I’m hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year. I love Thanksgiving. There’s not a lot of pressure to decorate or buy gifts; you just have to sit down with your loved ones for a nice meal.
But making that meal can often use a lot of energy. Avista’s Energy Guide has a lot of tips to cut back on that use, such as letting your leftovers cool before you put them in the refrigerator (although cooked meats should be refrigerated immediately).
Be sure to thaw frozen meats in the refrigerator or in a bath of cold water, before you put them in the oven. Putting frozen roasts in the oven adds about one-third more cooking time.
Another tip I find useful is keeping the oven door closed while you are cooking. Every time you open the door, you lose about 20% of the oven’s heat. Peek through the window, if you have one, or use a timer.
For proper heat circulation, leave about two inches of space between pans in the oven. The pans shouldn’t touch each other or the walls of the oven. If you use ceramic pans, you may be able to lower the temperature of your oven by 25 degrees.
Match the size of your pan to the size of the burner you use, to keep from wasting the burner’s heat. Also, flat-bottom pans receive heat directly.
Burner pans aren’t just for catching crumbs or spills. They are also there to reflect the heat of the burner back onto the pan. Keeping them clean helps this process. Mine had some scorches on them, so I looked up the best way to clean them online. First, I soaked them in hot water for about 10 minutes. I drained the sink and poured some white vinegar on them. After 10 more minutes, I poured baking soda on the tough stains and let them sit before scrubbing them again.
You can also use lids on your stovetop pots to hold in the heat, which cooks your food quicker.
I hope you try some of these tips this holiday season of cooking.
Lisa, an Avista customer, bought her 1910 house because she loved the old-world character, some of which doesn’t make her house very energy efficient. Lisa is sharing her experience on taking some simple do-it-yourself improvements to inspire others to do the same. You’ll find her stories right here every Tuesday morning.