You will notice in some of the pictures below that I often line the floor of the warming oven with folded towels. This is because the floor of the warming oven is the hottest part of it, and sometimes it is too hot for what I'm trying to do with it. The towels form some quick, easy-to-clean insulation which allows additional versatility.
|Cooked foods keeping warm in the warming oven while other dishes finish.|
|Bread loaves rising on the open door of the warming oven.|
The temperature ranges listed above are within the range that are recommended for food dehydrators, so I'll be trying to dry other foods in the warming oven in the future. Has anyone out there tried this?
|Slices of bread drying out in the warming oven.|
Another convenient function of the warming oven is heating canning jars before they are filled with
hot food to be canned. Having the jars hot before putting hot food, boiling water, or bubbling jellies and preserves in them prevents the jars from breaking due to the rapid temperature change of putting hot food into cool jars.
|Jelly jars staying hot in the warming oven before they are filled with |
boiling peach and strawberry preserves down in the summer kitchen
back in July.
I have discovered that the warming oven is also the perfect place to soften butter. I've learned to be careful, though. If the butter is in a bowl that is making direct contact with the floor of the warming oven, it can become a puddle in a hurry.
|Butter softening in the 150 degree heat of the Riverside Bakewell's|
For some frozen foods, the warming oven is a great place to defrost. I think this is why Susan from Stoves and More Online calls her warming oven her "Amish microwave." I'm naughty, of course, so I've actually defrosted meat in the warming oven. I'm sure that any food science expert would tell you that I shouldn't do that. More frequently, I use the warming oven to defrost our homemade applesauce (packaged in our chic freezer containers which were originally margarine, whipped topping, cottage cheese, or sour cream cartons) which I don't think presents any significant danger. I put the containers on a plate to buffer the high heat of the floor of the warming oven as well as to catch any condensation from the outside of the container.
|Applesauce defrosting in our "Amish microwave."|
As you can see, the warming oven of the woodburning cookstove is an extremely versatile piece of equipment. I imagine that as colder weather sets in, we will discover even more uses for this ingenious feature of the cookstove.
One last note: The temperatures that I have recorded for the warming oven are exactly in the range of temperatures offered by the modern warming drawer, which has become a feature of today's upscale home kitchens. Online prices for warming drawers range from right around $900 to an eye-popping $1599! Yes, these electric conveniences offer the user more precise control over the temperature, but their capacity is fairly comparable to the warming oven, and I can guarantee you that the extra charge for having a warming oven on the Margin Gem instead of a high shelf was not $900.