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11 Tips for Saving Energy in the Kitchen

When you’re an at home parent, you probably make a lot of meals in the kitchen. At least, I hope you’re not eating out too much.

It’s easy to be a little inefficient with your energy use in the kitchen, however. Here are some tips to help you be just a little more efficient.

1. Check that refrigerator seal.

Is it clean? If not, wipe it down.

You can test how effective your refrigerator door seal is with a piece of paper. Close the door on the paper and try to slide it out. If it moves easily, your seal isn’t tight.

2. Full loads in the dishwasher.

Handwashing is necessary for many things in the kitchen, but wash what you can in the dishwasher. Most use less water than handwashing does. That’s less water and less energy from the hot water heater.

If you have kids, full loads are probably pretty easy to come by. The fewer people in the house, the harder this one can be.

3. Put a lid on it.

Your pots and pans come with lids for a reason. Putting a lid on as you cook makes foods cook faster and reduces the amount of energy lost. While this won’t work for all recipes, especially if you have to stir a lot, try to remember to use lids when you can.

4. Size matters.

Using the right size pot or pan can be a help in heating food faster. But that’s not the only time to think about size, at least if you have a toaster oven.

A toaster oven can be more efficient than heating up your full size oven for smaller meals. It’s not so great that I would necessarily say run out and get one, but if you have one anyhow, use it. And if you’re really going to use it enough, it may not be a bad purchase at all.

5. Consider the microwave.

I know some people aren’t fans of microwaved foods, but when you have one and it’s appropriate, you aren’t going to beat the microwave for energy efficiency in heating up food or liquids.

6. Pile on the pressure.

Pressure cookers aren’t exactly the same as they were in our grandparents’ time. Modern ones are pretty safe so long as you follow the directions. And they’re pretty fast at cooking up food.

7. Take it slow.

Microwaves are great for heating things up fast, but slow can pay off too. As in a slow cooker or crockpot.

I’ve long been a fan of my crockpot, especially when dealing with a baby. I can start dinner at almost any time of the day. First thing in the morning if I know things are going to get crazy or I just want to get dinner going. Middle of the day if morning didn’t work out or I think of it later. Just a matter of picking the right temperature.

It’s also great for getting meats soft enough to grind up for baby food.

8. Cut the cord.

Or at least stop using so many little electric gadgets for things that can be done by hand. It doesn’t take that much effort for most people to open a can with a regular can opener. Do you really need that food processor to do the slicing for you? What about a mandoline?

9. Keep it clean.

Clean ovens and stove tops can be much more efficient. They’re designed to reflect energy while you cook, and dirt changes where it goes and can cut the efficiency.

10. Shut it down.

Just because you turned off the heat doesn’t mean your food stops cooking. Whether it’s on the stove or in the oven, it takes time for things to cool down enough to stop the cooking process completely… especially if you use lids on the stove and keep that oven shut until you’re ready to take the food out.

11. Don’t cook everything.

Lots of fruits and vegetables are great raw. Why not take advantage and just not cook them?

Do you have any tips to share?

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