How To Conserve Energy While Using Your Oven
It’s that time of year when your kitchen starts calling for you. Something about Autumn makes many people want to bake. While many energy conservers discourage the use of your oven, there are ways to bake using your oven which are energy efficient.
Keep Your Oven Clean
It seems like common sense, right? Most people don’t take the time to clean their oven that often. A clean oven equals an efficient oven. Also, it’s important to make sure that the seal on the oven is tightened in order to thwart heat loss. Another good tip- don’t line the bottom of your oven with tinfoil! Air needs to be able to circulate in order to heat the oven properly.
Preheat the Oven Only When You are Ready
This might seem like another no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people turn on their ovens up to an hour or more before cooking, when all it takes to preheat an oven to the proper temperature is about 10 minutes. Many food items can be started in a room temperature oven, although most baked recipes require a heated oven. When your oven is keeping itself heated for an extended period of time without actually heating anything, energy is being wasted. Remember, it takes a lot of energy to heat an oven!
Double-Check Your Bake-ware
Believe it or not, the type of bake-ware you use can make a huge difference in how efficiently your oven works. Glass and Pyrex pans not only reduces cooking times, they also require lower cooking temperatures. Glass and Pyrex pans have been known to cook more evenly as well.
Although not everything can be baked together, there are some foods that can be baked simultaneously with no problem. You probably won’t want to bake a chocolate cake in the same oven as onion rings; however, things like pizza and garlic bread can share the same oven.
Every time you “peek” into your oven to check on your recipe, you’re letting hot air out. This is wasting energy- similar to when you were a kid and your parents would yell at you for leaving the garage door open during winter. Try to keep in mind that every time you open the door to “peek in” at the food cooking in your oven, you’re losing about 25 degrees in heat. Peeking in the oven doesn’t help your food cook faster- in fact it causes it to cook slower!
These are just a few tips for conserving energy while baking this autumn. You may also consider investing in a convection oven or toaster oven. There’s no reason why you can’t bake and save energy at the same time!
If you have any tips on saving energy in the kitchen, please share in the comments!
[CC Image by juanelos via Flickr]