have to watch and stir a thin walled pan a lot more than a heavy one, but it won't retain the heat to heat up the air around it.

2. Make food that cooks faster. For instance, if you like chicken breasts, cut them into smaller pieces and stir fry. Stir fried foods developed because of a shortage of fuel. Use a thin skillet over medium high heat and cook smaller pieces of any kind of meat or vegetable this way. A small amount of oil in the pan will keep it from sticking.

3. Make full use of alternative ways to get food done. Use the outdoor grill or solar cooker whenever you can. If you can only get food partially done, then finish it (or start it) on the stove, you're ahead of the game.

When you use your stove as usual during hot weather, you're costing yourself in more ways than one. First, the obvious: cost of gas or electricity. Next, you're probably paying for the electricity to cool the air you just paid to heat.

That doesn't make much frugal sense, does it? :)


  1. Hi Pat, It's t'Other Pat in Kitchener again! Just wanted to say in the summer I take my Electric Rotisery outside and plug it in ( away from any source of water) . I have a table by an outside plug in. If I plan ahead I can do Chicken like you get in the store or a high priced resturant. I like to do a whole Chicken on the spit, I start the day before to thaw in the fridege and use a marinade. Then 2 hours before we eat I set everything up and put it on to cook. Later in the evening when things are cool I take the rotisery back in the house. I have also made waffles, with the waffle iron, and even put the slow cooker out to do some cooking this way. Keeps the house much cooler, and we're eating at home.

  2. Hi Pat in Kitchener :)
    Cooking outside with anything is a good idea. Your chicken sounds good! I have one of those portable electric ovens in my garage and use that to bake sometimes. Anything to keep the heat out!

  3. I frequently put my crock pot in the garage to cook in the summer-that way the house doesn't heat up.

    I also try (when I'm organized enough) to cook the next day's meal in the late evening (like 8pm)when it has cooled down and then I can just heat it up in the microwave the next day at supper time.