November 23, 2016
With the holiday season already underway, many of us are looking forward to enjoying our favorite holiday dishes and desserts, like oven-roasted turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, or fresh-baked sugar cookies. But there’s one side dish we’d all rather avoid: higher electric bills. Kitchen appliances—such as ovens, stoves, and refrigerators—are used heavily during the holiday season, as we spend more time preparing meals for family and friends. So, this year, we’ve put together five easy-to-follow tips for creating energy-efficient meals that you, and your wallet, will enjoy.
Tip 1: Think about what size appliances you really need to use. Oftentimes, smaller dishes can be prepared in a toaster oven, microwave, or crockpot, instead of using a conventional oven or stove. These appliances require much less energy than their traditional counterparts; for instance, according to ENERGY STAR®, the same item uses up to 66% less energy when cooked in a toaster oven versus a traditional oven.
Tip 2: Keep your kitchen and cookware tidy. If you’re using an electric stove, make sure the metal drip pans are clean, since these fixtures help concentrate heat on your pots and pans. Also, be sure to use pots and pans that have flat bottoms, and always pair them with appropriately sized burners; this will help ensure that heat passes directly from the burner to the cookware.
Tip 3: Use your oven strategically. If you’re cooking multiple dishes that require an oven, you may be able to prepare several of them at once. In instances where the recipes call for different oven temperatures, if these recommended temperatures are close, you can still cook the items together, with only limited adjustments in cook time. If items need to be cooked separately, try cooking them back-to-back, when the oven is already hot.
Tip 4: Be patient. Avoid repeatedly opening the oven door to check on your dish. Similarly, use covers on your stovetop pans, and limit the frequency with which they are removed. Taking these steps will prevent heat from escaping your oven and stovetop cookware and, in turn, will allow your dishes to cook faster and with less energy.
Tip 5: Enjoy the meal…and the leftovers! Perhaps the only thing better than a holiday meal is a plate of holiday leftovers. When putting away leftover food, try not to open and close the fridge repeatedly, which can let cold air out. In addition, be sure to check that your fridge is closed tightly: you can verify this by shutting the door on a dollar bill and making sure that it cannot be easily removed.
Next time you pull out your holiday recipes, don’t forget these five easy tips! With just small changes, you can prepare your favorite dishes without cooking up unwanted energy waste.
Looking for additional ideas on how to be more energy efficient this holiday season? Follow Mass Save on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for other great tips that can help you save energy and money.