People must put in enough energy to get a Thanksgiving meal ready. So don’t waste any energy, at least not the electric or gas kind. Here are a few good ideas about saving energy when you make your Thanksgiving feast.
The Omaha Public Power District, which has a neat energy newsletter – The Wire – BTW, has these ideas:
- Ingredients in one trip. When preparing the meal, try to gather all the necessary ingredients from refrigerators and freezers in one or two trips. The more you open and close the doors of these appliances, the more cold air can escape, forcing them to work harder – and use more energy – to keep cool.
- Microwaves can be your friend. These appliances use half the power of a regular oven, so use it when you can in place of the oven. And your cooking time will reduce as well.
- Leftovers – there will be a lot of them. Allow the containers to cool before placing them in the refrigerator. Hot foods in a refrigerator force it to work harder – and use more energy – to maintain temperature.
A Realtor site called HouseLogic suggests:
- Lower your house thermostat a few degrees. The oven will keep the house warm. You also can turn on your ceiling fan so it sucks air up, distributing heat throughout the room.
- Use ceramic or glass pans — you can turn down the oven’s temp by up to 25 degrees and get the same results. That’s because these materials retain heat so well, they’ll continue cooking food even after being removed from the oven.
- Use your oven’s convection feature. When heated air is circulated around the food, it reduces the required temperature and cooking time. You’ll cut your energy use by about 20%.
The Edison Electric Institute in Washington has these ideas:
- Use a “lids-on” approach to cooking. Tightly fitted lids on pots and pans help keep heat in, enabling you to lower the temperature settings and shorten the cooking times.
- When boiling liquids, start by using the highest temperature settings to reach the boiling point. Then lower the heat control setting and allow the food to simmer until fully cooked.
Finally, the US Marines even have ideas about saving energy while cooking the Thanksgiving turkey:
- Use a toaster oven or microwave to cook small amounts of food instead of your oven. A toaster oven uses up to 50 percent less energy than an oven, while a microwave uses about 80 percent less energy when reheating food.
- Leave the oven door closed while cooking. Resist the urge to peek inside your oven while food is cooking – each time you do the temperature in your oven decreases about 25 degrees.
- Prepare food to be cooked before turning on your oven. Make sure that all of your food is ready to be cooked before preheating your oven. This will ensure that you are not wasting energy by running an empty, heated oven.
- Match the size of your pan to the size of your burner. Using a large burner for a small pan is probably wasting more energy than you think — if your pan is 6 inches and you are cooking on an 8-inch burner, more than 40 percent of your heat will be wasted. Similarly, using a burner that is too small for your pan can increase cook time and cause food to cook unevenly.
Each of these sites, and maybe even your utility’s website, has energy-saving ideas not just for Thanksgiving, but all the time.