There’s nothing better than time spent cooking in the kitchen with your family, especially during the chilly–or should we say chili–time of year. While the holiday season can mean additional expenses, Consumers Energy is here to show you your energy bill doesn’t have to be one of them. You can go green in the kitchen to cut down on time, energy and bills this season.
Tips to Go Green in the Kitchen
From cooking techniques to appliance tips, there are many ways to transform your kitchen into a sustainable area at home.
Adjust Your Cooking Style
Baking grandma’s secret recipe has never been this green. You can conserve energy by hyperbaking—place foods into a non-preheated oven, turn on the heat, bake partway and then turn off the oven for the remainder of the baking period. The food will continue to bake until done. Normally, you can turn off the oven five minutes before the end of the baking period.
BONUS: Did you know every time you swing open a hot oven, it can lose 25 to 75 degrees?
- Put a Lid on It
If you’re simmering, sautéing or even boiling a meal on a stovetop, finish cooking by using a tightly fitted lid. Near the end of the cooking period, trap the heat by adding a lid and turning off the stove. Just remember, don’t take the lid off until your food is fully cooked.
- Green Grill
If you prefer to grill outside year-round, you can cook food partway and then turn it off to save gas or electricity—similar to hyperbaking. The food will continue to cook in the ‘off’ position.
- Micro-Manage Your Energy
Did you know the microwave could reduce energy use by about 66 percent compared to a conventional oven? Many microwaves have the capabilities to do many of the same cooking tasks you rely on your oven for, including:
Try New Recipes
- Make Mini Portions
Going from a full-sized portion to petite-sized will minimize the required cooking energy. Some examples include:
-Meatballs instead of a meatloaf
-Sliders instead of burgers
-Cupcakes instead of cakes
- Be Picky With Ingredients
Cooking with grains that require the least amount of cooking, like quinoa, couscous or bulgar, can help to reduce your carbon footprint. Thread noodles and rice sticks also soften with soaking versus boiling on the stove.
Care for Your Appliances
- Check Your Dishwasher’s Manufacturers Manual
Did you know you could change the temperature of the water used in your dishwasher? Save on water heating costs by setting your dishwasher to low or 120 degrees.
BONUS: You should also set your refrigerator thermometer to 38 to 42 degrees and your freezer at 0 to 5 degrees.
- Fill Your Freezer
We all know frozen food stays cold longer than air. Therefore, keeping your freezer full (but not packed) will help to save energy. If you have a few empty spaces, fill containers with water and place them in your freezer to prohibit warm air from making the motor work extra hard.