The kitchen, with all its appliances, gadgets and heat, is a real hotspot for potential energy saving. As the oven uses the most energy and creates a vast amount of heat while cooking foods, it is a good place to start.
For instance, when baking cookies use two trays. While one is in the oven baking, the other one is prepped with raw cookies – ready to replace the tray in the oven with no wasted heat and some time saved. When we bake bread we also fill the oven with foil wrapped potatoes. The potatoes can be stored in the fridge without the foil and used throughout the week in a myriad of recipes, or as a side dish. This method can be applied to a menu plan in that if you are baking one dish, try to include a side dish that is baked as well.
By turning off the oven a minute or two before the dish is done, the residual heat will finish the cooking. When done with the oven, open the door to allow any leftover heat to warm the home.
Pasta cooking water can be left out until it has completely cooled – so that the heat and moisture are released back into the air. Before pulling the plug, consider leaving hot dishwater (and bath water) until it cools. Why pay to heat up your sewer pipes? When cooking vegetables, consider steaming instead of boiling. When steamed, more nutrients are retained in the food, and because it requires less water to heat - there is less energy used.
In summer, consider cooking on the barbecue to help keep the house cool. Most barbecues now include side burners that make outdoor cooking all that much easier.
All these methods are relatively easy to adopt and when added up, the savings in energy and time really do make a difference.
- Written by Dave and Lillian Brummet based on the concept of their new book Trash Talk. The book offers useful solutions for the individual to reduce waste and better manage resources. A guide for anyone concerned about his or her impact on the environment. (http://www.sunshinecable.com/~drumit )