Despite the good news that ‘The Big 6’ have cut their energy prices, gas and electricity still make up a significant chunk of our monthly outgoings.
Last year, we took part in a Great Energy Race-a month long competition to save as much energy as possible. I learned loads of new information about energy saving, including some great ideas for using less energy when cooking.
Here’s my Top Ten!
1) Only boil the water that you need in the kettle. If you’re not sure how much you need, then fill the mugs with water, and put that into the kettle. If you are feeling really frugal, you can boil twice as much water as you need, and keep the leftover amount in a thermos flask-it will stay good and hot for a couple of hours, and this is a useful tip for anyone working from home.
2) If you have a toaster, use that instead of the grill
3) In terms of energy efficiency, the microwave is your friend! It uses much less energy to heat up things like baked beans or frozen peas, in the microwave, rather than on the hob. You can also make a mean chocolate pudding in the microwave…
5) When cooking pasta, I put the pasta into the cold water, turn on the heat, and then once it’s boiling, take it off the heat, and it cooks in the residual heat. It takes about 5 minutes longer, but it does work!
6) If you have a steamer, use it! It’s a canny way to halve the amount of gas you are using, by cooking two things (eg potatoes and broccoli) on one ring.
7) Slow cookers really do use less energy than ovens-I did the maths to check this one! I use my slow cooker for all kinds of things-casseroles, soups, rice pudding, and even the easiest ‘roast’ chicken you will ever make!
8) If you are using the oven, try and plan ahead, to get maximal use of the energy. Always try and have something on both shelves. I will often roast some vegetables to make into soup on the spare shelf, while dinner is cooking.
Once you have finished cooking, turn the oven off, but leave the door open and allow the heat to disperse around the kitchen, and warm it up!
9) Put lids on saucepans! It sounds silly, but it really does mean that it takes less energy to bring the water up to the boil. And the smaller you chop your veg, the quicker it will cook too!
10) Batch cook as much as you can. I am a keen baker, and try and do all of my baking on one day a week (and then freeze whatever we aren’t going to eat straight away). It saves all energy lost in heating up the oven several times a week.
Each of these measures on their own probably won’t make much of a difference to your energy bills, but all the little bits soon add up, and every little helps!