Monday, October 13, 2008

Cooking - 13 ways to cook efficiently in the winter

In a previous post (Cool Summer Cooking), we talked about ways to cook without heating up the house ... and using a lot of energy. Now with cooler temperatures arriving, cooking in the oven and on the stove is much more agreeable (ahhh ... the heat coming from the kitchen is just about as comforting as the delicious smells and tastes).

Can we cook efficiently in the winter?? Well sure! Here are some ideas:

  1. Don't preheat the oven before use.

  2. Plan ahead to maximize the oven heat ... cook more than one item at a time. If that won't work for you, have the second item ready to pop into the oven the very second the first one is done.

  3. Turn off the oven about 15-20 minutes before the end of cooking time. The leftover heat in the oven will finish the job.

  4. Resist the temptation to open the oven door to check on food while it’s cooking. Each time you open it, 25 percent of the oven’s heat is wasted.

  5. Once cooking in the oven is complete, open the oven door and let the remaining heat escape into the house ... it'll warm things up without using the home's heating system.

  6. Steam foods instead of boiling. Not only does it save energy, it's healthier.
  7. Use a lid ... saucepans with their lids on heat much quicker, using less energy to cook food.

  8. Be sure that the pan fits the burner. You'll use much less energy than you would with a mismatched burner and pan.

  9. Turn your stove down to a simmer as soon as food or water begins to boil. This setting maintains cooking temperature, cooks food more evenly and saves energy.

  10. Use a microwave for cooking instead of the oven or stove. Microwave ovens draw less than one-half the power of a conventional oven and foods cook in about one-fourth the time, greatly reducing cooking costs.

  11. Pressure cookers and steamers are both energy efficient ... they are also healthy ways of cooking.

  12. Use a toaster for making toast rather than the oven's broiler – it uses much less energy.

  13. If you're into stews, curries and soups, try a slow cooking Crockpot.
Happy "Efficient" Cooking!