How to Save Money When You Cook in the Kitchen

Want to cook healthier meals without sacrificing taste?  By substituting unhealthy ingredients with healthier alternatives, you can impress your friends and family while sticking to your calorie budget.  Similarly, there are plenty of ways you can save energy while cooking food that  still tastes good and is also convenient. Eat well and spend less money by following this simple recipe for energy savings:

Stoves

Standard electric coil stove tops are the least efficient way to cook.  The coils take a long time to heat up, waste energy as it warms and emit heat as it cools.  If you’re in the market for a new stove and you prefer electric over gas, opt for a stove that deliver heat instantly.  Ceramic glass surface stoves use halogen elements that heat and cool very quickly. If you have a flat surface stove, be sure to have completely flat cookware, or you’ll significantly reduce your efficiency.  New, and often more expensive, stoves use induction heating elements to transfer electromagnetic energy directly to the cookware. This reduces the electricity needed to cook your food by nearly 50 percent. You’ll need to have metal pots and pans for this type of stove.

Many people prefer the taste of food cooked by natural gas.  Gas stoves are generally more energy efficient than their electric counterparts, because they heat pots quicker and there is no wasted heat after they’re shut off.  Look for gas stoves with low BTUs, as they will save you money in the long run.

Regardless of the stovetop, keep the lids on your pots closed while cooking.  Not only will you reduce cooking time, you’ll also keep from unnecessarily heating your kitchen.

Baking

You can save a lot of time and money by cutting corners when using the oven.  Unless you’re cooking a dish that requires very precise temperatures and for specific times, put your food in the oven immediately instead of waiting for it to preheat.  Then turn the oven off for five to ten minutes before your food is done cooking and let the heat that has built up inside the oven finish the job. For this to work, you must not open your oven during the baking process.  Use your oven’s inside light to check on your dish.

Other Cooking Methods

ENERGY STAR estimates that you can reduce your energy consumption by 80 percent if you heat food in the microwave instead of the oven.  An alternative way to save time and money, but still have deliciously tender food is to use a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers can reduce cooking times by 70 percent and there are several cookbooks dedicated to the art of cooking with pressure cookers.  If you have the time, you may also consider using a crock pot to slowly cook your meals. It’s always nice to walk into your aromatic home with a fully cooked meal ready to eat in your crockpot. Be sure to time the start of your crockpot correctly so that you don’t waste energy keeping the food warm while you’re gone.

 

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