Kitchens consume a lot of energy. Around twenty percent of the energy in your home is spent storing and cooking food. With energy costs rising across the United States, anyone who enjoys preparing their own meals needs to be on the lookout for new ways to conserve power. Fortunately, it’s easier than you’d imagine. Follow these simple tips to lower your energy costs while preparing your favorite breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Defrost Before Cooking
Frozen food takes longer to cook, so always defrost before sticking it in the oven or on the stove. However, because leaving food out can lead to bacterial growth, it’s not recommended you defrost food on your countertops. Instead:
- Stick It in the Refrigerator. Defrosting meat in your fridge normally takes at least a day (a full-sized turkey will require at least 2-3), but will keep it fresh for an extra 1-2 days afterward.
- Submerge It in Water. Wrap your food in an airtight plastic container and place it underwater until it’s room temperature. Use cold water or else you might affect the quality of the meat. Replace the water every thirty minutes. Depending on the size of your meal, the entire process may take a few hours.
- Put It in the Microwave. Choosing the defrost setting on your microwave lowers its energy levels by twenty or thirty percent, which allows it to thaw your food without cooking it.
Choose the Right Pots and Pans
To transfer heat efficiently, pots and pans should be the same size as the burners they’re placed on. Placing a small pan on a large burner lets heat escape out the sides. Likewise, placing a large pot on a small burner forces your stove to expend energy over a much longer period than it otherwise would.
Keep a Lid on It
Uncovered pots lose energy fast. Evaporated water escapes into the atmosphere, taking its heat with it. Placing a lid on the pot keeps the water trapped inside. As a result, water boils faster and food cooks quicker, saving both time and money.
Clean Your Burners
A dirty stove isn’t only unhygienic. It’s wasteful. Food residue absorbs heat, so instead of being reflected into your food, it gets soaked up by the grime in your burners. To keep your stove working efficiently, wipe it down after you’re done cooking and scrub the burners every few months.
Only Pre-Heat if You’re Baking
Only baked goods need to be prepared at a specific temperature: bread, cookies, cakes, etc. For everything else, there’s no benefit in waiting for the oven to heat up. Sticking your food in as soon as you turn the oven on saves energy by cutting down the cooking time.
Switch the Oven Off Early
Ovens are great at trapping heat, which is why it’s unnecessary to keep them going for the entire recommended cooking time. Turn the oven off a few minutes early and finish cooking your meal with the residual heat already inside. Your food will taste the same and it’ll bring down your energy bill.
Keep the Door Closed
It’s tempting to open your oven door to see your food’s progress, but when you do, you release a lot of heat. In some cases, you can drop the temperature by as much as 150°F!
Create a Cooking Schedule
Ovens take a while to cool after you’re done baking. Don’t let that heat go to waste! If you’re cooking multiple dishes, prepare them one after the other, so you can rotate them in and out of the oven rather than reheating it over and over again.
Cook in Bulk
Preparing a large batch of food doesn’t require more energy than cooking a small one. So instead of making a single serving of soup, spaghetti, chili, lasagna, or macaroni and cheese, make two or three and save the leftovers for later.
Let Food Cool Before Refrigerating
Putting hot food into your refrigerator causes a temperature spike, which kicks its cooling systems into high gear. Rather than spend all that energy, reduce the strain on your fridge by keeping your leftovers on the counter for a few minutes before popping them in.
Saving Money With Agway
Kitchen appliances rely on your home’s inbuilt electrical system to cook and preserve your food. Agway’s EnergyGuardTM repair program helps you protect it at an incredibly low cost. It covers your furnace, boiler, air conditioner, and internal wiring, so when something goes wrong, you don’t have to shoulder the repair costs. We shoulder them instead.
We pay for all covered parts on your essential systems and our network of local contractors ensures help arrives quickly. There are no service fees or deductibles either. You pay only a low monthly rate and enjoy full protection in return. Sign up today!