The challenge is on: You’ve offered to host a major holiday meal, and you’re likely already planning the logistics for pulling it all off. What you may not have planned on is the heating bill you’ll rack up while cooking all those tasty, time-honored dishes. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to conserve household energy on the big day. Here are some key cooking tips for energy efficient holiday meals:
- Lower the thermostat. The thermostat may be the last thing on your mind on Thanksgiving and other winter holidays. However, it’s worth remembering that your cooking appliances, candles, and guests’ body heat will warm your home significantly. Lowering your thermostat temperature to compensate will keep you from overheating and save you money.
- Skip the preheat and trim down cooking time. Large dishes like turkey and pumpkin pie that need to cook for over an hour can be put in the oven as soon as you turn it on rather than waiting for it to preheat. Similarly, you can typically turn off the oven five to ten minutes earlier than the recipe calls for (or lower it to “warm”), as the oven will take several minutes to cool down. In general, try cooking some foods at lower temperatures where safely possible.
- Use smaller cooking appliances for some dishes. Crock pots, warming plates, toaster ovens, air fryers, and even microwaves use less energy than your oven. Utilizing these to cook and keep smaller dishes warm will reduce your high-energy oven use—and make it easier to cook foods at different temperatures.
- Use lidded glass and ceramic bakeware. Glass and ceramic bakeware conserve heat more effectively than other dish materials, so you can pull these dishes off or out of cooking appliances sooner while still keeping the food inside warm.
- Avoid excessive peeking. Every time you open your oven door, it’s not only the delicious smells that escape. To keep your oven energy where it belongs, avoid opening the door unless it’s strictly necessary; use your oven window to keep an eye on cooking progress. If you do have to open the oven during cooking, be sure to move quickly and shut it again as soon as possible.
Because ovens and stovetops are among the biggest energy consumers in the average household, upgrading your old ones to energy efficient electric versions can help you cook efficiently all year round.
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If you live in Michigan, you can get financing for new energy efficient kitchen appliances and other energy-saving upgrades with Michigan Saves.
Michigan Saves can help keep Mother Nature from costing you now and all year long. With our financing, you can quickly turn your house into a comfortable and energy efficient home—it covers virtually any energy upgrade you need.
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