Love or hate it, cooking is a daily part of adult life (sigh) and even the biggest takeaway fans will find themselves facing their kitchen at some time or another.
However, the costs of cooking something up go beyond getting your ingredients from your local supermarket – your microwave, oven, slow cooker, hob and any other favoutite kitchen appliance can be a drain on your energy spend.
Up to a staggering 30% of the average house hold gas and electricity cost is from just cooking, depending on your cooking habits.
We’ve put together these top tips to make sure you’re not wasting money when cooking up a storm in the kitchen!
Boil the kettle to help speed up cooking on the hob
Got some broccoli to boil? A great time and energy saver is boiling the right amount of water in the kettle first, then pour it into your pan on your hob, it will kick off the boiling process, and in turn use less energy than heating it from scratch on the hob or gas cooker. Psst, don’t forget to put a lid on the pan to retain the heat, it’ll also make it cook faster (whilst saving extra energy)!
Cook in batches
Bulk cooking is a great way to save energy and convenient for families. Cooking a large portion of your favourite meal(s) utilises the energy you use on cooking, instead of cooking normal sized portions repeatedly. It will also put your freezer to work – having a full freezer means it will retain the cold in, and in effect use less energy.
Putting your freezer to work saves time and money during the busy cold weather months (especially as we head toward the frenetic holiday season). If you can find a couple days to devote to doing some big-batch cooking, jump on it — you’ll have healthy, prepared meals at the ready which will help reduce the number of take-out dinners you rely on in a pinch.
Defrost the natural way
Pop your frozen item for defrosting in the fridge the night before, or in the morning depending on when you plan on cooking it. It can half the cooking time and save energy costs on your cooking.
Keep your oven as clean as possible
Any excess burnt food, or greasy overspills lurking in your oven will absorb the heat, this can be particularly bad with electric cookers, making them work less efficiently!
Using a steamer uses less energy and is a quicker and better way to cook your veg! Which? Have reviewed and shortlisted nine on the market to suit an array of budgets, click here to see more. If you don’t have one, simply pop a colander over the top of a pan that’s already on the boil (just make sure you pop a lid on top) and wallah, you have a DIY steamer!
Keep your oven door closed
This ones for you impatient folk! This may seem an obvious one, but it’s surprising what a difference it can make. Every time you open the oven door it loses 25 degrees, so it has to work harder to get back up to the right temperature again. Instead stick to your trusty timer, and the oven light!
Use the right sized cooking pans
Using a massive pan to cook a small amount of food will just waste energy and time. Also, make sure your pan is on the correct sized hob/gas ring, it'll ensure the heat is being absorbed by the pan more efficiantly and the food will cook quicker.
It's all in the method
Did you know one of the most cost effective and energy efficient ways to cook is with a microwave. When used for 10 minutes a day an average household will use around £3 per year. Another low-cost way to cook is by using a slow cooker, when used for 8 hours a day will cost an average household £14 per year. And lastly, an electric hob proves to be the third least expensive way to cook using £90 per year when used for 30 minutes per day.
Remember when using a microwave, to switch it off at the wall when you're not using it, so it isn't left using electricity to power its clock. House hold appliances left on stand-by instead of being switched off can waste upto £90 a year on energy costs!
Cook with glass or ceramics where possible
This type of cookware is the most efficient to use in the oven and can reduce the temperature required for cooking.
Turn your oven off ten minutes before the cooking time ends
This will still retain to the same temperature for this time period, and save you on your energy spend. Win-Win!
The facts in this article were sourced via USwitch & Which? If you would like more energy saving advice, you can get in touch with our Extra Care Team on 0345 2068 999 and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube to keep up-to-date with all the latest advice, tips and energy news.
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