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How to Save Money and Energy While Cooking

Updated on March 25, 2012
How to save money $$$
How to save money $$$ | Source

Use efficient and energy-saving pots and pans!

1. Make sure the bottoms of your pots and pans are absolutely flat! In order to be efficient and save you money, the heat has to transfer directly from the surface of the stove to the pan. If the bottom of your pan is warped, there is an air pocket between the pan and the stove, allowing heat to escape.

2. Match your pans with the appropriate burner. I know that it is tempting to put a little pan on a huge burner because it seems like you'd save time cooking, but in reality, if you're using an electric stove, that doesn't really matter that much. Also, you're wasting a lot of energy when part of the burner is exposed. If you have a gas stove, not only are you wasting energy, you're also creating a safety hazard when flames are curling up the sides of your pots.

3. If you have reflector pans, make sure they're clean so that can reflect the heat rays more efficiently.

4. Cook with the lid on. A tight fitting lid keeps heat in a pan, so you can use lower temperatures and cook faster.

Work with water.

5. Make sure you only heat the amount of water you need. Keep the lid on so it boils faster and so less steam escapes.

6. Start vegetables in a covered pan over high heat. When you start to see steam around the lid, lower the heat setting and allow the food to simmer. Keep it covered.

Use  lid when you're cooking pasta
Use lid when you're cooking pasta

Invest in a slow-cooker and other handy appliances!

7. A one-dish meal in a slow cooker calls for a lot less energy than a meal that calls for the use of an oven and a few stovetop burners. You can also cook small quantities of food in a toaster oven, a skillet, or an electric grill instead of your oven. Portable appliances generally use less than a third of the energy that your oven uses. Also, consider getting a smaller coffee-maker if you only make one or two cups.

Appliances to help you save money

Slow Cooker Revolution: One Test Kitchen. 30 Slow Cookers. 200 Amazing Recipes.
Slow Cooker Revolution: One Test Kitchen. 30 Slow Cookers. 200 Amazing Recipes.

The BEST slow cooker cookbook out there, from America's Test Kitchen. It includes tons of recipes of many different world cuisines, also includes appetizers and desserts.

Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker
Cuisinart PSC-350 3-1/2-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker

Buying a slow cooker is a no-brainer. Think of it as an investment-- once you cook two meals, it is already like you're gone out to a restaurant twice, and its paid for itself!

Presto 07046 Tilt 'n Drain Big Griddle Cool-Touch Electric Griddle
Presto 07046 Tilt 'n Drain Big Griddle Cool-Touch Electric Griddle

I especially like to use the electric griddle for making breakfast. I can cook several things on it at once, nothing sticks, I only have one things to clean, and it saves energy.

How to eat and cook cheaply
How to eat and cook cheaply | Source

Make the most out of your oven.

8. Try making your entire meal in the oven at the same time. You can usually simultaneously cook dishes if their recipes call for different cooking temperatures because 25 degrees more or less doesn't really change the result. Cover the dishes to prevent a blending of flavors.

9. Pop the food in the oven as soon as you start pre-heating. You may be able to turn off the oven a few minutes early, and you'll prevent wasteful heat escape.

10. Rearrange the oven shelves before turning it on.

11. Don't let your spouse or kids or friends open the oven door to sneak a peek. Lay down the law, or just flip on the light and look through the little window.

13. Finally, never use an oven to heat the kitchen or dry your clothes. This is incredibly wasteful and it can be very dangerous. If your landlord catches you, you might get the boot.

At least cooking isn't THIS energy consuming anymore
At least cooking isn't THIS energy consuming anymore | Source


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    • profile image

      Avril 2 years ago

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    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 5 years ago from Miami, US

      @Tonipet- thanks for commenting. I agree with you about the leftovers...there is always something that te creative chef can do with them.

      @kittythedreamer- Thanks so much for reading!

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 5 years ago from Miami, US

      Wow, Whowas, that is a great comment! I love how versatile that is, and how you've managed to use the energy for as many things as possible. You surely save tons of money in the winter especially. Thank you for the great info.

    • profile image

      whowas 5 years ago

      Hi stephaniedas,

      That's a great lil' hub of very handy tips. We got rid of our electric cooker a while back and have been using an old-fashioned wood burning range for a number of years for all our heating, cooking and water. We burn only locally sourced wood from sustainably managed woodlands.

      The transition was a little tricky at first but I remembered a lot from my childhood. Using a wood burning range with the idea of saving energy and resources really does force you to think creatively in terms of how you use the heat that you have to cook with whilst it is there.

      For example, I always steam vegetables and have a stacking steamer so that I can be cooking three, four or even five different things simultaneously from the same heat source. Not only that, but steaming retains nutrients and flavor.

      Also, I always make sure that I have the dough ready and risen for bread and any cakes and cookies that can go in after say, a roast or a hot-pot comes out - as those things will bake happily in the residual heat.

      The washing up water gets heated up with the cooking, too and clothes can hang to dry in the heat that would otherwise be lost or wasted.

      A good stove can use very little fuel indeed and you can adjust air-flow and damp-down and so on to conserve energy when it isn't in use.

      I appreciate that not everyone can use such a range - if you live in a fifth floor urban apartment for example - but the principles can apply to electric cookers, too: such as using the remaining heat to prove or bake even after the oven is off and a steamer to multi-cook.

      Great hub on a subject close to my heart - thank you!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

      Great tips, thanks!

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      A very green hub Steph! Matching pans with the appropriate burner, is what I am most particular of. I make a lot of one-pot meals from leftovers, and with a spread of lots of cheese, they come out fresh new meals. Who says they're just a part of last night's dinner? I'm voting up and away!

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 5 years ago from Miami, US

      @hush4444- Thank you for commenting! I was a bit skeptical about those two tips you mentioned at first, but once I put them into practice, I saw that they really make a difference. Lid-on cooking often really does lead to faster cooking times and lower temepratures.

      @save-money-uk- I'm glad you've found it informative, and I appreciate the kind words. I have a few other hubs too with some good tips for saving.

      @teachers12345- I am right with you on the one-pot meals. I love hte magic of a signle bay leaf in a huge pot, and the flavor it provides. Dishes like gumbo and any type of stew a wonderful. Thanks for the feedback.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      A great way to save money and reduce cooking time. I do love one pot meals because the flavor is all through the ingredients, which makes it another good reason to save on energy.

    • profile image

      save-money-uk 5 years ago

      This is really informative, I never though that I can save energy + money this way. Keep creating similar hubs :)

    • hush4444 profile image

      hush4444 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Another great money-saving hub! I never thought about my reflector pans, and the tip to cover the pasta pot is a great one. Voted up!