Now that winter is here and the electricity bills (at least in France and Spain) are rising, it is always good to know about saving energy when cooking! These simple and easy tips could save you in the long run and who doesn’t like saving?
- The freezer is said to be one of the biggest energy-consuming appliances in the kitchen, so do your bit, and don’t stand in front of your fridge with the door open for countless minutes. One tip is to organize your freezer by labeling the items you put in there and rotating often enough so you don’t forget what’s there. I like to keep a little inventory list that stays near the freezer.
- The fridge, don’t put hot contents into your cold fridge. One, you could actually cause a crack to appear in your fridge – trust me! Not only will your fridge now need more energy to maintain the temperature setting but the hot contents will also bring up the temperature of other items in the fridge. This is a no-no! Tip: If you need to cool something down quickly, try an ice bath. Place some ice cubes into a large counter than your contents and plunge that in there to cool down. If you have ice packs in your freezer you can pack the ice pack under the contents you wish to cool down. And put the whole thing in the coolest place in your kitchen.
- Use the right size pot for the job. Make sure that you are not trying to boil a cup of water in a gallon-size pot. Smaller contents, smaller pot. Also, think about which burner you use. No need to put a small put on a big burner. Where does all that extra gas or electricity go? To waste, that’s where.
- Use the appropriate appliance for what you are preparing. You could use your oven to toast your bread, but should you? If you have one, use the toaster instead. It will get up to temperature faster and save you on energy.
- Reduce prep time by planning ahead. You should read through your recipes (that’s one of the tips we mentioned in our:10 Ways to Be a Better Cook when Entertaining. If you know that you need to have an item that is currently frozen in your freezer, it’s better to think ahead and defrost it in the fridge rather than in your microwave. The same goes for the softened butter you needed.
- Cover that pot of boiling water. Don’t have the right lid, use a plate or another pot. It will take longer for your water to come to temp uncovered than covered.
- Use a kitchen timer. Not only will you not end up burning your croutons which you’d then need to redo, but you’ll also be saving energy by not leaving them too long in the oven!
- Unplug what you are not using – if you can. Small amounts of energy are consumed even when your appliances are off and on standby. Unplug and put them away. Small appliances already consume enough energy on their own.
- Show some muscle! Do you want a bit of homemade whipped cream? It’s way better than store-bought with all the additives, I agree, but don’t whip out the stand-up mixer for such a small amount of cream. Use a very large whisk, it will incorporate more air so you won’t feel as if your arm is about to fall off.
- Those dirty dishes. The debate is hot on whether washing those dishes by hand is more energy-saving than washing them in the dishwasher. If you use the dishwasher, make sure it is full before running it. If you wash by hand, don’t leave the water running while you are soaping everything up. Make yourself a bowl of soapy water to dip your sponge into for recharge and soap up all your dishes before rinsing them all off starting with the least greasy to the most greasy.
Bonus! Pre-heat your oven, yes but not 1 hour before you will actually put the food in there. Reading the instructions carefully for your recipe and knowing your appliances will help you determine when that oven will be ready. Check the real temperature of your oven from time to time to be sure that its thermostat is actually working.
For more energy-saving know-how, check out these 25 energy efficiency tips.
Do you have tips for saving energy in your kitchen? Share them in the comments!