What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Blog Archive

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

cooking efficiently

It's 5 am, 66º and foggy here in Hickory. Thunderstorms are forecast but they were forecast yesterday and we didn't get any rain, I think I'll have to water the gardens this morning. My water barrels are almost empty from all the extra washing I did yesterday, I was expecting rain to quickly refill them, maybe today.

I've made my first cup of tea this morning and I pondered the system Jacqui has set up in the kitchen. She prefills the kettle with non refridgerated filtered water. This is just the right amount for her and my morning cuppa. She also prefills the stainless vacuum flask next to the stove. So when the first kettle boils, I pour the cup and turn down the burner to it's lowest setting, we have a gas stove, while I refill the kettle  from the flask. Turn the burner back up and put the kettle on  again. When it boils I fill the flask and pour Jacq's tea. The water in the flask is used to make more tea later in the morning. In this way we only use one match to light the burner for all the tea of the morning. Also, some portion of the heat energy of the burner goes to heat up the stovetop itself, the kettle and some is lost in the lighting process. Our routine means this only happens once thus saving gas. It is a small saving but lots of small savings add up to significant savings.

There are other ways to make your stove more efficient when cooking with gas; use large flat bottomed pans and kettles to keep the heat under the pan. Round bottom pots and pans let the heat disperse along the sides instead of rise up through the item you are cooking. This allows you to use a lower setting on your burner. The larger the pan the more heat you will force to rise up through the food before it escapes along the sides. Of course, use lids on your cookery. Try not to be in a hurry, use medium to low settings when possible, more flame means more heat escapes.

We also try not to cook in the hottest part of the day. We close up the house when it starts to get hot to keep the cool in and the hot out. The last thing we want to do is to heat up the house and to fill it with the waste gases from natural gas combustion while it is closed up. If you use air conditioning it has to work harder to cool down the house from all that cooking and may not be properly ventilating the kitchen. Be sure to use your extractor fan as those waste gases are not good for you.


Kate said...

Kathy at the Just In Case blog mentioned that she heats water once in the morning and then stores what she doesn't need immediately in a large thermos. I'm not that disciplined (yet). But I've switched over to chilled sun tea, probably for the duration of the summer, for my morning cuppa. So for this season at least, it's less of an issue.

Loved your rocker-washer, by the way.

C Robb said...

Thanks for the comment Kate,
I agree sun tea is the way to go in the summer but I don't think I'll ever get my English wife to give up her "nice cuppa tea". I have to admit I have become rather addicted to it as well, even on a hot day!
Thanks for the support on the autorockawasher 5000, the autorockawasher 5001 is due within the month. The R&D department is working on it as I write, highly secretive stuff, top level.