Lower energy costs not only mean more money in your wallet but also a healthier environment. It is quite simple to reduce the amount of energy you use when cooking. Below are some tips to include in your cooking routine to make your energy use while doing so more efficient.
Planning your meals ahead of time will reduce the amount of time you spend gathering all the necessary ingredients and preparing them for use. If necessary, make a list of what food items you will use for specific meals to turn to when it becomes time to begin cooking. A list of meal plans will also prevent you from cooking too much or too little food than the meal requires, eliminating energy overuse.
Planning ahead will also permit you to see which ingredients you will need to use more than once in different dishes, whether for the same meal or in the next few days. By recognizing this, you can do the preparation work and cook as necessary once rather than multiple times and then later reheat what you need to reuse. For example, if multiple of your planned recipes require sautéed onions, you can chop and sautéed the entire onion, refrigerate what are not immediately using and then reheat the portion you need for another recipe. This will cut down on using double the amount of electricity or gas to prepare the same item twice.
Prepare Ingredients Beforehand
Taking out all the necessary ingredients and preparing them for use prior to beginning cooking is a great way to lower energy costs. By doing this, you will have everything you need in one place, reducing or even eliminating the need to reopen refrigerator or freezer doors at the last minute to take out what you need or leaving the stove on longer while you prepare other ingredients. Make sure that you have everything you need to reduce the need to make a last minute run to the grocery store.
Planning meals and preparing ingredients will reduce the amount of time and electricity you use while cooking, but organizing the ingredients nearby will further decrease this usage. To do so, put everything you will need in order of when you will need them next to their respective pans or other containers. This will enable you to stand over the stovetop as you cook to keep an eye on the amount of gas or electricity you are using.
Double-Up in the Oven
If you have multiple items that need to be cooked in the oven, consider using the oven simultaneously for both dishes. This is possible not only with dishes that require the same oven temperature, but also those with different heating points. If one dish requires an oven at 350 degrees and the other 400 degrees, use the lower setting and leave the latter dish in longer. Another option is to split the temperature difference between the two dishes. However, this requires you to watch the items more closely to ensure they do not burn, meaning you may have to open the oven door more frequently, letting some of the heat escape.
The key to lowering energy costs when cooking is to plan ahead and be smart about what you cook. A meal that requires multiple heating methods at once will use more energy than a meal requiring only the oven or a single burner on your stove.