How to Reduce Energy Costs While Cooking

As the cold weather sets in, we’ve talked a lot about ways to save energy . We also talked about how to prepare for the big holiday season . What if we told you that you can do both? Even if you’re throwing a massive Thanksgiving or Christmas party, you don’t have to rob the bank with the electricity bill your kitchen generates.

Here’s how to save energy while you’re preparing a storm (besides getting energy-efficient appliances, that is).

Pick dishes for food

I’m guilty of using the toaster for literally everything I do, which is time consuming and the result of sheer laziness. What I didn’t consider until recently is that this is also an efficient way to waste energy, as I eat one course and side at a time. According to Spark Energy , you should match the size of your kitchen tools to the size of your food to maximize efficiency. If you fry an egg in a large frying pan or cook all the dishes separately in a toaster, you are wasting energy. However, if you just need to cook one dish, try using a toaster instead of turning on a large oven, which can also waste energy.

Compact Appliance even notes that using a six-inch pot on an eight-inch electric burner can waste up to 40% of the heat produced. You are just burning money this way, and you are also burning it if the bottom of your pots warped. Remember to change the pan periodically so that the bottom of the pan is flat so it will distribute the heat more efficiently. Copper-bottomed pans also heat up faster than others, so consider picking up one the next time you update your set.

Finally, use glass or ceramic utensils whenever possible, as you can lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees without sacrificing cooking speed, according to Edison International .

Cover it with a lid

Keep pots and pans covered while cooking, according to the compact appliance. This will keep the heat inside your cookware to cook faster and save money. small changes add up to big differences.

Similarly, do not look into the oven when opening the door while cooking. Each time you do this, the temperature drops 25 degrees, so according to Edison, the oven has to work a little harder to get it up again.

Plan a way to cook as many as you can at one time

According to Edison, you should try to cook multiple dishes in the oven at the same time whenever possible. This is a great time to brush up on single pot meals, oven hacks for cooking multiple dishes at the same time, and tips for doubling dishes in a slow cooker and broiler .

Prepare before you cook

Edison also recommends doing all non-electrical jobs first. Before turning on the blender or deep fryer, make sure all the ingredients are washed, chopped, separated, spread out – everything you need. Keep devices unplugged until you need them, or use a smart power strip to turn them off.

Defrost food in the refrigerator for several hours instead of using the microwave, and only preheat the oven when you’re almost ready to cook so it doesn’t stay hot when there’s nothing in it. If you can cook, Edison even suggests turning off the oven or stove a few minutes before you do. With the door or lid closed, the temperature should stay high enough so that the food can continue to cook all the way through (but if you don’t feel comfortable enough with this, you should skip it).

Keep clean

Edison recommends keeping the grease plates on your burners clean or covering them with aluminum foil to reflect heat upwards, improving energy efficiency. Clean the entire oven and stovetop before cooking large meals to reduce buildup and grime that can affect its effectiveness. When it comes time to clean it, be sure to run the self-cleaning function immediately after cooking or baking so you don’t have to heat it separately just to clean it.

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