Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kitchen Energy Savers

The holidays are upon us! Since many of us will be spending extra time in the kitchen, we thought we'd share a few energy saving tips that are just as good for your pocket as the planet.

1) Put a lid on it! Covering pots when warming food or boiling water speeds up the heating process, saves energy and keeps your kitchen cooler. Use properly fitting lids--not only will it heat your food faster, but we have a funny family story about a large skillet, a small lid and chicken pockets that ended up being veggie pockets after the lid sealed to the pan and the chicken couldn't be removed!
2) Use your oven light. Opening the oven to peek in on your goods reduces the oven temperature by 25% and increases your cooking time.
3) To preheat or not to preheat . Contrary to most cooking instructions, preheating isn't usually necessary. For foods that require immediate heat (some cakes, pies and souffl├ęs), preheat for 10 minutes or less.
4) Toaster ovens do more than make toast! If you have one, consider using it for small jobs. It requires less time to heat up and less energy to stay hot.
5) Glass is the way to go! Glass and ceramic cookware conducts and retains heat better than metal. Using oven-safe glass or ceramic pans allows you to reduce the cooking temperature by 25 degrees.

6) Turn the oven off several minutes before the recipes recommends (some sources say even up to 20 minutes). The residual heat from the oven will finish up the job, assuming you aren't opening it to peek.
7) If you have and use the self-cleaning feature on your oven, begin it while your oven is still hot from cooking.

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