Is Your Cooking Costing You Money?

I thought I knew a lot about efficient cooking, but some of this info surprised me.  It seems that my family is throwing more bucks at the electric company than we might have to.  In the spirit of the greening up – yea, it’s Spring – here’s some great tips for more efficient cooking.

Easy Ways To Save Some Money In The Kitchen

The easiest and most effective way to save money is to use energy-efficient cooking methods.  Here’s how:

The Stove:

  • Make sure you match the size of the pot to the size of the burner. On an electric stove using a 6 inch pot on an 8 inch burner wastes more than 40 percent of the heat from the burner.
  • Cover your pots and pans with tight-fitting lids during cooking to keep the heat in. A covered pot comes to a boil more quickly which reduces cooking time, using less energy.
  • When you buy pots and pans, look for flat-bottomed cookware that is made out of highly conductive materials like copper or cast iron.

The Oven:

  • Ovens are not usually the most efficient way to cook – a microwave is far more efficient (see below).  
  • Preheating is somewhat prehistoric since many newer ovens heat up very rapidly.  Often, preheating is not necessary, although it does depend on the recipe – especially for most baked goods and soufflés.
  • Turn the oven off five or ten minutes early, and let dishes finish cooking in the residual heat. (Ditto for food cooked on an electric stove top.).
  • Try to keep the oven door shut as much as possible.  Every time you open it the temperature drops about 25 degrees.
  • Ceramic, glass, and cast iron bakeware retains more heat so things cook more quickly.
  • Capitalize on your oven and its heat. Cook more than one thing at a time. If you’re cooking something small, use a toaster oven or microwave to save energy – especially if you’re reheating.

The Microwave:

  • Microwave ovens are a very efficient way to heat and cook food. Cooking energy is reduced by as much as 80 percent when you use your microwave for small portions.
  • On average, you can reduce your energy consumption by two-thirds if you cook in the microwave rather than on the stove (even if it’s gas). You’ll also help keep the kitchen cooler, a bonus in the summer.

The Pressure Cooker:

For more about “green cleaning”  check out my latest Eat Out, Eat Well newsletter article at:

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