Challengicious Monday: Save Energy When Cooking

>> Monday, April 19, 2010

Mondays are challengicious at The Conscious Shopper. Here's your next energy-related challenge:

Save Energy When Cooking

To complete this challenge, you can...

  • Keep a lid on your pots. Not only does the lid keep in heat, but it also helps the water boil faster. Win, win.
  • Match pans to the appropriate burner size. There's a reason your oven comes with different size burners. For the most efficient cooking, make sure the pan you're cooking with is about the same size as the burner you're cooking on.
  • Don't peek in the oven. It may be tempting to peek, but every time you open the oven door, heat escapes and your oven has to work extra hard. Instead, keep the window on your oven door clean and turn on the light.
  • Use your microwave. Especially for reheating foods. Microwaves use a lot less energy than ovens and save time.
  • Cook less - enjoy foods raw. Of course, the best way to save energy when cooking is not to cook at all - especially during the summer when your air conditioner has to fight with your oven. Learn to enjoy foods fresh, and you'll save energy...and time!
  • Use man-power. We're so quick these days to buy the latest new appliance to do all the work for us in the kitchen. Instead of dragging out your big mixer, try a spoon or whisk. Instead of a bread machine, knead by hand. You can even find hand-powered blenders.
  • Bake efficiently. If you're good at organizing your time, this is my best tip for saving energy in the kitchen. Instead of turning on the oven every night, try doing all of your baking on one or two days. Bake your bread, casseroles, baked potatoes, and cookies all at once.
The truth is that you don't save much energy by cooking more efficiently, so if you have limited time, focus your efforts on heating and cooling. But every little bit counts, every little bit saves some money, and most of these tips are so easy, why not do them?

I'm happy to say that I'm a Marathon Runner in this category. And since what you eat matters more than how you cook it, I get bonus points for being an almost vegetarian. If you're taking the Meatless Monday challenge over at the Green Phone Booth, you can give yourself bonus points too.

Will you take the challenge?

You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays. Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook!


abbie April 20, 2010 at 11:46 PM  

I had to chuckle when I saw this photo...I thought you were going to say, use the oven to bake your bread and warm your little ones, when it gets chilly outside. But you didn't and you had some better thoughts.
I actually cooked three meals the other day on the grill outside. It was partly because of our crazy schedule this week and I was cooking ahead, but it was also a great way to conserve gas. The grill needed only to heat up once.
thanks for these great tips!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper April 21, 2010 at 8:52 AM  

Abbie - Haha, that's a picture from last fall when I made the first pumpkin pie of the year. The boys sat there and watched it bake.

Condo Blues April 24, 2010 at 12:14 AM  

I'm going jogging stride. I've used crock pots so often I've killed them. I also killed a toaster oven - they are great for making baked potatoes.

I'm not giving up my breadmaker for hand kneading, though :)

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