The kitchen is the busiest room in American houses and also among the biggest energy users. With a few smart cooking tips and tricks, you can save energy while cooking (bigger grocery budget, anyone?)
Only Use the Oven When You Have To
Some recipes don’t even require an oven or stove. When possible, use the microwave, crockpot or toaster oven. These smaller appliances net mega energy savings, which makes your meals more affordable. And consider grilling outside on warm days so you are not heating your kitchen while preparing your favorite meal.
No need to use your largest pan to boil two eggs. That larger pan takes more time (and dishwasher space) to clean and is much less efficient than using a small pan. And make sure that you match a small pan with a small stove burner. Here’s an easy way to know you’re wasting energy: if you can see the orange electric coils while you’re cooking, then you’re using a burner that’s too big for the pan.
Boil Over With Savings
Water boils faster and more efficiently with a top on the cooking pot. So reach for the lid in order to cook faster and keep your kitchen cooler.
Ok, this one takes a bit of planning ahead. If you know you want to cook a certain frozen food for dinner, go ahead and move the item to the refrigerator in the morning. This allows the item time to slowly thaw instead of you having to spend the time and energy to quickly thaw frozen items when you’re ready to cook.
Move That Hot Air
If you have a kitchen exhaust fan, turn it on while cooking to help push hot air outside and save energy. Just be sure to turn it off after cooking in order to continue the energy savings.
Keep It Shut
It’s hard to resist checking in on your favorite cake as it bakes. To save energy, turn on the oven light and peer through the window instead of opening the oven door. Every time you open the oven door, loads of heat escapes, which wastes energy and might mean your cake takes longer to bake (and no one wants that!).
Frugal Fridge Facts
We all know the importance of keeping leftovers cool in the refrigerator, but don’t be too quick to package up your edible extras. Let hot food cool a bit before you store it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, your refrigerator ends up working more to eliminate added heat. And while we’re on the subject of efficient refrigerators, try to keep a full fridge. If your fridge is only holding mustard and drinks, you are paying more to keep your items cool than you would if your fridge was full. Fill the empty space in your freezer with ice packs and in your fridge with bottles of water or other items. Finally, check the placement of your fridge. It needs about two inches of clearance in the back to allow proper room for ventilation. And clean the coils at least once a year.
Happy energy-efficient cooking!
Image credit: N. Abalde via Flickr