Make Your Seasonal Cooking A Little Sweeter With These Energy-Saving Tips | Alliance to Save Energy

Make Your Seasonal Cooking A Little Sweeter With These Energy-Saving Tips

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Alliance to Save Energy's Blog

11/24/20 / Ellie Long

Make Your Seasonal Cooking A Little Sweeter With These Energy-Saving Tips

This holiday season, much like the rest of 2020, is probably not what any of us were expecting, and planning for safe and socially distanced Thanksgiving celebrations feels more than little surreal. But in a year like no other, it’s even more important to find ways to say thanks and connect over the tradition of holiday meals – even if you’re enjoying mashed potatoes while looking into a webcam.

No matter your plans, you can make your holidays a little easier by trimming down expenses with a resource available to all: energy efficiency. As you plan for and prepare your seasonal cooking in the coming weeks, follow these tips to save money on your energy bills every step of the way.

1. Shop smart to save smart.

Unfortunately, with most family gatherings limited by COVID-19, this is probably not the year to splurge on that 25-pound turkey. Scaling down your favorite recipes will save you cooking time – and therefore the amount of energy used by your oven and stove. Keep in mind that smaller appliances use smaller amounts of energy – for example, rather than heating up the whole oven, you could use an electric roaster. Finally, by buying in smaller quantities, you’ll also reduce food waste: more than 2,000 trillion BTUs of energy are lost in wasted food each year.

2. Waste not, wash not.

Making lots of tiny dishes does have one negative side effect: lots of tiny dishes to wash! Don’t bother with handwashing: modern dishwashers work far more effectively while using less energy. Maximize your dishwasher’s efficiency by using an air-dry cycle rather than heated air, only running a load when its full, and – if new appliances are on your wish list this season – look for an ENERGY STAR model.

3. Cleaner for the environment and cleaner for you.

Did you know that self-cleaning ovens are better insulated, and therefore more energy-efficient? Save time and money by running the cleaning cycle just after cooking, so the oven’s already hot, and only running it about once a month. Also, because self-cleaning ovens use heat to clean out residue, you’ll avoid using harsh chemicals found in many oven cleaners – another reason to clean sustainably.

4. Bake up something sweet.

Let’s be honest, we’re all going to need more comfort food than usual this year. When baking up batches of your favorite seasonal treats, make sure to preheat your oven for only the designated time – ovens are typically the most energy-intensive appliance in a kitchen. And try using glass and ceramic pans when possible – these will allow you to lower your oven’s temperature by 25°F.

5. Don’t overcheck the turkey.

Opening your oven door, even briefly, can release a lot of heat. While that might feel nice on a cold winter’s day, you’ll waste energy by making your oven work harder by requiring it to get back up to temperature every time you take a peek. By keeping your oven door clean with the advice from tip #3 and turning on your oven light, you can watch your cooking while avoiding sending heat into your kitchen rather than your turkey – making for a more delicious meal as well.

6. Choose your holiday spirits wisely.

Thinking of what wine will pair well with your turkey? For the eco-conscious sommeliers out there, you can rest easy that wine and champagne are some of the least energy-intensive types of alcohol – but shopping from local producers when possible can lower your carbon footprint through reduced shipping emissions. Distilling spirits uses more energy, but last year, ENERGY STAR launched a certification program for distilleries to improve efficiency – so keep an eye out for that blue star in the liquor aisle.

These tips should get you started on the path to cooking up a more cost-effective and sustainable season. And from everyone here at the Alliance, we hope you find a way to bring both safety and joy to these most unusual of holidays.




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