You’ve Probably Been Using Your Oven Drawer Wrong All Along
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Perhaps, like me, you use that drawer located underneath your stove for storing pans, cookie sheets, and muffin tins. Well, according to the good people who manufacturer stoves, you might be using that drawer all wrong. While it does serve as a great spot for all of your backup cooking tools, in most cases, it’s actually meant to be a warming drawer.
Sometimes common items that you thought that you knew well are ANYTHING that they seem. Take ovens, for instance. These kitchen staples have always come with a nifty pull-out drawer at the bottom. But, did you know that you have probably been using it wrong all this time?
I know that when I told this to my group of girlfriends, they were incredulous—to put it nicely! What do you mean we’ve been using the drawer wrong? What the heck else can it be used for? They, like most of us, had been taking advantage of this drawer and using it as storage space for pots, pans, and cookie sheets. Sounds familiar, right?
Well actually, this drawer was originally built to be used as a warming place for baked food. Yep, we were surprised, too!
It turns out that if you own one of these ovens, they are more common than you think! In fact, you have possibly been serving up luke-warm food to your dinner guests all these years!
The warmer acts similarly to the heated lights that restaurants have in their kitchens. It’s not meant to cook the food, but it will keep its core temperature level for longer.
So, how do you know if your oven comes equipped with this useful accoutrement? Well, your best bet is to look at your appliance manual before you just start sticking food in the drawer.
According to Snopes, in Home Depot’s recent stock of oven/range combos, they were selling 19 models that included the warming feature. Alternatively, 87 models did not; these particular ones only had that common storage drawer.
Now, if you are one of the lucky ones that actually has one of these nifty drawers, we implore you to CLEAN IT OUT! That’s right. Take out all those pots, pans, lids, and cookie sheets.
Next, it’s important to first recognize exactly what your warming drawer is capable of doing. Some of the newer, “mac daddy” ones actually come with adjustable heat settings. This line made by Thermador will even allow you to have control over the humidity and moisture in the drawer.
You may notice a message printed on the inside of the drawer or in some sort of owner’s manual that says something like this: “The warming drawer is designed to keep hot foods at serving temperature. Always start with hot food. Cold or room-temperature foods cannot be heated, warmed, or cooked in the warming drawer. Bacteria will grow very rapidly in food that is between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Maybe it’s because it’s located so close to the ground, or maybe it’s because it’s such a perfect spot for storing not-in-use skillets, but this is news to me. But what a great way to use all of that heat that goes into cooking your foods—not to mention the ideal solution for dealing with dinner guests who are running late.
If you’re in love with this idea, but your current oven doesn’t have a built-in warming drawer, don’t fret! Most major appliance makers are producing warming drawers that can be installed separately, either under your oven – if your kitchen can account for that space – or in an area of your choice.
Now I am sure you are rummaging through your junk drawer for that oven manual!
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