7 Tips for Saving Energy in The Kitchen
Practical ways to save money on your electricity bills
Food Editor at Kitchen Stories
It’s slowly but surely getting colder, which means we will all probably stay more at home. During the colder months, I cook and bake more. Maybe this has something to do with the approaching holidays or the cozy feeling of staying inside: cooking and baking during the colder months just have a different appeal than in summer.
This year, however, it will likely be harder to fully enjoy being indoors as we now have to worry about increasing costs for electricity and gas, not to mention already surging prices for essentials like food. It is a challenge, especially for those with an already struggling income. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy cooking anymore. You just have to be more conscious about some decisions in the kitchen. That’s why we from Kitchen Stories put together some tips on how you can save energy while cooking.
Here are our best tips
Prep more, cook (for) more
It’s best to prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking, for example, cutting and measuring ingredients. This way you save energy from opening the fridge door multiple times during cooking, and potentially extending the cooking time on the stove or in the oven because you need to chop or peel something.
Additionally, cooking in bigger batches in one sitting helps you save time and energy for the next days as you only need to reheat your meal instead of making new ones. I do this with sauces and stews for example so that I can meal-prep for at least a few days. If you don’t know where to start, we have a detailed guide on meal prepping for beginners. Cooking in big batches can also be a reason to invite friends and family over and cook together. Cooking and eating together adds more fun and joy!
Make use of residual heat and preheating
Instead of turning off the stove or oven after you’ve finished cooking, you can turn it off a little earlier and use the residual heat from the stovetop, oven, pot, or pan. If you cook pasta, for example, you can turn off the heat around 1–2 minutes earlier than the intended cooking time. The residual heat will continue cooking your pasta.
By the way, you can also turn the heat down a bit during the cooking process, because not everything has to be cooked on high heat. If we stick to the pasta example, after reaching full heat (or once the water boils), you can immediately lower the heat.
Preheating your oven is not always necessary except for baked goods with a sensitive batter, such as sponge cakes, choux pastry or soufflés, as well as fish and meat. However, food like casseroles, cakes, bread, and frozen foods (such as the beloved frozen pizza) don’t need preheating.
Always use a lid
Most pots and pans come with a lid. Instead of leaving it in the cabinet, you should use it because it helps speed up the cooking process. Cooking with the lid on prevents the heat from escaping and thus uses less energy. A glass lid enables you to keep an eye on your cooking while it’s covered.
Also while we’re at it, you might want to consider using correct-sized pots and pans, not only so they would fit the stove top but also accord the amount of food you are preparing. So if you are just making something small, use a small pot instead of a big one because it will take less time to heat up the surface. However, depending on your stove top type, using cookware smaller than the heating area can waste energy, since excess heat is released as the cookware doesn’t cover up the whole stovetop.
Take advantage of your electric water kettle
Using your electric water kettle is not only helpful for making tea: you can also use it to cook meals. If you need hot water for your cooking, pre-boiling the water in the kettle takes less energy and time than boiling it in the pot (depending on the type stove). However, for cooking requiring bigger quantities of water, it might be better to heat it up using the stove. Furthermore, don’t use more water than you actually need: the more water, the longer and more energy it takes.
Choose the right appliances
Sometimes it is better to use countertop appliances rather than using the stove. If you are someone who for example enjoys rice, eggs, or toast, you might want to consider investing in a rice cooker, an egg cooker, or a toaster. These appliances are great for your everyday cooking in a small household. It uses less energy than the stove and also you don’t have to keep an eye on them.
Clean your appliances
Cleaning your appliances regularly and taking care of them helps speed up cooking. If for example a lot of limescale has formed in your water kettle, then we suggest decalcifying it because the less build-up, the faster and more efficiently the kettle works. This not only applies to countertop appliances but to bigger ones as well, like your fridge and especially your freezer. Remove the layer of ice as soon as it forms.
Turn off your faucet (never hurts to be reminded *wink*)
Saving water when you can is something that you probably already know or implement. But we still thought it couldn't hurt to mention it again. You can practice saving water simply by filling a bowl with water to wash your produce in or turning off the faucet when you do the dishes instead of doing them under running water.
Published on November 18, 2022