How To: Beat the Heat

Posted by on May 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

We’ve already covered how to choose the best air conditioner for you and what you need to know to keep it running like new, so, putting A/Cs aside for now, here are some additional ways you can keep cool in this weather:

  • At night, open your windows and turn on any ceiling fans so that they are spinning counter-clockwise to circulate the air. In the morning, close the windows to trap the cooler air inside while it lasts (especially during peak heat times of 10am – 2pm). Closing your blinds and curtains will help the cooler air last longer, espeically on the south or west sides of your home where the sun beats most.
  • Avoid caffeine close to bedtime, as it raises body temperature.
  • Turn off the computer, stereo, TV, desk lamp or any electronic that generates heat when not in use.
  • Wear loose, light-colored cotton or linen clothing to give your skin air to breathe.
  • Placing a container of ice in front of a window or fan can act like a mini-A/C and offers surprisingly satisfying relief.
  • Take on the town! Get out and peruse your town’s shops, restaurants, or libraries that have air conditioning. Hot afternoons are the perfect time to run errands and go to the supermarket.
  • Put mint in a glass of water or use skin care products infused with it to refresh yourself with a nice cooling sensation.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables with high water content, including leafy lettuces, corn on the cob, cucumbers, watermelon, and summer squash. You can also sweat out the heat with spicy foods like hot peppers, fresh ginger, horseradish, and black pepper.
  • Alternatively and surprisingly enough, try to avoid ingesting foods that are lower than your actual body temperature. Ice cream will initially cool you off for 15 minutes or so, but your body will soon increase blood flow to warm you back up.

Here is a recipe that uses two of the cooling foods we’ve listed above that avoids heating up any appliances and will keep your family refreshed:

Recipe: Watermelon Salad with Mint Leaves

Prep time: 20 minutes; Yields: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (5-pound) watermelon
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 whole mint sprigs

Directions:

Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Peel and slice the onion into rings.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.

To serve, divide salad among individual plates and garnish with mint leaves.

Source: Paula Deen & Food Network

How do you keep cool in the summer? Let us know in the comments!

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