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Save Energy By Cooking More Efficiently

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couple cooking

Cooking uses a substantial amount of energy, which can have an impact on your bills. Cooking typically adds $150-$200 to energy bills, and you can save a lot of energy by cooking more efficiently. Cooking more efficiently will also keep you from spending extra money on cooling your home since you’ll avoid excessive heating as you cook.

With that in mind, we’ve put together 20 energy saving cooking tips to help you become more energy-efficient in the kitchen.

1. Use the microwave rather than the ovens.

Using microwave ovens is one of the cheapest and most energy-efficient ways to cook. They use less energy than conventional ovens and stovetops. Ovens also heat up your home, which can make the home unbearably hot during the summer. Opt to use microwave ovens for cooking whenever you can.

2. Cook less often by batch cooking your food.

Batch cooking helps you to prepare for the week ahead. It involves spending a few hours per week cooking all or most of your meals for the week on a Sunday for the week ahead and then storing them in the fridge or freezer, in different meal-size portions. This will ultimately use much less time and energy than having to cook every day of the week.

3. Use the right size pot.

When cooking on the stovetop, always match the pot size to the size of the burner or coil on your stove. Cooking with a small pot on a large burner will waste 30-40% of the electricity required. This is due to the fact that you’re going to be heating air, which will generate a lot of unnecessary extra heat in your home. In the same way, don’t use a pot that is too big for the burner. This will take too much time to get to the right temperature.

4. Clean your drip pans.

Drip pans catch a lot of grease and grime that are spilled over. If your drip tray has a lot of gunk, it will just not be doing as effective a job of reflecting heat. This will waste energy because you’ll be expending extra electricity each time you cook.

You’ll save energy and money by cleaning your drip pans. But if the drip pan has degraded to the point of having holes, you’re better off replacing them as they cost only a few bucks.

How to Clean Your Drip Pans Naturally

What You Need:

  1. Boiling water
  2. Bottle of distilled vinegar
  3. Cup of baking soda

Instructions

  1. Remove the burners and take out the drip pans.
  2. Shake them over a garbage can to rid the pan of any loose gunk.
  3. Soak the drip pans in boiling water for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Drain water from the sink.
  5. Pour distilled white vinegar on the drip pans and let them sit in the vinegar for approximately 30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle some baking soda on top of the vinegar and rub the baking soda right into the crust.
  7. Let the baking soda and vinegar remain on the stains for at least 15 minutes. You should now see the burnt residue flaking away.
  8. Rinse the drip pans with hot water, apply more baking soda and apply the baking soda to the remaining stains.
  9. Rinse again and towel-dry.

Source: Savor & Savvy

5. Close the oven door when cooking.

You’re unnecessarily wasting energy every time you open the oven during cooking. All of the trapped heat is escaping, and your oven will now have to work hard to reproduce all of the heat that you’ve lost. Use the oven light to check on your food rather than opening the oven. In addition, keep the oven glass door clean so you’ll not have to open the oven.

6. Use copper and cast-iron pans.

Copper-bottomed pans are better at conducting and retaining heat than stainless steel. This is why they are able to distribute heat evenly throughout the pans cooking surface. By using copper-bottom cooking pots and pans to do your cooking, you’ll be saving energy.

Cast-iron pans retain heat more efficiently, so they are the right choice for quickened cooking times. They also allow you to cook on a lower heat setting than nonstick or stainless steel cookware, which saves more energy. 

7. Choose the right pans.

When cooking, choose pots with flat rather than curved bottoms. This is because the pot will make full contact with the ring so that the heat can spread evenly through. Pots with curved bottoms tend to allow heat to escape.

8. Chop up large foods.

If you have a large piece of food like a meat joint, it may be worth cutting it up into smaller pieces. This will shorten cooking times, and can help you avoid overcooking the food.

9. Use glass or ceramic dishes in the oven.

As excellent conductors of heat, glass and ceramic dishes tend to retain heat better than metal dishes. This allows you to lower baking temperatures by 25 degrees. This increased efficiency means your food will be ready up to 10 minutes quicker than when baking with metal dishes.

10. Let food defrost in the fridge overnight.

Let your food defrost naturally rather than cooking from frozen. Doing that can cut cooking times by as much as half. You’ll use more time and more energy when you cook frozen food.

11. Use the self-cleaning feature after cooking.

The best time to use the self-cleaning feature of your oven is immediately after cooking a meal. This will reduce the lengthy warm-up that it typically has to go through and reduce overall energy costs. Industry experts recommend not using the self-cleaning function more than six times a year.

12. Use a lid when cooking.

Cooking with a lid reduces cooking times and ensures that you use less water when cooking your food. This speeds up cooking time, reduces the amount of heat being let into your home so you don’t have to use much energy to cool down your home.

13. Clean your cooker on a weekly basis.

A cleaner oven radiates more heat than a dirty one, and is much more energy-efficient. Ultimately, this increases the lifespan of the cooker and will conserve electricity and save you money.

14. Invest in a convection or fan-assisted oven

Convection ovens cook faster and more thoroughly than conventional ovens, which makes them more energy efficient. These ovens also cook at lower temperatures because they use a fan that circulates hot air inside as the oven cooks the food.

15. Consider solar ovens.

Solar ovens are a great option for everyday cooking, especially during summer when the sun is out for longer. They provide cooler temperatures indoors,  maintain better air quality, reduce CO2 emissions and conserve energy. Click here to read more about the advantages and disadvantages of solar ovens.