Energy Efficiency Cooks Up Savings

The holiday season is here! Along with the colder weather and cozy fireplaces come fun family traditions — many of which center around gathering in the kitchen with lots of warm, yummy comfort food.

You have the power to use energy wisely in the kitchen during the holidays. Here are some easy tips for cooking up some savings, no matter what you make for your holiday feast:

Use your microwave whenever possible

  • It uses about a third the energy of a conventional oven.
  • Melting chocolate on low power works extremely well for dipping.
  • If you toast or roast coconut or nuts for any of your special dishes, your microwave can make quick work of this task. And there’s much less of a chance of burning them.

Load up the oven

  • When using your oven for a main dish, choose side dishes that can cook alongside it in the oven so you don’t have to heat your stovetop as well.

Defrost foods before baking or roasting

  • Ideally, defrost in the refrigerator since the cold air dissipates in there rather than into your kitchen. When foods are thawed beforehand, it can save up to 50 percent of the total cooking time.

Keep your oven door closed

  • Each time you open the door, you lose up to 20 percent of the heat.
  • Rely on timers and the oven thermostat, or look through the oven window (don’t forget to replace the oven light if necessary).

Bake in glass or ceramic pans

  • This allows you to reduce oven temperatures by 25 degrees from the recipe.

Use lids and right-size pans.

  • Lids help keep heat in and speed up cooking times. Pans should fit the size of the element, and flat bottoms make better contact with the element/cooktop.

Use a pressure cooker.

  • Pressure cookers are a staple in kitchens all over the world. Mashed potatoes, beans and risotto are just some examples of foods that cook well in a pressure cooker.

Use the smallest appliance to get the job done.

  • Think toaster ovens, slow cookers, electric frying pans, etc.

Stephanie McCurdy
Communication Specialist