Saving energy when cooking

energy-effecient-cooking-using-wokDay 8 of our carbon fast takes place in the kitchen!

We have to see how we can save energy in the kitchen. The suggestion reads “Save energy in the kitchen. Cook food in a microwave, which uses 50-70% less energy than a conventional oven. When you need to cook in a pan on the stove, use a lid to preserve heat, which will also cook your food faster. Cook double portions and freeze what you don’t eat.”

I don’t personally advocate the use of microwave ovens for health reasons. I’ve never had one and never want one, despite them being a way to cook more efficiently. I trust my intuition on this and don’t question that I feel they are unsafe.

However, I totally understand that microwave ovens are extremely energy efficient and I employ as many methods of low-energy cooking as I can.

Crockpots / slow cookers

By using a slow cooker you can cook an entire meal with the same energy as a light bulb. Slow cookers are great for soups and stews and are excellent if you are short of time. All you have to do is prepare your ingredients and switch the crockpot on. In a few hours you’ll have a piping hot meal ready. I use a slow cooker for porrage during the winter so I can wake up to a hot breakfast!


Using a steamer means you can cook a complete meal on one ring of the hob or with one electrical socket. You can cook rice, fish, meat and vegetables in a steamer. It’s also a healthier way to cook because steamers retain nutrients effectively.


Making a stir fry means you can create healthy ‘fast food’ in minutes. Again you can create an entire meal in one pan if you fry your vegetables and then add either meat, fish or a tin of pulses. One of my favourite meals is stir fried vegetables with chickpeas and melted feta cheese.

Batch cooking

I only use the oven once or twice a week and when it’s on I make sure I maximise on the energy I’m using. When I make Sunday dinner I also make bread, cakes and biscuits for the rest of the week. If I put on the oven mid week I batch cook for later in the week.

What about you? What energy efficient methods do you use in the kitchen?


  1. Small Footprints on March 16, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    I use many of the methods that you do … and, like you, I don’t use a microwave. I’m bothered by the molecular structure of food changing in the microwave process … I suppose the cooking process changes it, too, but there’s just something about a microwave. Besides, there’s something very satisfying about taking one’s time to cook.

    Thanks for all of your wonderful posts during our daily challenges … it’s tough work to come up with entire posts on a daily basis!!

  2. Mrs Green on March 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    @Small Footprints: Oh yes, me too – don’t start me on microwaves. I might post all my feelings about them one day 😉
    Well thank YOU for the inspiration behind the challenges; I’m a little behind with writing up, but I’ll get there 😉