Preparing meals at home is definitely cost efficient – there is no denying that. However, whether our cooking practices are energy efficient is an entirely different question altogether. Did you know that making hot meals at home accounts for 15% of your total energy consumption? You had no idea, right?
Given that energy costs are increasing day by day, common sense would dictate a more judicious use of electricity at home. For green lovers and planet-conscious folks there’s an added incentive – the more wisely you use energy at home the less greenhouse gases you will produce. Now that we have our respective motives in place, let’s get started on some energy efficient cooking practices.
Gas Ovens or Electric Ovens
The more commonly found among the two are electric ovens and yet gas ovens use far less energy than the former – up to three times less, in fact. And, they are known to heat up faster too. However, if you are hell bent on buying electric ovens, try saving electricity by limiting use of power before as well as after cooking.
For instance, in case you are making a dish that requires to be cooked for more than 30 minutes, you don’t necessarily have to pre-heat the oven. In addition, you can switch it off ten minutes before the recommended cooking time, which leaves just enough residual heat to cook the food. When baking cakes, however, it’s best to stick to the cookbook, since they require extremely precise baking temperatures and time.
Be Efficient in the Use of the Oven
Now that you’ve more or less decided what sort of oven you’d like to bring into your kitchen, let’s get down to some basic practices that will cut down on energy consumption. The best thing to do is to cook in bulk. If you can spare a day for making, baking, and cooking, you can freeze the dishes and have them over the week. Saves you a whole lot of time as well as money
For those that have the bad habit of opening the oven door regularly to check on the food, DON’T! Each time you open the oven door, the temperature drops by 2C. Altogether a rather counter-productive practice, I would say.
Avoid cooking frozen foods since it will use up a lot of energy. Whenever possible, thaw overnight in the fridge before cooking. For joints and chicken, de-frosting isn’t essential, but you should bring the meat down to room temperature before you start cooking.
Choosing Hobs for your Kitchen
By far the best kinds of hobs are the induction ones which allow for instant temperature control and conduct heat straight to the cooking utensil. They provide you twice the speed of cooking as ceramic hobs and are up to 40% quicker than gas ones. There is a flipside, though. For foods that need to be stir-fried, induction hobs aren’t too chummy with woks and you’ll find that ceramic or gas hobs do a much better job.
Other Energy-Saving Tips
Here are a few more tips you can adopt to improve your performance in the kitchen:
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