We all need to eat. It’s a fact. One of the concerns is over how much energy we use when we cook food. There are ways to minimize energy use for cooking.
There are several appliances that are certified by ENERGY STAR to save money and energy. Gas units are preferable to electric when it comes to heating food, but if you don’t cook often, the savings may not be as much. As far as the types of gas burners, it doesn’t matter which you use. An energy efficient range hood is a good choice. These units are a great place to save energy if you cook on stoves a lot.
For ovens, convection ovens are usually more energy efficient than conventional ovens because the heated air is continuously circulated around the food being cooked. This reduces the required temperature and cooking times. On average, you’ll cut energy use by about 20%. With conventional gas or electric ovens, self-cleaning models are more energy-efficient because they have more insulation. However, if you use the self-cleaning feature more than once a month, you’ll end up using more energy with the feature than you save from the extra insulation, so be aware of your use patterns.
Microwaves use a lot of energy when operating, but because cooking times are so drastically reduced, using a microwave to prepare a meal will reduce energy consumption by about two-thirds compared to a conventional oven. With less heat being generated in the kitchen, you may also save on air conditioning costs during the summer. Some microwave ovens include sophisticated features to further boost energy efficiency and cooking performance, such as temperature probes. These controls turn off the microwave when food is cooked, and have variable power settings. New “rapid-cook” ovens combining microwaves with other cooking technologies, such as halogen lights, are designed to cut cooking time and improve the quality of foods compared to standard microwave preparation. There are numerous cooking appliances to suit your needs and save energy.
There are several cooking tips. Here are a few. It helps to match the cooking method to the meal. Methods of cooking that minimize the area the must be heated save energy. On the other hand, sometimes the most efficient cooking methods, like the microwave, will sacrifice on food quality. The trick is to find the right balance, or an appliance explicitly designed for a particular type of meal. Combining cooking methods usually works very well. When using the range, match the pan size to the element so heat isn’t wasted on smaller pans. Buy sturdy, flat-bottomed cookware. The more contact that food has with the element, the more efficiently it will cook. Use high-conductivity materials. Certain materials work better than others for cooking food. Copper pans are an excellent way to start since they are about 25% faster at heating. When burner pans become blackened from heavy use, they can absorb a lot of heat, reducing burner efficiency. The burner pans need to remain shiny so they can reflect heat up to the cookware, so be sure to keep your stove top clean and shiny.
Reducing cooking time is another energy saver. Defrost frozen foods in the refrigerator before cooking. With conventional ovens, keep preheat time to a minimum. While you cook, keep oven racks clear. Don’t lay foil on the racks and, if possible, spread out multiple pans to improve air flow. Avoid peeking into the oven as you cook, it lets out heat. On an electric burner or in the oven, turn off the heat just before the cooking is finished to prevent overcooking. Another idea is to cook double portions. This helps because you are just reheating prepared food. Also, use the self-cleaning option minimally and only after you’ve cooked a meal so it can use the residual heat.