Cooking a holiday meal can be stressful not only on the chef but also the energy bill. Use these tips to help cook efficiently during the holidays.
- Match pots and pans to burners. Using a small pan or pot on a bigger burner can waste more than 40 percent of the heat being produced. Using the smallest pot or pan possible on the proper sized burner not only takes less time to heat but also uses heat more efficiently.
- Use sturdy cookware. Cookware with warped bottoms can take up to 50 percent more energy.
- Thaw and chop. Two simple ways of reducing cooking time (and energy use) is to completely thaw your food before cooking and to chop vegetables and other food into smaller pieces. Turn on appliances after preparation is completed.
- Keep oven door shut. Rather than opening the door, use the oven light. Opening the door can drop the temperature 25 degrees, adding cooking time and energy use to get the heat back to the set temperature.
- Use small appliances. Crockpots or toaster ovens use energy better than conventional ovens for smaller dishes or meals.
- Cool down. Allow leftovers to cool before refrigerating to reduce the appliance’s work.
- Unplug. Most small appliances, such as toaster ovens and coffee makers, consume a small amount of energy even if turned off. When possible, unplug.
- Oven and microwave. Food spills and food waste absorb heat, adding to cooking time, so keep the inside clean.
- Dishwashers. Fully load your dishwasher because it uses the same amount of energy whether full or not. Avoid rinsing dishes before loading. Most dishwashers can handle crusted food.
- Washing machines. Use settings based on laundry load size to make more efficient use of both energy and water. Most detergents work well in cold water.