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Energy Efficient Meals & Cooking

Rebecca BebbingtonRebecca Bebbington · Apr 4, 2022

The kitchen is a hub for energy usage, and with our bills on the up, we’re looking at ways you can be more energy efficient when it comes to cooking and keeping your bills low.

You’ve probably never realised it, but being more mindful of the way you cook could significantly reduce the amount of energy you use!

If you’re looking to be more energy-conscious and cut your bills in the process, take a read through our top 10 tips for ways you can cook more efficiently in the kitchen.

1) Cook as much as you can in the oven at once

When cooking a large meal like a Sunday roast, make sure you prepare all of your veg beforehand so it can go into the oven at the same time. By timing it right, you can ensure that all of the heat and space in your oven is properly utilised. This will lower the amount of time your oven is on and save you energy! 

2) Use the microwave

Use the microwave

Where you can, make sure you use a microwave. Microwaves’ low energy usage and speedy cooking times make them one of the most energy-efficient appliances. Due to their small size, microwaves require no pre-heating and are able to transfer heat to your food much quicker than an oven. Plus, they are perfect for those of us who have no patience when it comes to waiting for food.

3) Choose the right pans for your hob

If you use an electric hob at home, you should make sure that you buy flat bottomed pans. These work best at making full contact with electric rings and allowing heat to spread more evenly. In turn, they will cook your food faster; saving you time and energy.

4) Opt for the Slow Cooker

Opt for the Slow Cooker

Did you know that slow cookers use a similar amount of energy as a light bulb? Over 15 hours of slow-cooking equates to just 1 hour in an electric oven so this appliance is a definite must-have when it comes to energy efficiency. Slow cookers are also ideal for busy households, simply leave your food cooking while you’re at work and return to a big bowl of tender meat, stew or curry.

5) Use Fan Assisted or Convection Ovens

Fan assisted or convection ovens circulate heat around your food as it cooks, getting the job done at a lower temperature than a traditional oven. In fact, fan assisted ovens use 20C less to reach the equivalent of gas mark 6, making them the more energy-efficient option for your home.

6) Parboil potatoes before roasting

Parboil potatoes before roasting

You can’t beat roast potatoes on your Sunday dinner, or with any meal to be honest. But have you ever thought about how much energy your oven is using to cook your raw potatoes? Parboil them for 5-10 minutes beforehand to soften them up. This way they will take less time to cook and therefore eat up less of that all-important energy.

7) Half the cooking time by defrosting meat in the fridge overnight

Planning on cooking a lovely joint of beef or a roast chicken? If you’re cooking from frozen, make sure to defrost in the fridge the night before, or even the morning before you decide to cook it. This could half the cooking time; saving you money on your bills.

8) Turn the oven off 10 minutes before the end – it will retain heat and continue cooking

Turn off oven 10 mins before

An electric oven can be significantly more expensive to use than a gas one. According to our data, from April 2022, an electric oven will cost 0.28 pence per kWh – a stark difference from the 0.07 pence per kWh when using gas.

A top tip to save energy and money while using your electric oven is to try switching it off 10 minutes before your food is ready. The temperature of the oven will remain the same and continue to cook your food.

9) Use Glass or Ceramic Dishes

You probably have never considered it, but did you know that using glass or ceramic oven dishes will not only cook your food faster but be more energy-efficient and cost-effective!

Glass and ceramic dishes retain heat far better than metal. You can even set the heat lower using these dishes because of their increased efficiency.

10) Use the kettle to boil water

Use the kettle to boil water

If you’re cooking pasta, boiling potatoes or veg, use your kettle to boil as much water as you need then transfer it to the hob. Using the electricity from the kettle to boil your water will cost less than boiling it cold on the hob.

Another top tip is to only use as much water needed to cover the food when using the hob. One of the most common forms of energy usage is boiling water you don’t need!

What are the most Energy-Efficient Cooking Appliances?

Microwave

Microwaves have risen to the top of our kitchen’s most energy-efficient appliances with things like beans and rice costing just 1p to heat. Their speedy heating times make them the right choice when it comes to cooking things like jacket spuds, which cost 7p less to heat in a microwave than a gas oven! There’s only 1p separating the two appliances when it comes to ready meals but with a microwave, you’ll get your grub 15 minutes faster.

Although microwaves are great for tinned foods and ready meals they won’t get you far with complicated meals like Sunday roasts. So, make sure you have this handy appliance on standby and use it as often as you can, but don’t forget to make the most of the space and energy in your oven when you’re cooking multiple things.

Gas Oven

In a battle between gas and electric, our data has found that although gas ovens may use more energy, they actually cost less overall! That’s because gas energy itself is significantly cheaper than electric, despite being less eco-friendly.

With a gas oven, you also have a lot more control over temperature, although they tend to burn food much quicker than electric. Initial installation fees are also something to consider, as gas ovens typically cost more to install. However, this doesn’t dispute the fact that in April 2022, 1kwh of electricity will cost you 4x as much as gas, so that’s definitely something to consider.

When choosing your oven, you should also consider which hobs you’re going to use. Gas hobs and electric hobs both use around 1.95kwh of energy however, gas hobs are much more cost-efficient. In April 2022, it’ll cost you 23p to make spaghetti bolognese on an electric hob whereas a gas hob will only cost you 6p!

Slow Cooker

The slow cooker is among one of the kitchen’s most energy-efficient appliances! Not only do they knock up a great stew or curry, but can save you time and money. On average, the slow cooker consumes just a mere 200 watts – significantly less than your typical electric oven.

While they may take longer, slow cookers could save you a serious amount when it comes to cooking your meat. We found from our data that the average cost of cooking your favourite cuts of meat could cost you up to 42p when using an electric oven.

Cooking your meats ‘slow and low’ using a slow cooker for 5-6 hours will approximately cost you around 11 pence. And the best part? The slow cooker does all the work for you and you don’t need to worry about any dry or burnt meats!

The cost of cooking your favourite dishes

Britain's most beloved meal, The Sunday Roast.

We decided to delve into the costs of cooking Britain’s most beloved meal, The Sunday Roast. From the meat to the veg, potatoes and all the added extras we know and love, the cost of cooking this weekly staple can be quite eye opening!

Taking the wattage of our cooking appliances including a gas oven, electric oven, the kettle, the Microwave and our hobs, we’ve managed to determine how much it costs to knock up this british delicacy and just how much that is set to increase come April 1st.

We’ve also looked at meals that are the most energy efficient to prepare and appliances you can switch to that can help save both energy and money.

Full Energy Efficient Meals Data:-

  1. Campbells Meat

    Campbells MeatCode

    Exclusive 20% off orders over £60 at Campbells Meat

  2. Dry Drinker

    Dry DrinkerCode

    5% off orders at Dry Drinker

  3. Beer Hawk

    Beer HawkCode

    Up to 25% off PerfectDraft Machine Bundles plus Free Delivery at Beer Hawk

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