If you’re not a “foody” you may not be a regular consumer of cooking shows and magazines packed with gourmet recipes. It is however a bit difficult these days to avoid an occasional peek with the raft of offerings available.
Sometimes you’re glad you did because besides awesome, if complicated recipes, you sometimes pick up a tip that impacts your life in other ways…such as saving energy. A recent New York Times article posits that:
We waste huge amounts of gas or electricity, not to mention money and time, trying to get heat to do things it can’t do. Aiming to cook a roast or steak until it’s pink at the center, we routinely overcook the rest of it. Instead of a gentle simmer, we boil our stews and braises until they are tough and dry. Even if we do everything else right, we can undermine our best cooking if we let food cool on the way to the table — all because most of us don’t understand heat.
Looking at how we cook as a potential energy saver can change the way we cook and improve both our energy use and the taste of the foods we cook. While these might seem simple or self-evident, for we non-foodies, these are earth shattering – well, not earth-shattering but…great tips
1. Turn the burner down once water starts to boil. A fast boil is as hot as a gentle one. The added burner heat just increases the amount of water vapor produced and uses both more energy and more water
2. Always cover a pot when boiling water – an uncovered pot allows water to escape as steam…again using more water and more energy as an uncovered pot takes more time to boil
3. Always soak not only beans, prior to boiling but also dried pasta. You can cut cooking time by as much as 2/3rds by soaking the night before. It seems the majority of the time on the burner is spent adding moisture…not cooking.
4. Cook meat at two different temperatures. Use high heat for the initial browning then turn the oven down to cook the center. Much energy is wasted trying to cook meat all the way through and often end up with an over-cooked outside and an undercooked core.
5. If you are going through a kitchen remodel, consider induction cook tops which generate heat directly within the pan itself and are around 90 percent efficient A gas burner delivers only 35 to 40 percent of its heat energy to the pan; a standard electrical element conveys about 70 percent.
While changing the way you cook and bake is not a huge energy saver, every little bit helps. Mr. Electricity’s websitealso provides lots of tips and information on saving energy by changing your cooking methods and is worth a look.