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Saving energy in cooking

Page history last edited by Deanne Bednar 13 years, 5 months ago

10 Ways to Green Your Kitchen Routine

from Vegetarian Times, April 2009


Tips and tricks you can use every day to save energy.  If "eco-friendly cooking" makes you think solar ovens or a costly kitchen overhaul, then it's time to revamp the way you think about your cooking routine.  Physics, chemistry, and common sense are the main ingredients in good green cuisine.  We've put together a list of 10 little changes that can go a long way toward saving energy - and money - in the kitchen, plus a handful of recipes that let you test and taste for yourself just how easy Earth-friendly cooking can be.


1.  Choose energy-efficient cookware

Fast, even heat conduction saves energy and yields tastier results.  Cast iron, stainless steel, and copper pans are the best stove-top options, along with time-saving stainless steel pressure cookers.  And switch to glass, ceramic, or silicone baking pans and molds, which allow you to reduce oven temperuatures by 25 degrees to 30 degrees F.


2.  Downsize to a smaller appliance

Got a 9-inch square pan of brownies or just a couple of potatoes to bake?  Turn your toaster oven, which uses up to half as much energy as a conventional oven.  A slow cooker is another option that can cut energy use.


3.  Multitask in the oven

Based on average utility rates, running an electric oven at 350 degrees costs about 24 cents per hour;  natural gas overns at that temperature run about 9 cents an hour.  Make the most of the energy by using both oven racks at the same time to bake, roast, and/or warm foods.


4.  Use the right burner

A 6-inch pot over an 8-inch burner will waste over 40% of the heat generated.  "Large burners should be used only for pots big enough to cover the burner, othewise you're wasting all the heat that rises up around the post," explains Birney Summers, an energy conservation engineer who blogs at energyboomer.typepad.com.  If you have a late-model overn, read the manual to find out which burner is designed for high heat and which one is for simmering.


5.  Spread things out

What cook hasn't tried to warm woup in a small saucepan, only to have soup that's scorched around the sides and cold in the center?  "When you spread food in  a thin layer, it heats up faster and more evenly," advises Summers.   This "spread-thin" technieque works for baking too:  banana bread can take 40 to 50 minutes to bake, but the same batter poured into 12 muffin cups requres only 20 to 25 minutes.


6.  Resist the urge to open the oven door

Every time you openthat door, oven heat drops by 25 degrees, which forces the appliance to work harder and can affect receipt results.  Turn on the light, look through the window, and leave the door shut until you're ready to remove the food.


7.  Take it outside

As the weather warms up, you want to keep your kitchen cool so that air-conditioning and ventilation units don't have to do extra work.  In addition to planning meals on the grill, Summers plugs in his slow cooker on the porch, and recommends cooling foods in a protected outdoor area.  "It's the same idea as putting pies on a windowsill to cool - it keeps heat and humidity out of the house," he says.


8.  Finish with residual heat

The next time you fix scrambled eggs or tofu, turn off the burner just before your scramble is set.  The residual heat of the burner and the pan will finish the cooking, and you'll save a few minutes of energy use.  Michael Leviton, a Boston-area chef, uses residual heat in the oven as well - to finish root vegetables, potatoes, biscuits, and pound cakes.


9.  Make more leftovers

Double a recipe and save half for a future meal.  The larger batch lets you capitalize on heat you're already using, and reheating the second time around requires just a fraction of the energy needed to start from scratch.


10.  Go raw

Magdiale Wolmark of Dragonfly neo-v, a vegan restaurant in Columbus OH, suggests raw cuisine techniques that "cook" ingredients to make them more palatable.  Marinate mushrooms to soften and season them, and soak sun-dried tomatoes and seaweed to rehydrate them for dishes that have a taste and texture similar to cooked receipes.




 Vegan Recipe



Jeannette Ponder


3/4 c. flax oil

1/2 c. fresh lime juice

1 T. Bragg liquid aminos

1 clove garlic, crushed


Mix and shake or blend in blender.

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