Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cooking Green- Part 2

Here are the interesting tid bits that I've gleaned from the book. I would suggest that you read the book to find your own interesting bit because these might not be interesting to everyone.

The refrigerator- I knew that the freezer was more efficient when it was full, but this same principal applies to the refrigerator. I also learned how you can use less energy to keep the products that must be kept colder still cool. Ice packs. Also placing dairy products near the freezer in a side-by-side or at the back of refrigerator with the freezer on top is best. Never put anything that must be kept cooler like meats and dairy products in the door. And having a fridge with a water and ice machine isn't fuel efficient. It's better to use ice cube trays and keep pitchers of water in the fridge.

Gas vs. electric- gas may cook things more evenly but it uses the most fuel. It may be cleaner to use gas, but it's still burns gas when you have the oven or stove turned off. If your electric company uses renewable energy definitely go that route.

Toaster ovens are the way to go. They heat up faster and are more fuel efficient when it comes to cooking food. Microwaves are awesome in that regard too. Induction burners are great if you cook on the stove a lot and have stainless steel or cast iron. To see if the induction burner will work for you try sticking a magnet to your pot or pan. Rice cookers are great if you cook rice often. Slow cookers, my all time go to gadget, use less electricity than an incandescent bulb. She also says an electric tea pot is great for cooking veggies or blanching them. But she's quick to point out that unless you plan on cooking a particular way often (like rice all the time) there's no point in investing the gadgets.

Ways to cook better with your oven: You can forget the preheat for things that cook over an hour. You can forget the preheat on a lot of recipes except ones that involve pastries, cakes, or cookies. You can also power down early and let residual heat continue to cook. You can plan to cook a number of items at one time in the oven at the same temp especially if they are to be baked at close temps like 350 and 375. Convection ovens are awesome. If you are buying an oven, make sure it has a convection setting. Self-cleaning ovens are better insulated.

Stove tops: You can passively boil by bringing a food item close to the point of boiling. Use a lid often to conserve energy. Reuse the same pot of water to blanch several veggies (which keeps them lasting longer) or boil different ones. You can also turn the heat off before an item's time is up and let it continue to cook from the residual heat.

Frying: woks use less oil and are great. Avoid deep frying. If you deep fry often, invest in a deep fryer. It keep oil and other particles from getting into the air and us breathing them in.

cook ware: stainless steel is great for short term cooking, cast iron is great for slow cooking and can be put in the oven. Ceramic bake ware is great because it retains heat longer thus you can shut your oven off sooner.

Stick with buying food locally even if they aren't organic. It's actually expensive to become organic certified so a lot of farmers are organic but can't use that label. Ask them (and hopefully they will be truthful). Don't waste dairy or meat. You can't compost them and they take a lot of energy to produce them. Go for food that require little cooking effort if any like using lentils because they don't need to be soaked. Also try to go meat-less. Even Southern meat eaters can handle red beans and rice more often. Buy things in season.

Buying into packaging: buy in this order- aseptic paperboard, glass, canned, plastic, frozen Avoid buying things in liquid that can be bought in a powdered form. It takes more space in the truck for the extra water. Don't use single serving items. Go to the butcher counter which uses butcher paper instead of foam.

And the finale 40 ways to green your cooking as given by the author:
Energy-efficient kitchen zones (as in don't put your dishwasher next to the fridge)
water conservation and reuse
lower hot-water usage and temps
energy-star appliances (not all appliances can be energy starred ovens, stove tops, microwaves, clothes dryers, water heaters, slow cookers, and blenders for example can't be energy starred)
small appliances as fuel savers
electric teapots over cook top boiling
avoiding peak power hours
unplugging appliances
renewable energy sources
lower-emission grilling (no charcoal)
nontoxic, biodegradable cleansers (she promotes vinegar :D
regular over antibiotic cleansers :D
reusable cloth napkins :D
recycled and recyclable products
plants over animals
Non- CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operations) products
energy-efficient ingredients
weather-sensitive cooking (don't use the oven in the summer it will heat your house)
cooktop before oven
induction burners
passive cooking over active fuel use (or residual heat cooking instead of constant fueled-heat)
skipping the preheat when possible
toaster ovens
convection cooking
microwave cooking
simultaneous baking
multitasking boiling water
fuel-efficient cookware
nontoxic cookware
farmers markets and direct from farms
fewer grocery trips
shelf-stable over frozen
minimal packaging
aseptic and glass over cans
extending food storage
no food waste
green-conscious grocery stores
low-carbon restaurants

Note the :D and info in parenthesis are my comments.

And that's the book in a nut shell. Hope that you enjoyed it. The current book that I'm reading is about home remedies. I know that I wrote a post on that already, but hopefully I will learn some new ones to pass on.


  1. :-) I really would like to read this book.

    I looked up the gas stove thing though because its the opposite of what I'd heard. Here's some more info on it.



    I suppose she's thinking about the old stoves and not the newer ones? We have a newer one and I'm so happy with it lol. My parents had the kind you had to light and I was always afraid I'd burn myself. Didn't stop me from wanting gas myself, but still a nice surprise when this one was diff.

  2. She does suggest getting an electrically lit gas stove and says in some cases it's greener to use than an electric that uses electricity generated by coal. However, she does say that if you use electricity that is powered by renewable resources (as our electric company is supplementing with) than it's greener at the source. She goes into more detail about it than I did. Sorry.

  3. She also has a website which may be helpful and more detailed than I am. www.newgreenbasics.com

  4. Gotcha :-) Both our gas and electricity come from the same place lol. The company has a huge monopoly here.. I don't think there's any other option. They are greening up quite a bit. I got something in the mail the other day about if we want a percentage of our stuff to come from wind energy. We want to look into it but I'm not sure how the billing works so we have to talk to them.

  5. Ours is invested in solar from what I understand. The gas and the electric companies are two separate entities where I live. I don't think that we can go with someone else, but I'm not sure about that. I know that telephone has options which is nice because I remember being a kid and you got stuck with what you got stuck with. Now there's cable phone, telephone line phone, satellite phone, and cell phone. Maybe power companies will work that way in our kid's time.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!