Published on June 6th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor0
10 Ways to Save Energy in the Kitchen
6. Match the saucepan with the correct size coil.
When cooking on the electric stoveop, be sure to match coil size to pot size. If using gas, start with a small flame to target the heat in the center of the pot. According to Consumer’s Energy Center, “a 6-inch pan on an 8-inch burner will waste over 40 percent of the energy.”
7. Use cast-iron or heavy bottomed saucepans for the best heat conductivity.
Cast-iron is great for a lot of reasons, and there is no need for potentially toxic teflon pans when you have cast iron. Cast iron pans are super heavy (so a bit troublesome to use), but the cooking ability is hard to beat. Cast iron heats slowly but very evenly. Often you can use a lower heat, and turn the heat off before foods are totally done, and get great results. For example, when I cook my stir-fried veggies, I cook the harder veggies first then remove the pan from the heat. I then add rice and/or greens to the cast-iron, cover and let cook with the residual heat in the pan. No extra energy used! According to this article, cast-iron, aluminum and copper pans the best heat conductors, but both are reactive with acids. Many stainless steel pots and pans will have aluminum and/or a copper core to help distribute heat evenly for better cooking.
8. Get thermometers for your oven too!
An oven thermometer not only saves energy, it improves your cooking. Many ovens are ‘off’ by a few degrees or more. In a previous house, my oven was off by 60ºF, which burned all my baked goods. These can be found in a kitchen supply store for about $10 and are worth every penny.
9. No Peeking– Don’t open the oven while baking!
According to Consumer’s Energy Center, you can lose up to 25% of the heat when you open the oven to check your foods. The solution is to turn the oven light on, and be sure to use timers for all your foods.
10. Better yet, invest in a toaster oven.
Even though we have a full-sized stove at our house, we almost always use our small countertop toaster/convection oven (I love my Cuisinart). It works well with everything from toast, reheating leftovers, baking cakes, cookies, and pizza too. According to this post on The Daily Green, “a well-insulated toaster oven, with plenty of room for air to circulate around it, consumes a whopping 50 percent less energy” and it will keep your kitchen cooler; it heats up faster and cools down quicker to get your kitchen back to normal temperature ASAP.