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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Dealing With Humidity

Frugal Kitchens 101

By the very nature of cooking, kitchens tend to be rather humid rooms while cooking.  Compounding the problem for some is high humidity locations.  Humidity can cause salts, sugars, dried seasonings and other powdered kitchen products (eg. cleaners, dishwasher detergent) to clump.  It can cause dried herbs to mold as well as herbs and seasonings to lose their flavour.  During the winter months, humidity caused by cooking can cause condensation that can lead to molding issues in the home.  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101 deals with controlling humidity in the kitchen.

  • use lids - Lids on pots and pans not only reduce humidity while cooking they also reduce cooking times making them energy efficient.
  • choose cooking methods that create less humidity - It goes without saying that choosing steaming over boiling creates less humidity.  Baking, slow cooking and pressure cooking create less humidity that steaming and boiling.  
  • take it out -  An outdoor grill or camp cookstove is one way to keep the humidity out of the house especially during higher humidity months.  Slow cookers and countertop roasters can be used in enclosed or sheltered areas outside the home as well.
  • glass - Sealed glass storage is your friend for things like powdered dishwasher detergent, flours, grains and other dried foods.  It is important to have an airtight seal.
  • the old switch-a-roo - Powdered detergents in particular are affected by humidity causing clumping and reduced efficacy.  Both result in product wastage.  Curb this by switching to individual dishwasher tabs or liquid/gel dishwasher solution that humidity does not effect. 
  • create air circulation - Use a ceiling fan and/or exhaust fan to help remove humidity from the kitchen.  An open window can also help to remove humidity while cooking.  
  • chemical control - If using powdered dishwasher detergent or cleansers place a container of Damp Trap or similar in the cabinet where they are stored.  The crystals will absorb any extra humidity in the cabinet so your dry cleansers and detergent will stay free flowing.  These traps are available at our local dollar store, Dollarama.

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