Editor’s Note: To view the 500+ different energy and water conservation tips for the home we have collected, simply access our Un-Official Guide To Home Energy & Water Conservation, 2nd Edition
In this two part series of our cooking related energy conservation tips, we look at the first which cost absolutely nothing to do yet can reduce the amount of energy (electricity for an electric stove / oven or natural gas for a gas ‘powered’ stove / oven)
Here we go.
Number 19, Cook With Full Oven. Why prepare / cook a meal where only one item will be in the oven? Wasteful (unless the particular dish being cooked in the oven requires a very different or unique temperature vs the other meal’s components. If you are preparing a meal and only one of the items is planned to be cooked in the oven, why not change the meal so none of the components have to be cooked in the oven or so that several items can be cooked in the oven or one right after the other so use the existing heat. Saves energy and saves money.
Number 20, Reduce Opening Oven During Baking. Oven lights – use them. The more often you open the oven the more heat will escape making it work harder to replace that lost heat. Of course, keep the window on the oven door clean both inside and out so you can actually see what is cooking inside. Gee … keeping the glass in the oven door clean; perhaps that should be another tip?
Number 21, Minimize Oven Preheating. Sure, some food cooked in the oven like a souffle should not go in until the oven had reached the precise temperature. But seriously; french fries? Casseroles? Roasts? Pies? Think about it. Why not put some food cooked in the oven as soon as you turn the oven on to reduce the cooking time by a few minutes at the end. Or if you feel that you can’t do that, at least put the food in the oven as soon as the bell goes off indicating that the oven has reached the temperature you set it to reach so you don’t waste all that heat unnecessarily.
Number 22, Use Leftover Oven Heat as Food Warmer. Of course, turn the oven off and then place the pie in the oven to heat so it is nice and warm when everyone’s ready for dessert. Or, place the remaining contents of the roasting pan, etc., in the oven with the oven turned off to keep warm for seconds.
Number 23, Cook Consecutive Meals In Oven for Later, and Number 24, Cook Weekday dinners on Weekend. If you do this, you will be using the oven and stove to cook one meal after the next. This has each subsequent meal using the heat from the prior in the oven / on the stove and using less energy. Even better if you place, as suggested in tip number 19 above, multiple items in the oven at the same time yet for different weekday meals you will use even less energy. Just make sure you have enough room in the refrigerator!
Number 25, Don’t Boil More Water than Needed. I am guilty of this as anyone. I typically put more water in the kettle when boiling water to make hot tea or jello. I also put more water in the pot to cook vegetables than needed. I’m getting better. However, boiling more water than needed takes longer to cook and thus uses more energy to get the water to a boil and to keep it boiling (say for pasta) or simmering (say for veggies).
Number 26, Thaw Frozen Food Before Cooking. As long as the instructions on the package do not say ‘cook from frozen’, absolutely. Take those hamburger patties and hot dogs of of the freezer a few hours before use. Same for steaks and fish. Frozen food takes longer to cook which uses more energy.
Number 27, Cut Food Into Small Pieces Before Cooking. Excellent tip for the microwave so the outside does not remain cool while the inside is over cooked. Same for the stove, the BBQ and even the oven depending on what you are cooking. In smaller portions the food takes less time to cook, saving you money on your next electric or natural gas or propane bill as it will take the food less time to cook.
Number 28, Turn Off Stove Before Finishing Cooking, and Number 29, Turn Off BBQ Before Fishing Cooking. When I cook eggs in the pan for breakfast, when I have turned them over I turn off the stove as there is plenty of remaining heat to cook the other side of the eggs. Same for hamburgers or steaks on the BBQ; when they are almost done and have about 5 or so minutes to go cooking, I turn off the BBQ as the remaining heat will be fine for that last 5 minutes.
Number 30, Right Size Pot To Cooking Need. If you are using the top of the stove to cook some fresh or frozen veggies, use a small pot. This will allow you to use the small burner and use less energy than if you used a large pot which one would typically place on the large burner.
Tomorrow we return to review the second half of our cooking related energy conservation tips.
To access our review of the remaining energy conservation cooking tips which made our Un-Official Guide list, simply select this link to Part 2.
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