10 tips to make your Thanksgiving gathering energy efficient
Turkey, mashed yams and a side of energy savings
Cooler temperatures and the return of everything pumpkin-flavoured means fall must be upon us. And with Thanksgiving just around the corner, we know that it’s also the start of holiday gatherings. But before you bring out your favourite orange sweater or start mashing any potatoes, we’ve got some tips to help you enjoy a tasty meal without a big spike in your electricity bill.
Meal preparation tips
- Lower the thermostat by a couple of degrees before you start your meal prep. Chances are, you’ll be using the stovetop and your oven, and as the oven heats up, the temperature inside your home will heat up too. If you’re hosting dinner guests, having more people in your home will also generate more heat. Keeping the temperature around 18 C will ensure your guests are comfortable and keep your heating costs to a minimum.
- When preheating your oven, time your pre-heat carefully. Five to eight minutes should be enough time. And keep pre-heating for baking; there’s generally no need to preheat for broiling or roasting.
- Avoid peeking. Opening and closing the oven door causes heat to escape and will increase cooking times, so look through the glass of the door instead and set your oven timer. Use tightly fitted lids on pots and pans to help keep the heat in. You’ll be able to keep the temperature setting lower and cook more efficiently.
- Boil liquids using the highest temperature setting. Once it reaches boil, lower the heat and allow the food to simmer until fully cooked.
- Whenever possible, use a microwave or toaster oven. Both use less than half of electricity of your regular oven and cook for a much shorter period of time.
- Consider making side dishes that can be cooked simultaneously with your main dish at one temperature. Your oven will be running for less time overall, making things easier for you and it saves energy, too.
- When possible, mix, mash or stir by hand rather than using an electric mixer. Recruiting help to get the lumps out of the mashed potatoes is also a great way to get kids involved in dinner preparation.
- How about giving your oven a break after the main course and opt for one of these delicious no-bake desserts?
- The second best part of Thanksgiving dinner? Leftovers. Place leftovers in sealed, reusable containers and allow the contents to cool before placing in the fridge. Putting warm food in the fridge causes it to have to work harder to keep cool – increasing your home’s electricity use.
- Scrape plates instead of rinsing and use the dishwasher rather than hand-washing to cut-down on wasted water. Remember to turn off the heat-dry cycle on your dishwasher. Doing so can save up to $37 a year on your bill if you run one load a day.