Cooking up energy savings

Mention the month of November and images of football, family gatherings and, and of course, food abound.  Mouths start salivating as we think about the indulgences of Thanksgiving Day.  And while the tradition includes a day of preparing and cooking, the day’s activities do not have to affect your energy bill.  Don’t let your energy savings get gobbled up in the kitchen this Thanksgiving.  Duke Energy Florida offers ways to keep the sizzle in your kitchen and out of your electric bill:

Clean stove burners and reflectors.  You’ll likely give the house a good cleaning before your guests arrive for the big meal, so make sure you include this task, which will allow more heat to reflect upwards while cooking that delectable gravy.

Match your pot size to the burner on your stove.  Before you place the pot on the stove to boil those potatoes, make sure you are using the appropriate burner.  Heat is lost when small pots are used on larger burners.  A 6” pot on an 8” burner wastes over 40 percent of the burner’s heat.  Also, use your pot lids to lock in heat and minimize cooking time.

Cook with energy-efficient cookware.  When deciding what to cook those yummy sides in, opt for oven-safe glass or ceramic cookware.  Glass and ceramic cookware conduct and retain heat better than metal, allowing you to heat the dish at a temperature up to 25 degrees lower than the recipe states.

Keep the oven door closed while cooking.  While it may be tempting to open the door to get a whiff of the turkey cooking to perfection, the temperature can drop 25 to 30 degrees each time the oven door is opened.

Utilize your smaller appliances.  Don’t dismiss the microwave or countertop oven because it’s a formal meal.  You could save up to 30 percent of the energy required to cook with a traditional oven.  Consider these appliances to bake yams, steam vegetables or heat up leftover turkey for a midnight snack.

Use residual heat.  Turn off your oven or burners when food is near completion and let existing heat finish the cooking.

Don’t dismiss the outdoors.  Try giving your oven a break this Thanksgiving and grill or deep-fry your turkey.  These nontraditional cooking techniques result in a savory main course with plenty of energy savings on the side.

Clean in a timely manner.  As you prepare to clean up after the day’s feast, if you plan to clean the oven using the self-cleaning option, begin the cycle while the oven is still hot from cooking.

Let your dishwasher do the work. Scrape food off dishes instead of rinsing them to save water and reduce energy consumption.  For maximum energy efficiency, run the dishwasher only when you have a full load and use the air-dry option.

Your energy savings need not end with the last bite of turkey is consumed.  Continue using these tips and enjoy savings on your monthly energy bill year-round.

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