Monday, December 14, 2009

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

It's that time of year when kitchens smell especially inviting as the cold weather entices us to make homemade soups and roasted chickens and the holidays dictate baking at least a few dozen Christmas cookies. So I thought I'd pass on some energy saving oven and stove tips.
  • Opt for glass or ceramic pans for baking. They transfer heat so efficiently you can even turn down your oven temp by 25 degrees!
  • Skip the lengthy preheats. Five minutes or so is sufficient.
  • Make sure you turn off the oven after you're done. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled something out of the oven and completely forgot to turn it off. An hour or so later, I discover it's still on. What a waste of energy!
  • After you turn off your oven, crack the door open and let the heat escape to warm up the kitchen. But don't open the door during cooking time. Twenty percent of the oven's heat escapes every time you open the oven door. Use a timer ad the oven light.
  • Make sure your oven seals are in good condition. As soon as you notice the gaskets wearing down, replace them to avoid losing heat while the oven's on.
  • Did you know a clean microwave is a more efficient one? You do now.
  • When it's time to replace your stovetop, consider an eco-friendly option. Induction stovetops heat and cool faster than over stovetops and cook quite efficiently. Before you run out to buy one, however, check to see if you'll need new cookware, as not all cookware is compatible.
  • Warped pots do not cook efficently on electric elements or ceramic top stoves, requiring nearly two-thirds more energy than pots with flat bottoms.
  • Try to stick to using burners that are about an inch smaller than the pan you're using.
  • Keep your burner bowls clean. Burnt on food absorbs heat that's meant for the pan on top of stove.
  • Obviously, toaster ovens require less electricity. Use yours whenever possible.
  • Cook as much of your meal in one pot as possible. Less energy will be used in cooking and in cleaning up.
  • Keep a lid on it! Make sure you cover your pots and pans -- it'll pay off by increasing your cooking efficiency by up to fourteen percent!
  • Take the time to safely thaw your food before cooking. Don't use the oven to thaw and don't thaw at room temperature. The refrigerator is the only safe and efficient place to thaw your food.
That's it for today. I hope you found a hint or two here to help you reduce your energy costs and usage. Feel free to ship me some cookies out of appreciation : )

Keeping it green,


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