The kitchen is one of the most energy-hungry places in the home and as gas and electricity bills reach boiling point, Switcher have dished up these 10 tips for faster, smarter and more energy-efficient cooking.
1. Switch to speedy appliances: An electric cooker costs approx €1.36 each time you use it. Swap to smaller, speedier appliances like an air fryer, a microwave, or a steam cooker. Not only can they be healthier alternatives to shallow frying, but can significantly reduce your cooking time and save you money.
2. Invest in a slow cooker: A slow cooker uses the same energy as a lightbulb, costing just €0.26c for 5 hours. It’s also a healthier way of cooking – it can preserve more nutrients than other methods such as baking, boiling and frying.
3. Batch cook: Batch cooking dinners and lunches means less time and money cooking individual meals, and getting more value from your oven. It’s also a great way to manage portion sizes, plan meals and stick to healthy-eating goals.
4. Set the size: Always match food to the pan size and the pan to the ring size, so you don’t waste heat and money. Similarly, measure ingredients correctly and monitor your meal portions so you don’t overcook and overeat.
5. Defrost: Frozen food takes longer to cook, so defrosting it thoroughly in the fridge will mean faster cooking times, less energy consumption and avoiding harmful bacteria.
6. Use conductive dishes: Use glass and ceramic dishes in the oven over metal, as they retain the heat better. This allows you to lower the temperature and save energy, while avoiding overheated food with less nutrients.
7. Seal in the heat: Keeping the oven door shut means less heat can escape. Each time you open the oven door it can lose up to 25 degrees, and slows down the cooking.
8. Turn it off: An electric oven will continue to cook the food after it’s turned off. Switching off ten minutes before the cooking time is over still means perfectly cooked food for less cost.
9. Boil the kettle: At approx €0.20c for 15 minutes use, a kettle is best for boiling water for things like pasta, vegetables and rice, as it heats water much faster than the hob. A rapid-boil kettle is designed to boil small amounts of water quickly, so you can save even more.
10. Keep a lid on it: For suitable dishes, try to keep the lid on your pot while cooking. This traps more steam and heat so food cooks faster and more efficiently.
Eoin Clarke, commercial director of Switcher.ie, says:
“Making just a few small changes in the kitchen can help avoid energy waste, lead to healthier cooking habits, and save you money on your gas and electricity bill.”
“At €1.36 per use, the electric cooker is one of the most expensive appliances in the house, so switch to smaller, faster appliances wherever you can to really help slash those bills. Air fryers, steam cookers and slow cookers are great alternatives to using the oven or frying in the hob, and can be healthier too.”
“If you do use the cooker, always match your pan size to the ring size to save heat, keep a lid on dishes wherever you can, and don’t open the oven door. Batch cooking dinners and lunches means using your oven less often, which saves you time, energy and most importantly, money.”