Practical tips on saving energy in your kitchen

Author: Wendy Young

DID YOU KNOW? You could reduce the energy you use and the power bills you pay by using some key kitchen gadgets? Lots of kitchen devices can help you cut down on the fuel you use which is good for the planet and will also save you money. 

These gadgets will only save you money if you use them on a regular basis. It’s also much better to dig out the ones you have at the back of the cupboard, re-use one that a friend or relative no longer needs or buy second hand or from a charity shop, this will save you money, use less of the Earth’s resources and prevent good gadgets going to waste.

Slow cookers cook for long but use very little electricity especially good for cheaper cuts of meat.

It’s also really useful to read the instructions/recipes that come with the appliance or look up online what they are used for. I’ve recently started doing this again and found that there are lots of new things that I can try with the kit that I’ve got (hidden at the back of the cupboard) which will save me money and reduce the energy I use.

Finally, if you don’t want to use different appliances you can still reduce the amount of energy you use and save money with some small adjustments. Always use a lid, that fits, on your saucepan. Only use the amount of water you need – either to boil in the kettle or to just cover the vegetables you are cooking.  If you are going to put your oven on, try to cook more than one thing at a time – maybe a spare dish for the freezer or cook ahead a meal for later in the week, that can be re-heated quickly.

Pressure cookers offer another way to save fuel and time, great for soups and pulses.

Slow cookers, cook for a long time on low power so they can make cheaper meat soft and full of flavour, produce a meal whilst you’re out and if you can double up on your quantities give you an extra meal for the freezer.  I find they’re really good for basic casseroles – goulash, beef and beer, chicken in red wine.  You can add rice or dumplings for the last hour to have a ‘one-pot’ meal and the casserole dish can usually go in the dish washer.  You do have to plan a little in advance if you want to use it to cook a meal whilst you’re out for the day and it doesn’t lose as much moisture whilst it’s cooking so you may need to adjust the amount of liquid you add.

Pressure Cookers, cook food much more quickly than an ordinary saucepan and can use up to 70% less fuel than cooking on a hob.  They’re really good for pulses, stock, soups and casseroles.  You could produce a slow-cooked curry or casserole in 30/40 minutes, saving you time as well as money. I find they can be a little heavy to use with the ingredients in so you need to have a good oven cloth and an un-cluttered space to use them.

Air fryers use much less power (and fat) for chips, roast potatoes and even doughnuts!

Air Fryers, cook foods that you might deep fry or oven cook, like chips, roast potatoes, chicken and even bacon.  Although they cook at a high temperature they use less energy because they heat up and cook much faster than an oven or deep fat fryer. So, once again, they save you time and as an extra bonus they use less fat or oil, so produce healthier food.  

Microwaves cook fast so save you time and money, excellent for fish and vegetables.

Don’t forget the microwave, lots of us have one but, in my house, at least, it’s used mainly for de-frosting or re-heating food.  However, it can produce really tender, tasty vegetables much more quickly than using the cooker top or part cook jacket potatoes so that they need less time in the oven.  They are very good for making stock and because they use very little water they are especially good at keeping the flavour in fish. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. Why not take a look at our WH&T Going Green Facebook Page which is packed with ideas on how to bee more green, wherever in your journey to sustainability you are!

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