As inflation, interest rates, and seemingly everything else in this country, continues to rise in price, people are feeling the financial squeeze more so than ever before.
Over the last several months, gas and electricity prices in the UK have been hiked astronomically high, meaning that people’s energy bills are set to rise higher than ever over the coming winter months.
With energy prices rising, people are looking for ways of bringing their everyday energy consumption down, especially when cooking.
Here are several energy saving cooking tips to prevent your energy bill from skyrocketing.
Always put lids on things
One of the simplest ways of cutting back on the amount of energy you use, is to put lids on things.
If you’re bringing a pan of water to a boil on the hob, make sure you put a lid on the pan. Heating water or anything else uncovered, takes much longer to come to a boil, which means that you’ll be using more energy.
Okay, putting a lid on means that you’ve got one extra item to wash up after, but not only will it help you to use less energy when cooking, it will also help to save time as well as things will reach temperature quicker.
Butterfly your meat
One of the best cooking tips for anybody trying to reduce the amount of energy they use while cooking is simply to butterfly your meat.
To butterfly something is where you slice something almost in half, and open both sides out so that it resembles the shape of a butterfly.
If you’re frying a plump chicken breast for example, butterflying the meat means that it becomes thinner, so it will cook much quicker. The quicker something cooks, the less gas and/or electricity you will use, which means that you’ll spend less preparing each meal.
Batch cook your meals
While you certainly don’t need to batch cook every single dish you prepare, batch cooking several days’ worth of meals in one go will help you to use less energy over the course of the week.
Instead of cooking one meal, cook several meals at once, portion them up, and re-heat as and when needed.
Embrace one pot cooking
Another of the more effective cooking tips for people trying to bring their energy costs down is for them to embrace one pot cooking.
When making a meal, instead of cooking several ingredients individually, try cooking everything in one pot. By cooking in one vessel you’re only heating one vessel, rather than several, so obviously this means you’ll use less gas/electricity when preparing your meal.
One pot dishes can be very tasty, and as an added bonus, there’s less washing up for you to worry about afterwards.
Make use of a wood burning stove if you have one
Wood burning stoves are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and for good reason. They’re amazing at heating up rooms, they look charming, they’re low maintenance, and once you’ve purchased your wood, you don’t need to worry about how much you’re spending on heating.
As far as energy saving cooking tips are concerned however, wood burning stoves can be useful for cooking on top of.
Assuming you have a wood burning stove, if you’ve the space, rather than cooking something like a stew in the oven, simply place it on top of your woodburning stove and let it cook that way instead. You can even wrap some baking potatoes in foil and cook jacket potatoes in the hot embers as the fire dies down.
If you do cook in this manner, be very careful, only use suitable cooking vessels such as cast-iron pans and dishes, and NEVER try frying something. The dishes you prepare in this manner should ideally be soups, stews, curries, casseroles, and dishes that need slow cooking.
If you have a suitable kettle, you can also boil water on your stove, or use a suitable pan, making sure to keep the lid on of course.
Defrost frozen food overnight
How many of you have decided to cook a dish one day, only to find that your primary ingredient is in the freezer and will need defrosting? If this applies to you, did you leave the ingredient to defrost overnight, or did you defrost it in the microwave?
One of the best low energy cooking tips for anybody trying to reduce their energy usage is to simply plan ahead and defrost frozen ingredients in the fridge overnight. This way, the ingredients defrost without the need to use energy in a microwave, and you also avoid the nasty cooked bits you sometimes get when you use a microwave to defrost something.
Use the slow cooker
Slow cookers are incredibly energy efficient compared with ovens and gas hobs and are great for people trying to bring their heating and energy bills down.
Slow cookers use virtually no energy at all, and if you follow the right recipes, they can make tasty and delicious meals with virtually no effort required on your part at all.
Keep the oven door closed
When you’re cooking a delicious-smelling dinner and you’re getting really hungry, it can be tempting to open the oven door and check on your food. If you really have to, then open it, but if not try not to.
Each time you open the oven door your oven loses heat, which means that it adds time onto the cooking time and uses more energy to get back up to temperature.
One of the simplest energy-saving cooking tips out there is to keep your oven door closed. Figure out how long your food needs to cook for and give the food its allocated time. Only open the oven door while cooking if you really have to.
Use that residual heat from the oven
Despite telling you not to open the oven door when cooking, now we’re telling you to open the oven door after you’ve finished cooking.
Once you’ve cooked your food, take it out and open the oven door to let all of the residual heat out of the oven and into your kitchen. As we’re looking at cooking tips for reducing heating and energy bills, this is an ideal way to help heat your home.