JULY 5, 2013 BY 

Recently, I decided to borrow a few older Self Magazines from the office for something different to read. In the October 2009 issue I came across several great environmentally conscious ideas to save energy in the kitchen.

First up, “Scratch baking.” Did you know that 94% of the heat from your oven is wasted? To maximize the energy used, load your oven up with multiple dishes; this “gives you more edible bang for your buck.” Another way to reduce energy and save time is to bake smaller items like potatoes in a toaster oven or microwave. Also, when roasting vegetables try cutting them into smaller bite sized pieces to speed up the process.

My Kitchen Aid counter-top convection oven is perfect for this; I no longer use a microwave and the oven might just become storage. Speaking of bite sized, you can save time stove-top as well by preparing quick-fire foods with small, thin ingredients. They require less time to heat through, so thinly slice and dice those veggies and pound out your chicken breast before you sauté or grill.

Next up, “Put a lid on it.” When cooking pasta you can add the dry pasta to boiling water, let it boil for two minutes, turn off the heat, put a lid on it and finish out the cooking time. Just be sure to add a tablespoon or two of oil to the water, this will prevent the pasta from sticking.

Finally, “Surrender the sink.” Second “aha!” question of the day: Did you know that running a full load in the dishwasher uses less water than washing your dishes by hand? When choosing the drying option, look for the “air dry” feature to save energy.

I hope these little tips help you save energy in the kitchen and you start to find new ways to reduce energy throughout the house!


Carol Lacey joined the YVSC staff in 2011 as the Zero Waste summer intern, and was promoted to Zero Waste Program Coordinator in March 2012. For more about Carol…