Whether you’re an avid baker, a fan of one-dish meals, or a Sunday roast lover, your oven can really unlock your culinary potential. But we’ve all got to do our bit for the environment, so it’s important to pay attention to how you use your oven. Follow these tips, and you’ll be helping the environment as well as your wallet.
Cook several dishes at the same time
While it might take a little bit of additional planning, cooking multiple dishes at the same time is a great way to make more efficient use of your oven. It’s especially worth bearing in mind if you do a lot of meal prepping or cooking in batches. Just be sure you don’t overcrowd your oven or obstruct any fans, as this will reduce efficiency.
Don’t wait for your oven to “heat up”
A lot of cooking instructions will tell you to heat up your oven to a particular temperature before putting your dish in. While precise temperatures might be important for certain types of baking, you can put the majority of dishes in as soon as you turn your oven on. This way, you’ll be making use of the heat the oven generates right from the get-go.
Turn the oven off early
If you turn off your oven say five minutes before your dish is ready, the residual heat in the cavity will continue to cook your culinary creation without using energy. It doesn’t get more energy efficient than that!
Don’t open the oven door during cooking
OK, sometimes you’ll need to open the oven door to move things around or stagger the cooking of dishes but try to keep this to a minimum. Every time you open the door, you’re letting the heat out of the cavity. Your oven then has to work hard to get the cavity back up to the desired temperature. So, if you’re just having a look to see how things are getting on, do it through the glass panel!
Defrost food thoroughly before cooking
If your oven has to defrost food before it starts cooking it, it’ll obviously need to use more energy. Try to thoroughly defrost anything frozen before you cook it to save on energy.
Use ceramic or glass dishes
Glass and ceramic dishes retain heat a lot better than metal dishes, meaning you can use a slightly lower temperature. A lower temperature means lower energy consumption.
Time any self-cleaning programme wisely
If you’ve decided it’s time to clean your oven and want to use a pyrolytic self-cleaning feature, run this just after you’ve used the oven to cook. That way, the oven will already be hot and it’ll require less energy to the super-high temperature needed for pyrolytic cleaning.
Keep your oven clean
A clean oven will heat up quicker and distribute heat more effectively, making it more energy efficient.
Don’t put tin foil in the oven cavity
Some swear by putting a sheet of tin foil at the bottom of the oven to catch any dripping fat or sauces that bubble over the side of the dish.
While this might seem like a good idea, the reflective surface of the foil actually disrupts heat distribution inside the cavity. Not only this, it can also obstruct your oven’s fan, reducing its efficiency.
There you have it. Follow these tips and you’ll be using your oven in the most energy-efficient way possible.