Recipe for energy efficiency

Seven energy-saving cooking tips

Planning on cooking up a storm in the kitchen over the next bank holiday? It’ll be the first one since New Year’s and it’s likely that some of us will be entertaining family or simply trying out some new creations in the kitchen.

With this in mind, we’ve put together some tips to help you keep energy costs down while cooking. So you can spend less money on your bills and more on your ingredients.

1. Pick your tools wisely

For oven cooking, glass or ceramic dishes are more efficient, whereas for hob cooking, go for flat-bottomed pans, preferably with a copper base, as they’ll heat up more quickly. A steel skewer inserted into joints of meat or baked potatoes can reduce baking time too. Speaking of baked potatoes, you can always pop them in the microwave to cook them quicker, then finish them in the oven to get a crispy skin (the tastiest bit).

2. It’s all in the method

Following on from our last tip, microwaving is the most energy-efficient method of cooking, but we all know it has its limitations. Pressure cookers can dramatically reduce cooking time for meat, and steamers can cook multiple dishes on one hob ring. If you’re bringing water to the boil, it’s more efficient to use the kettle as opposed to a pan, and for toast, a toaster is far more efficient than a grill.

3. TLC for your fridge

Defrosting food in the fridge is great for energy efficiency. The frozen food will cool the air inside, reducing the amount of electricity needed to maintain the desired temperature. Also, keeping the fridge three quarters full helps to keep costs down: it’s cheaper to cool food than air. But beware of over-filling, as the air needs to circulate freely.

4. Turn it off

When cooking on the hob, you can save energy by turning it off a few minutes before the food is ready, leaving the lid on so the food continues to cook. You can do the same with oven cooking, by keeping the door closed and turning the heat off a few minutes before cooking time’s up. Leaving appliances on standby wastes more energy than you might think, so it’s worth turning microwaves and other devices off at the wall when they’re not in use.

5. Chop your bills

A good cooking hack is to chop your food into smaller chunks so that it cooks quicker. This is particularly useful when making mashed potatoes and Sunday dinners.

6. Slay your energy-sucking vampires

Kitchen appliances on the blink? Upgrading to an energy efficient model is a kitchen hack that will save you more money in the long run. An A+ rated oven will consume up to 40% less energy than one which has been awarded a B rating according to the Energy Saving Trust, so it’s worth choosing a more eco-friendly model.

7. Cooking in Batches

Cooking several dishes at once or in a row reduces the amount of energy your oven uses to heat up and cool down. You can then pop your extra dishes in the fridge or freezer for later and heat them up using the microwave, which is more energy efficient. Plus, there’s no better feeling after a hard day at work than knowing that you have your favourite comfort food ready and waiting to be reheated.

If you have a smart meter, try out our tips and see if you notice a change when looking at your in-house display unit. If you don’t have one yet, take a look at the benefits of having a smart meter in your home and register your interest in getting one.

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