We've all seen the drawers under our ovens, and we surely do utilize the extra space. Whether it be for extra pots and pans, towels, or even spices: there's no denying that this little pocket of helpfulness is nothing shy of highly used. People rarely talk about it, and why would they? It's a minuscule place that functions as a storage drawer, as any other drawer or cabinet in the kitchen does.
Is that what the bottom drawer is truly intended for - the storage of cookware, cookie sheets, baking pans, and muffin tins? Could the purpose of the oven drawer be something more useful than extra storage? Of course, not all oven models have a drawer, regardless of the type of oven. Electric ovens and gas stoves alike can have the feature. (Your owner's manual may even mention what it's for!)
Actually, this drawer isn't supposed to be as extra storage space for your extra pots and baking sheets. Rather, its original purpose is to be used for keeping those baked goods and entrees like casserole dishes you've carefully and craftily created warm, even as you finish making the rest of the meal. It also acts as a humidity control.
That's right, it's not placed under the oven for the purposes we've come to know and love. It's meant to keep food warm, especially if you're serving multiple courses. Something like this could come in handy for Thanksgiving dinner. According to many labels and manuals for ovens, you'll see this written somewhere:
"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."
Though it is highly convenient to deploy this drawer for pesky pans or those out-of-use appliances we forget we have, its true intentions prove differently. After all, it is located directly underneath the oven, and it turns out that's intentional. When you think about it, this tactic and placement is extremely logical, and even economical.
Rather than leaving your oven on a lower temperature to keep foods warm, you can simply turn the oven off, and place your meal—or cookies—in this drawer, keep them at the perfect temperature, and save money on gas and/or electricity.
It's a win-win, and now you can tell all your friends about your newfound knowledge and spark a kitchen revolution.
This article was originally published in June 2018.