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How to Save Energy in the Kitchen

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If you are on a tight budget, looking for more ways to cut costs or you just want to reduce more on your electric bills, and you think you have done all to save energy in your household, then you might want to consider these tips from Zero-Waste Chef.

Fortunately, there’s still room for saving energy – right there in your kitchen.  Not only will these save you time, but planning ahead, refrigerating wisely, and practicing efficient cooking will surely reduce your energy consumption and save you money.

Planning Ahead

Preparing foods a day or few hours before the actual cooking time can easily reduce energy consumption while you rest or do other things:

  • Soaking oats, rice grains, or dried beans in water a few hours before cooking will reduce cooking time, and thus allows you to save on fuel or electricity.
  • To avoid unnecessary heating using microwave or gasoline, take out frozen or refrigerated goods from the fridge at least an hour or two prior consumption and allow them to thaw or warm up naturally.

Refrigerating or Storing Wisely

The key is to lessen the cooling time – by minimizing contents of your refrigerator, minimizing leaks or door opening:

  • Keep the doors closed and effectively sealed. Avoid opening the refrigerator unnecessarily and for a long period of time as this will increase the storage temperature, and consequently, consume more energy to cool it down again and achieve the set cooling temperature.
  • Remove goods that don’t require low temperatures from the refrigerator, because the more things you put into it, the more energy it needs to keep the storage temperature. Some of the items that you can store out of the refrigerator are potatoes, mustard, soy sauce, hot sauce, onions, and garlic. These items can be stored at room temperature without spoilage.
  • Before storing warm or hot dishes in the refrigerator, cool them down first to room temperature. The higher the temperature of an item, the more energy is needed to cool it down.
  • Purchase the smallest refrigerator that is appropriate for your household or lifestyle. Consider the number of people living in your house and the frequency and length of your stay in that house. The larger the size of a refrigerator, obviously requires larger energy for operation.
  • Adjust the cooling temperature based on the contents of your refrigerator. If there are only a few items, then you might not need to cool down the refrigerator at its lowest possible temperature.

Efficient Cooking

On the other hand, to achieve energy-efficient cooking, the key is to minimize heating time:

  • Make it a habit to use lids on your pots. This simply keeps the heat energy contained in your cooking vessel, avoiding heat loss, and thus fastens boiling or simmering.
  • Cut your ingredients into smaller pieces. This will allow more surface area that is in contact with the hot water or mixture. The more contact area, the faster the food will heat up and be cooked.
  • Use only the necessary amount of water to boil or warm up. If you are wanting to have just two pieces of boiled eggs, then you might not need liters of water to boil. This saves both energy and water.
  • Lower the stove fire once the water or sauce is already boiling, simmering. Once the cooking mixture boils, only a minimum amount of heat is needed to maintain this state.
  • Use a pressure cooker if available. The higher the pressure, the lower the temperature needed to boil or heat up water.
  • Invest in a slow cooker as it consumes less energy and allows you to perform other things while it is cooking.
  • Maximize the amount of food you are cooking and just store the leftovers for the next day’s consumption. Bulk cooking will save you more time and energy than cooking the same meal repeatedly.
  • Choose the smallest size possible for your pot according to your recipe. The larger the cooking vessel, the more energy needed to heat it up.
  • Invest in some heat-retaining pots to further reduce heat loss and fasten cooking time.

[via treehugger/zero-waste chef]

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