As a cook, even if you’re merely an amateur cook who deals strictly in whipping up hearty home-cooked meals, at some or other point you will have probably wondered how you can do your bit to become more eco-friendly. Cooking and everything else to do with the preparation and storage of food consumes energy in some or other way, with many of the processes involved doing so in a way that places a bit too much of a burden on the environment.
So here are some tips you can implement in order to make your cooking more eco-friendly:
It won’t take all that much to go a little greener with your cooking habits, with very small changes here and there accounting for big improvements to the reduction of your carbon-footprint.
Making more efficient use of heat
Energy in the form of heat is indeed the major consideration point when it comes to cooking, so naturally this would be the main area to look at if your aim was to be a little eco-friendlier with your cooking. Making more efficient use of the heat you cook with entails three things, including the size of the burner, how you boil water and how efficiently you actually use the heat energy produced.
Using the right burner size might come across as some obvious advice for anyone who wants to be a little eco-friendlier with their cooking, but in practice you probably do it a little differently don’t you? You probably do it in the least eco-friendly way possible when you start taking into account the amount of time you’re going to spend cooking overall.
It’s common sense to say that you use the right sized burner for the pot on which you’d be placing it, but when you have all burners on at the same time and you want to finish your cooking, that can have you placing smaller pots on bigger burners. This inevitably wastes heat and it can become habitual rather quickly, despite the fact that you initially just want to do it once.
Boil any water you want to use in a kettle as electric kettles are up to twice as energy efficient as pots of water boiled on a stove. The water which is to be first boiled in a kettle can be used to get the pasta, steamed veggies or rice going. Make a habit out of it.
For the most part pre-heating certain foods is just a matter of honouring a recipe to make it easier to prepare the food, but as far as energy efficiency goes it’s not so eco-friendly. If you can, skip the process of preheating altogether. In any case, foods that take more than 45 minutes to cook, as a general rule of thumb, can be started out in a cold oven, with the energy that would’ve been used as part of the preheating process now used more efficiently as part of the cooking process proper.
To complete the equation of effective heat deployment, you would try to use as much residual heat to cook with as possible. Ovens typically remain hot enough to complete the cooking process for many foods, for example, in which case you can switch it off a short while before the indicated time in the recipe. Often this can be done quite easily when baking cookies or roasting veggies, an indication of which fact is how you often have to quickly remove items from the oven when they’re close to or are already burning.
Leaving the oven door open immediately after switching it off to “let the heat out” is another indication of the fact that you can make much better use of residual heat.
General eco-friendly practices
Beyond the actual process of cooking, going eco-friendly with the manner in which you store and prepare your food should entail considering the use of a microwave, which uses a lot less energy than a stove, letting food cool outside of the fridge a bit as opposed to inserting it warm (this otherwise uses more energy to cool the warm food), using green appliances, reducing the use of paper, and something like cooking with pressure – pressure cookers save tonnes of energy.