Being Energy Efficient in the Kitchen We’re all more aware of our bills at this time of year but now, more than ever, it’s important to do what we can do to make sure we are not spending money that could be saved. Using our kitchens can be expensive. Cooking uses 14% of the electricity in our homes while cooling and freezing food can use up to 17%. However, there are ways we can bring this cost down. We’ve been chatting to Changeworks, an energy and waste organisation and we’ve put together our top tips: Think about what we use to cook: There are big differences in the cost of running appliances in the kitchen: When using the microwave: Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight. If food is defrosted before being cooked, it halves the cooking time needed We should turn our microwave off at the wall after we have used it When cooking on the hob: Cutting up our vegetables up into smaller pieces means they’ll cook quicker Boil the kettle first and pour hot water into a pot rather than heating tap water up from cold Only heat enough water to cover the food, there is no need to fill the pot right up Use a pot or pan that fits the hob ring size If you have a lid, keeping the lid on keeps the heat in and means you can turn the hob down. This can save as much as 3% of energy used by each pot or pan! Got a colander? If we’re boiling potatoes but have some other vegetables to cook, they can be placed in the colander on top of the pan of boiling water – this will steam cook them and saves the need to heat another pot of water up When using an electric hob, the hot water/steam will continue to cook the vegetables for up to 10 minutes after it’s been switched off. So, we can turn it off early and save some extra money When cooking in the oven: It’s more efficient to batch cook in the oven rather than use it for one item or meal. Plan ahead so you can cook a few things in there at one time Don’t open the oven door to check on food when it’s cooking. It’s best to make sure the window is clean so we can see inside without having to open it up. When we open the door, the oven loses a lot of heat and has to work harder to get back to the right temperature When cooling and freezing: Always let food cool down before putting it in the fridge. If food is warm when it goes into the fridge, it can raise the overall temperature – this is a food safety risk and it makes the fridge work harder to cool back down Keep the fridge door closed as much as possible. When unloading a food shop, it helps to place everything for the fridge together next to it instead of leaving the door open while unpacking the bags and putting items in as you find them Fridges should be running at 5 °C or below Keeping our fridges at least ¾ full is the most energy-efficient way to run them. If it’s not ¾ full with food, fill some empty milk or water bottles with water and put them in. The more items in the fridge the less energy is needed to keep them cool. Don’t overfill though, this stops the air from circulating which will also use more energy Have you got any tips or tricks that help you stay energy efficient? Being mindful of our energy usage is not just great for our wallets but great for the environment as well. We can all do our bit by making these small changes – they all add up! Let us know in the comments.