The following guest blog post is by Julie Goodwin, Australia’s first ‘Master Chef’…
We all know that saving power equals financial and environmental savings as well. This month One Million Women are focusing on saving POWER. I have a few tips to help you SAVE in the kitchen!
Of course, there are the obvious things like switching to low-energy lights, turning off the exhaust fan/lights when they are not necessary which most of us have probably already thought of. Below are a few more ideas about how to get your power working as efficiently as possible for you!
The appliance you use, actually does not have too much impact on the amount of energy you use. For example, I had assumed that cooking rice or steamed vegetables in the microwave would be more efficient than doing it on the stove top. After looking into it though, the difference is quite negligible. More important is what you cook and the method you use, rather than the appliance.
Certain foods take less energy to produce. Meat takes a great deal of energy, so eating more vegetables and grains and less meat will save on energy consumption in the world. Eating raw vegetables (salads in summer, as an example) save energy in your own kitchen.
When buying food, use the guidelines to reducing kitchen waste in general – packaging takes energy, processing takes energy – not in your own kitchen but in the world. So thinking about the bigger picture makes a difference.
Methods such as stir-frying take less energy than oven roasting, purely because the food cooks very quickly.
My mum never turns the oven on to only cook one thing, purely from a power-saving perspective. She always makes bulk batches of whatever it is she’s cooking – biscuits, cakes, roasts, stews. Use all the shelf space in your oven every time you turn it on. If you cook a double batch of dinner, for example, tomorrow night you’ll only need to do a quick reheat rather than have the oven on for a long period of time.
The same goes for the stove top or slow cooker– bulk batches of spaghetti Bolognese, curries, stews and soups will mean less energy used on cooking from scratch every day.
- Replace light bulbs with energy savers.
- Turn off appliances at the wall to reduce stand-by power usage.
- More vegetables, less meat, less packaging = less energy consumption in production.
- Eat more raw food – salads etc.
- Quick cooking methods like stir frying use less energy than oven-roasting (an exception is slow cookers which are efficient to run).
- Cook in bulk batches where possible.
- Keep the oven door clean, so you can see what’s happening inside without opening the door.
Fridge and Freezer:
The fridge is one of the most energy-hungry appliances in the home, and it’s not as if you can just switch it off, unless you live in some snow-bound environment. But there are ways to make it as efficient as possible.
To begin with, when buying appliances, always look for the most energy-efficient. There’s a convenient star rating system in Australia which makes this particularly easy. Here are some more tips on how to make you fridge and freezer more efficient.
- Don’t overcrowd them.
- Keep them clean and organised, so when you go to get something out, you’re not standing there with them open searching for stuff.
- Keep the seal around the doors clean so that they shut properly.
- Make sure food has cooled down before you freeze it.
- Open them as little as possible. (This is difficult with teenage sons who have a tendency to open the fridge and stare into its depths waiting for some delicious snack to leap out onto a plate.)
For many more energy-, money- and environment-saving tips, go to www.1millionwomen.com.au. Sign up to this great cause, and add your voice to the tens of thousands of Australian women who have decided to live with awareness and take everyday actions to reduce their carbon output.
About the Author: Mum, wife, cook, singer and public speaker, Julie Goodwin is the epitome of a busy Australian Mum. In December 2008 Julie applied for the first series of MasterChef Australia and in July 2009 4 million Australians watched as Julie took out the title as the first ever ‘MasterChef’. Julie has also become a regular columnist for the Australian’s Women’s Weekly, and resident cook on Channel Nine’s Today Show.