7 Tips To Ace Indoor Cooking During Hot Indian Summers
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Did you know that in India, indoor air pollution is quickly becoming as grave a concern as outdoor air pollution? The World Air Quality Report 2022 says that India is the world’s 8th most polluted country, and a significant amount of the air pollution here is caused by indoor air pollution. How does that concern you this summer? Well, if you are a home cook, then you should know that cooking fumes are a major cause of indoor air pollution especially during hot summer months

As the nation increasingly experiences more heatwaves this year, indoor cooking activities should be taken into consideration especially where health is concerned. Whether you are a young working professional or a homemaker, your safety during peak summer months is as important as the dishes you cook up to nourish yourself. This matters especially because in Indian households, cooking elaborate, time-taking meals is the norm, and this is a difficult task to accomplish for all your meals during summer months. 

Moreover, the most common cooking methods we use, ranging from frying to making curries, all generate more fumes. This can pose a double threat because working in front of the stove does make every home cook feel hot and sweaty, while the fumes can cause breathing difficult and cause dehydration. So, taking care of your kitchen safety during summer months in India is of primary importance.  

Video Credit: YouTube/Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana

If you are wondering how to go about taking care of your health while still managing to cook up a storm in the kitchen this summer, then here are all the kitchen safety tips you will need. 

Plan Your Cooking Schedule

Not all times of the day are equally hot during Indian summers and you should consider this while planning your meals. Plan your cooking during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening. Avoid cooking during the peak heat hours, basically the entire stretch from afternoon to early evenings, to prevent excessive heat buildup in the kitchen. 

Ventilate Properly  

Your instinct might be to block the heat waves out during peak summers by closing all doors and windows, but ventilation matters, especially in the kitchen. Ensure proper ventilation in the kitchen by using exhaust fans, chimneys, or opening windows and doors to facilitate the removal of cooking fumes. This helps in expelling pollutants and maintaining good indoor air quality. 

Go For Light Meals

Summer season anyways slows down digestion, so you might want to choose fresh and light meals that don’t require you to cook at all. Choose recipes that involve lighter ingredients and cooking methods. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, salads, and cooling beverages in your meals. Focus on dishes that are easy to digest and provide hydration and nourishment. 

Choose Quick Cooks  

Opt for quick cooking methods that generate less heat, such as stir-frying, sautéing, steaming, or using a pressure cooker. These methods require less time and help to minimize the heat in the kitchen. They are also less labour-intensive, which means you won’t be too dehydrated and hot while doing them. 

Pick The Right Appliances

To avoid excessive heat generation, reduce the usage of stovetop burners and ovens. Instead, explore alternative cooking appliances like microwave ovens, electric grills, or slow cookers. They generate less heat and can be more energy-efficient. Go for cooking appliances that have good exhaust systems, such as range hoods or chimneys, to minimize the release of cooking fumes into the indoor environment. Additionally, using lids on pots and pans while cooking can help contain the fumes. 

Use Seasonal Foods

No matter which part of India you are in, you can practically do this. Take advantage of the abundance of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables available during the summer. They are not only packed with nutrients but also help keep you hydrated. Incorporate ingredients like watermelon, cucumber, mint, tomatoes, and leafy greens into your recipes. 

Stay Hydrated  

Remember, any activity during summer months can cause severe dehydration, and this is especially true for cooking in heated environments. Drink plenty of water and fluids to stay hydrated while cooking. Keep a bottle of water nearby and consume hydrating beverages like coconut water, lemonade, buttermilk (chaas), or infused water with fruits and herbs.