Earth: My home Planet, an energy efficient solution
Being the Head chef of a large working kitchen, with appliances that consume energy all day long, it is a daunting task to be Green. As a part of the team that won Green bank hotel, the Gold accreditation (2009, Green tourism business scheme), lots of interesting facts came to the forefront. Here are a few interesting finds that can help us do our bit, to conserve the planet.
With the kitchen accounting for 30-40% of home energy use, it seems like a smart place to start some conserving. A vital step is to try and replace antique equipments with modern energy efficient ones.
To visually check if the food is cooked keep your oven door shut and use the light to monitor the progress. Every time you open the oven door, you lose about 25 degrees! Clean your oven periodically. Smartly double up on oven time. When I cook a casserole or roast a chicken, I try to throw in some potatoes wrapped in foil or a pan of carrots or butternut squash for roasting. It saves time when preparing future meals.
Don’t preheat at the beginning of the recipe, even if it says so. Wait until about 5 minutes before you put the food in the oven.
While toasting nuts, broiling fish/meats use the salamander oven, or grill which uses one-third the energy of your full-size oven.
When bringing water to a boil – or anything on the stove top – speed up the process by keeping a lid on the pot (unless you’re frying or sautéing). If you need something to cook down or evaporate, like tomato sauce, rest the lid ajar.
Don’t put a small pan on a large burner. Match the size pan to the burner so you don’t waste valuable heat.
A full fridge, but not stuffed, makes it most efficient.
Keep the shelves organized so you don’t have to spend open-door time hunting around for ingredients.
When making a recipe, take out all of the ingredients at once and place them on the counter so you only have to open the door once. Do the same thing when putting them away.
An efficient dishwasher uses less water than running the water while hand washing does. The very best way to do dishes is to fill a pan with sudsy hot water and wash the dishes. Don’t rinse them yet! Then dump out the sudsy water and fill the pan with fresh hot water for rinsing.
*Bonus points for using the hot water that’s still in the kettle from making coffee or tea.
Eat local, buy local:
We hear a lot of talk about energy consumption as it relates to how far our food travels to our plates. Indeed, local, sustainably produced foods make up about 80–90% of the foods on my family’s table. How far your food travels before it hits your plate tells only part of the story.
Cook Less and Eat More Raw Foods:
If you’re not turning on your oven, range, slow cooker or other kitchen appliance, you’re not using any energy save your own elbow grease. By making an effort to cook less and consume more raw foods, you’ll not only consume less energy in your kitchen but you will also reap nutritional benefits as well. Many micronutrients are damaged or destroyed by heat, so raw foods and fermented raw foods like sauerkraut are rich in vitamins and food enzymes which are essential to a wholesome diet.
Mind Your Pots, Pans and Lids:
If cooking on your range, take great care to match your pots and pans to the appropriate burner size. Using too small a pan for a burner will result in significant heat loss while using too large a pan for a burner will result in uneven cooking.
Similarly, lidding your pots and pans reduces heat loss helping to cook foods more quickly and more evenly than cooking in pots and pans without lids.
Prepare More One-pot Meals:
By preparing one-pot meals such as casseroles, soups, stews and stir fries, you can help to minimize energy consumption in your kitchen.
Save Your Baking for 1 Day a Week:
An oven burns an awful lot of energy. By scheduling a baking day and preparing all your baked and oven-cooked foods that single day you can maximize the space in your oven by baking different items together at the same temperature, and you’ll also be able to take advantage of the residual heat in the oven.
Remember: You may be doing this for the planet, but you’ll be really happy when you see the big difference in your energy bill!