Green Cooking – Kitchen Efficiency Tips and Tricks

March 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Cooking, Eco-Friendly, Energy, Front Page, Homes, Slideshow

"Green cooking" is more than eating organic and local; it also includes saving energy by wise appliance use. Photo: © WavebreakMediaMicro - Fotolia.com

Today’s post is by Mark Moran, who works for Toaster Oven Guide. Mark offers tips about making your cooking more efficient. As you might also expect, he suggests using a toaster oven as an alternative to large ovens and microwaves. If you have a toaster oven, please let us all know what you think. Do you find it more efficient than a full-sized oven? Do you agree with Mark that it’s a great cooking alternative? What other energy-saving tips would you add? — Julia Wasson, Publisher


Many of us spend a lot of time in our kitchens, but at what costs? Consider this:

  • The kitchen uses the most energy of any room in the home.
  • It can cost a lot of energy, time, and money just to make one meal, depending on how you make it.
  • Outdated kitchen appliances can waste a lot of water and power; they can also produce large amounts of CO2 emissions.

Refrigeration

Fresh vegetables and fruits require refrigeration, one great place to save money in the kitchen. Photo: © Lev Olkha - Fotolia.com

One good tip is that efficient refrigeration is a big part of efficient cooking. You can’t cook if you don’t have raw materials, right? So, if you want to cook more efficiently, you also need to look at how you use your refrigerator. Start by looking at the age of the refrigerator.

  • On average, an older refrigerator uses about 1,700 kWh of energy per year.
  • Newer refrigerators use about 700 kWh of energy per year.

What that translates to is that you can save about 1,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year by getting a new refrigerator, especially one that has a high Energy Star-certified rating. You can also save a lot of money in the process.

One of the best things that you can do to save money and conserve energy when you cook is to plan your fridge use. For instance, if you know that you need five ingredients out of your fridge, get them all out at the same time. If you open the fridge door five different times, you only waste more energy. To be precise, you can lose anywhere from 5% to 25% or more of the energy efficiency from your fridge by frequently opening the fridge door when you don’t absolutely need to.

Have you ever found yourself staring blankly into your fridge when you’re trying to cook? Another tip is that every trip into your fridge should be an exercise in efficiency. Know what you want and where it is and get in and out as quickly as you can.

7 Tips to Extend Your Efficiency

Extend that sort of efficiency to everything that you do in your kitchen. For instance:

  • Set up efficient stations in an assembly line format in your kitchen. Each one should be for a certain task, like chopping meat.
  • Make sure that you only have to wash your hands a minimum number of times to avoid contamination. That will save time, water and soap.
  • Install a low-flow aerator on your kitchen faucet.
  • Make sure to keep your vacuum your refrigerator coils at least twice a year.
  • Don’t pre-heat an oven unless the recipe wants you to.
  • Turn off your oven a few minutes early and let the remaining heat do the remaining cooking.
  • Don’t use your large oven unless you have to.

The Great Cooking Debate

Finally, there’s often a huge debate over how to cook. For instance, cooking food in a large oven takes quite a while. It also uses a lot of energy and puts out a lot of heat and CO2 emissions. Not to mention the fact that it can take a long time to clean an oven. Stove tops, meanwhile, are good for some things—like boiling pasta—but not others. You can’t bake a pizza on a stove top, for instance. The same goes for a crock pot.

A microwave is probably the fastest way to cook food. So, if you want to save time and energy, it might seem like a good option. However, there are situations where toaster ovens are a much better option. A Breville toaster oven or other modern toaster oven can often make up to 6 slices of toast at a time. They’re also capable of cooking many other items in less time than a large oven and with better flavor than a microwave.

Common Sense

When it comes to saving time, money, and emissions while you cook, use only what you need to, and use it only how and when you need to. Cooking can still be fun, even while being efficient. In fact, you’re likely to enjoy cooking even more, if you know that you are saving money, time and energy in the kitchen.

Mark Moran

Guest Writer

Website: Toaster Oven Guide

Blue Planet Green Living

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