A Recipe for an Energy Efficient Thanksgiving

November 02, 2016

Believe it or not, this year is almost over. The holiday season is fast approaching, beginning with one of the most delectable holidays of all - Thanksgiving.

When cooking a complete Thanksgiving dinner, you could be asking your kitchen to work overtime with turkeys, side dishes, and pies. You’d be surprised to know just how much energy you can consume while preparing your delicious feast and the effects this can have on your monthly energy bill. So we decided to help you make the most of your kitchen while saving energy and money, and have compiled the perfect “recipe” for a decadent, energy efficient Thanksgiving dinner - just for you!

Let’s begin with the Turkey:

The turkey is the staple of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but it can also be the one item that uses the most amount of energy to prep. You could opt out of a traditional whole turkey and go for a smaller bird, a pre-cooked honey ham or even choose a vegetarian option. This would take less time and energy. However, we know how hard it is to let go of tradition, so if you prefer to stick with the turkey, here are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of energy needed:

  • Do not thaw your turkey in the refrigerator. This can force your refrigerator to work extra hard and consume a lot of energy (it can be as much as 24 hours of extra energy per every four to five pounds, YIKES!) Instead you can buy a fresh turkey or you can thaw your frozen bird by submerging it in cold water - calculate about 30 minutes per pound and make sure to change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that it stays cold enough (and doesn’t give anyone food poisoning!).
  • Have a gas grill? Cooking your turkey in a gas grill can produce a delicious meal while making the process very energy efficient.
  • If you are going to use your regular oven, skip the pre-heating period! Since cooking a turkey is a long process, there is absolutely no need for pre-heating.

The sides and desserts are just as important:

Ok, we’ve got the turkey thing down, now let’s talk sides and pies.

  • Check that all your equipment is working properly before you begin. Equipment that may not be functioning optimally due to age or wear-and-tear will require more energy to perform the tasks at hand.
  • Maximize the oven usage by making sides that can be cooked in the oven while the turkey is cooking as well. The oven is on, it’s working, and it fits more dishes, so take full advantage.
  • Make sure that the pots you are using are used on the right sized burners, that way you are not wasting heat and energy.
  • Try using ceramic or glass pans. They work great to thoroughly cook your food, you can reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees when cooking your dishes in them, and they look pretty in presentation!
  • If you are planning more than one celebration, cook all your meals on the same day. No one will notice if they are reheated, and you’ll save energy by having just one main cooking day.
  • Convection ovens tend to use less energy. We recommend you take full advantage, if available.

A few bonus tips:

  • All this cooking will heat up your house, so make sure you lower your thermostat. Let the cooking work in your favor by giving your furnace a bit of a break.
  • Use non-electric décor. The occasion is perfect to dim the lights and decorate with candles, you will give your electricity a much needed break after all that hard work.
  • It is always a great idea to make sure you are ready for the remaining holiday celebrations that are fast-approaching by conducting a full home energy assessment. Click here for more info.

Follow our tips and you will be ready to have a low-energy, but high-quality Thanksgiving with all your loved ones, because in the end that’s what the holidays are all about!

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