Energy Efficient Cooking

To operate your oven efficiently, use it only when a smaller or more efficient appliance won't work. Toaster ovens are better for small items, and microwaves not only use less energy, they require less cooking time. Crockpots, countertop steamers, and other appliances made just for certain cooking jobs use less energy (as much as 75% less) than heating an entire oven for an extended period.

Operate the oven the least possible amount of time by using the minimum pre-heat time and turning it off toward the end of the cooking time, letting it coast slowly down from its set temperature. When possible, cook several dishes at the same time in an oven, but don't block air flow.
Food cooks more quickly and efficiently when air can circulate freely. Therefore, don't wrap the racks in foil and stagger pans on upper and lower racks to allow for good air flow. Also, the type of pan you choose to cook in can make a difference; with glass or ceramic pans, you can reduce the oven temperature by 25oF, and the food cooks just as quickly.

With self-cleaning ovens, perform the cleaning cycle right after using the oven to take advantage of it being pre- heated, and only run the high temperature cleaning operation monthly or when really needed.

With flat-surface electric burners, make sure the bottom of your pans are flat-bottomed and make good contact with the element. Uneven pan bottoms don't conduct heat to the food as well. And with electric burners, you can turn them off toward the end of the cooking time since they'll radiate heat for a while as they cool.

With gas cooktops, a well- shaped blue flame indicates efficient burning. A yellow flame means the burner is operating inefficiently and should be cleaned.

Keep lids on pans as you cook; cooking without them can require three times as much energy as cooking with them on. Look for pans with glass lids if you like to keep an eye on what you are preparing.

When boiling foods, keep the amount of water used to a minimum. Using excess water that must be heated wastes the energy required to raise its temperature.

Defrosting frozen foods in the refrigerator will reduce cooking time. But allow enough time for defrosting to take place. It can take several days for a frozen turkey to defrost in a refrigerator.