Your food budget doesn’t stop at the checkout counter. Here are 11 suggestions to help you save energy and money when cooking.
- Don’t preheat (if you don’t have to)
If you’re baking loaves of bread and cakes, preheating your oven may be necessary. But for most foods preheating simply isn’t necessary. It’s an energy and money wasted. Remember, every time you open your oven door you lose approximately 25°F of heat.
- Small but significant
Smaller meals can be cooked in an electric skillet, broiler, or toaster oven. They use half the energy of a full-size electric counterpart and won’t heat up your kitchen.
- Use your microwave oven
Your microwave requires about the same amount of energy per hour to operate as your electric oven. But, since it cooks food so much more quickly, it saves you time, energy, and money.
- Boil until boiling and not a minute longer
Once water or other liquids reach a state of boiling, they won’t get any hotter. If you need to bring something to a boil, turn the burner down or off when it starts to boil.
- Think smart…plan your meals
A meal like roasted chicken, green bean casserole, and brownies can all be cooked at the same time because they cook at the same temperature. It is easier on you and your oven, too.
- Cover it up
Covers and lids on your pots and pans trap steam to help cook food faster.
- Keep the heat inside the over
Every time you open the oven door, you lose about 25°F of heat. This means your food will take longer to cook and your oven needs to work that much harder to keep the temperature consistent.
- Pay attention to pots and pans
Pans with flared sides or bottoms that are smaller than your burner let heat escape. If pots and pans are too big or have warped bottoms, food will not cook evenly. For most foods, a medium weight aluminum pan cooks faster and more efficiently than other types. Save heavier pots and pans for foods that require slow and steady cooking.
- Use your leftovers
Your oven and range have leftovers, too. An electric oven can stay hot for up to 30 minutes. Even your electric range top burner can stay hot for an extra three to five minutes. Take advantage of this extra heat by warming up desserts or rolls. After all, you’ve already paid for it.
- Keep your oven clean
An oven that’s free of grease and baked-on residue will work more efficiently.
- Thaw first, then cook
If you thaw your foods completely before cooking, your oven won’t have to work so hard to cook your meal.