Loading...
Home/Cooking
Cooking 2017-05-25T23:53:41+00:00

COOKING

Cooking accounts for about 4-5% of your total energy bill. By using your cooking appliances efficiently, and changing the way you prepare food, you can make a difference to your energy use, without sacrificing your well-being. After all, food is one of the great joys in life!


COOK TOPS

Stove tops are great for cooking but can be a substantial source of wasted energy in the kitchen. However there are simple things you can do to ensure you get the most out of your energy when cooking.
When cooking on the stove top, using the right size pan matters. You want your pans to be as close as possible to the size of the burners. If your pan is only 6 inches and you are cooking on an 8 inch burner, over 40% of the heat will be wasted. Using the right pots and pans will also help cook food more evenly.

Other things to consider when using an electric or gas stove top are:

  • Keep the lid on pots when possible to reduce heat loss. It makes the food cook faster and keeps the kitchen cooler.
  • Pots and pans with flat bases allow for more contact with the heating elements, which heats your pan more efficiently.
Induction cook tops heat the surface of the pans directly without needing to heat an element or lose heat to the air. These are around twice as efficient as a standard electric element and the stove top does not get hot so they are safer and easier to clean. They provide very fast cooking with excellent temperature control, but cost more to purchase.
When boiling water for a cuppa, be it on the stove or in the kettle, only boil what you need. The more water you boil, the more energy is required to heat it. If you do accidentally boil too much, consider using it to wash the dishes when it cools down to a safe temperature.

APPLIANCES

How you prepare your food and which appliances you use has an effect on your energy consumption. With some consideration and forethought you can save both time and energy.
When it comes to cooking, one of the largest energy consuming appliances is your oven. But, like most appliances, there are ways to use it more efficiently:

  • Check the door seals for any air leakage. Replace the seals to prevent wasted heat, energy and money.
  • Try to avoid pre-heating the oven unnecessarily.
  • If possible, cook several things at once.
  • Reheat food in the microwave instead of the oven.
  • Consider using smaller appliances like electric fry pans, slow cookers or microwaves as an alternative.
Microwaves use far less electricity than traditional electric ovens and can cook food much faster. Using a microwave can use up to 80% less energy when reheating food than a standard oven.

Some people think that microwaves can contaminate food. This is untrue. Microwaves cause water molecules in food to vibrate which produces heat needed to cook the food. This makes foods high in water content, like vegetables and soups, great for cooking in the microwave.

Slow cookers use significantly less energy than a stove top and are great for soups or stews that could take hours to cook. Slow cookers use just a little more energy than a traditional light bulb, and you can leave your food to cook slowly while you get on with other things.

FREEZING MEALS FOR LATER

Cooking in bulk and reheating meals later with a microwave is a convenient way to save time and effort but it does use energy to freeze, defrost and reheat the food.

There are some things you should know in order to always ensure the food is safe to eat. When it comes to freezing and thawing food, the NSW Food Authority recommends:

  • Only freeze food once – bacteria can multiply when food defrosts. If you refreeze uncooked food, bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels.
  • Never thaw and refreeze raw food, especially meats.
  • You can only refreeze food after it has been cooked thoroughly.
  • Cooked leftovers should only be frozen once. After defrosting discard what is not eaten and never refreeze a second time.
  • Never thaw food at room temperature – bacteria grow best at this temperature. Try to plan ahead – food defrosts safely overnight in the fridge.

For more information on food safety visit:
www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au