Energy efficient cooking

Energy-efficient cooking

The cost of cooking accounts for about 4% of the average gas and electricity bill.

Changing the way you cook as well as using energy-efficient cooking appliances can reduce the amount of energy you use and cut your energy bills in the process.

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Read on for lots of ways to save energy in the kitchen, plus our top twenty tips for energy-efficient cooking.

Choose the most energy-efficient cooking method

If you have an energy monitor, you're bound to have noticed that your oven uses far more electricity than almost any other appliance in your home. Fuel consumption for cooking in general is high compared to other household activities, so that's why it's worth knowing how to reduce the amount of energy you use to prepare food.

As an overview: a microwave oven is the most energy-efficient, followed by a hob and lastly an oven. Therefore, to keep your energy bills down, it's a good idea to purchase a microwave oven if you don't already have one, and to use it for as much cooking as possible. But, remember to switch off your microwave at the wall when you're not using it, so it isn't left using electricity to power its clock.

You can also implement a couple of simple ideas to save on your bills, such as making sure you only fill your kettle with the amount of water you need, and always using the kettle and not the hob to boil water. Likewise, always make toast in your toaster, and not on a grill.

Slow cookers can also be an energy-efficient option - they use just a little more energy than a traditional light bulb, and you can leave your food to cook slowly while you get on with other things.

When you're not using your microwave, follow our top 10 tips to make sure your cooking is as efficient as possible.

10 tips for energy-efficient cooking in the oven

  1. Cook in batches: cook as much as possible in the oven in one go to make sure all the space and heat is being used. You can always freeze portions of food to warm up at a later date.

  2. Keep the oven closed while you're cooking: when cooking, each time you open the door the oven loses heat and requires more energy to get back up to temperature. Also, try to keep the oven door clean so you can look in, rather than having to open it to see how your food is doing.

  3. Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight: defrosting food in advance typically halves the cooking time.

  4. Get to know your oven: learn how long it takes to pre-heat, so you're ready to start cooking as soon as it's up to temperature.  

  5. Pre-boil potatoes before roasting: by doing so you'll reduce the amount of time they take to cook in the oven.

  6. Use glass or ceramic dishes: they're the most efficient to use in the oven and can reduce the temperature required for cooking.

  7. Use stainless steel skewers: insert them into baked potatoes and joints of meat to speed up the cooking process.

  8. Cut food into smaller pieces: that way it will cook more quickly.

  9. Use the fan assist cooking option: this allows you to set the oven at a lower temperature compared to when using the static cooking option.

  10. Turn your electric oven off ten minutes before the end of the cooking time: it will still keep to the same temperature for this time period.

10 tips for energy-efficient cooking on the hob

  1. Always use the right size of pan for the amount of food you are cooking.

  2. Energy efficient cooking
  3. Put just enough water in the pan to cover vegetables.

  4. Choose the right size of burner or ring for the pan.

  5. Always put lids on pans to keep the heat in.

  6. Turn down the ring or burner once the cooking temperature or state is reached; simmer food rather than boiling it.

  7. Use a steamer to cook vegetables, that way you can layer a number of vegetables on top of each other and still use one ring, or use a pan with a divider.

  8. Use a pressure cooker for cooking pulses, and even joints of meat, whole meals, or stews. It speeds up the cooking process.

  9. If you're using an electric hob, choose flat-bottomed pans so the pan is in full contact with the ring.

  10. Certain pan types are better at conducting and retaining heat - copper-bottomed pans heat up quicker than stainless steel and cast-iron pans retain heat more efficiently , so you won't need the heat to be turned up so high.

  11. Keep rings clean, as burnt foodstuff absorbs heat making an electric ring less efficient.

Do I need a new oven or hob for energy efficient cooking?

Having a cooker that's in good working order is essential for energy-efficient cooking; it will help lower your fuel consumption and keep your gas and electricity bills down. 

While it's true that it's worth waiting to buy a new appliance until the old one has stopped working - due to the energy used in the manufacture of the new appliance - it's worth considering a replacement if the existing appliance is over ten years old. It's definitely worth replacing if the appliance is faulty, for example, if your oven thermostat or fan has failed.

It's also worth checking that the door of your oven is properly sealed, because the amount of heat that leaks out during cooking has a big impact on the energy efficiency and energy consumption of an oven.

If you decide that you need a new oven and opt for an electric model, then it's important to choose an oven that is energy-efficient, as well as having triple glazing on the oven door and good insulation. 

The energy label will tell you how energy-efficient an appliance is. One that's A-rated is the most energy-efficient and can reduce long-term running costs. The most efficient appliances will also carry the Energy Saving Recommended badge, which is awarded by the Energy Saving Trust.

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Read more…

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  • Energy Monitors Energy monitors help you discover how much energy you're using at home
  • Carbon Footprint What is a carbon footprint, how can it be measured, and what can you do to reduce your carbon footprint?

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