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Save Energy In Your Kitchen

I decided my portable convection oven would spend more time in the kitchen, even if it takes up counter space.

While we waited for oven parts recently, I discovered how “oven dependent” our family was. I brought our portable convection oven and other appliances out of storage.

For dinner the next day, we had bread made in our bread machine, chili simmered in the slow cooker and brownies baked in our portable convection oven.

I did a little background research on the energy use of small appliances compared with full-size appliances and discovered ways to economize on our energy consumption.

Oven-related energy use can be cut by 20 per cent if you use a convection oven instead of a conventional oven. Using a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven can cut energy use by more than 60 per cent.

I decided my portable convection oven would spend more time in the kitchen, even if it takes up counter space.

When it’s time to upgrade our now-repaired oven, I will pay more attention to the labels on appliances, too. The black and white “EnerGuide” label will tell you the estimated energy consumption and yearly operating cost.

Consider these other energy-saving tips:

Keep range-top burners and reflectors clean. They will reflect heat better and save energy.

Match your cooking pots and pans to the burner size. Using a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner wastes more than 40 per cent of the heat produced by the burner.

Use electric pans/griddles or toaster ovens for small meals. A toaster oven uses one-third to one-half the energy of a full-size oven.

Reduce cooking time and energy use by using a pressure cooker or microwave oven.

Cover the pot when you are boiling water for pasta or other foods.

Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator before cooking.

Bake more than one item at a time. For example, bake double portions of food. You can freeze one portion.

Avoid peeking in the oven and losing heat. Turn on the oven light and look in.

– Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, L. R. D., is a North Dakota

State University Extension Service food and nutrition

specialist and associate professor in the department

of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.

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Julie Garden-Robinson is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and professor in the department of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.

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