It’s easy to forget that ovens are energy-hogs. Ever pre-heat for longer than necessary? Or can’t resist opening the door to peek in on your baked goods (completely guilty). And since there are no Energy Star qualified residential ovens available today, you’ll have to take matters into your own hands in order to minimize energy expenditure. Myra Goodman’s new The Earthbound Cook offers up these tips (in addition to delicious recipes) to help use your oven efficiently:
• Buy an oven thermometer. The one built into your oven may not be accurate, the actual temperature may be higher than the oven control indicates.
• If you have a double oven, use the smaller oven if the dish fits. Save the larger oven for the multiple pans or large items.
• For small items that need baking or reheating, use a countertop oven, such as a toaster oven. These appliances preheat faster and have a lower output of watts.
• The longer an oven is turned on but not used, the more energy it wastes. Start preheating the oven just 10 to 15 minutes before you need to use it.
• Look for ways to maximize the use of your oven. Instead of cooking one dish at a time, if you’re baking an entrée, choose a vegetable or potato you can cook at the same time.
• Resist peeking: Opening the oven door drops the temperature by at least 25˚F, and the oven has to switch back on again to replace it.
• If you have a convection feature on your oven, it uses 20 percent less energy than a standard electric oven and has a shorter warm-up time.
• Self-cleaning ovens are more energy efficient than standard ovens because of their thicker insulation. This means they lose less heat to the surrounding air. If you have a self-cleaning model, don’t clean it too often: this is the most energy draining of the oven’s functions.