Ways To Save Cooking Fuel
Posted On November 17, 2015
Nepal is facing huge crisis of cooking gas now due to the reason of disturbance in the border area as well as the denial of IOC to provide the sufficient amount of gasoline products as requested by NOC. We Nepalese have been struggling to manage our daily life. We are not sure for how long the situation will prevail. We know it will take very long to make alternative arrangements from the government side and even if they rush, it will take some more weeks to have the situation a normal one.
Let’s have a look how we can prolong the availability of LPG which we already have in our houses. In everyday use, there are two basic principles for conserving energy: Donot heat larger quantities than you need to, and donot heat things longer than they need to be heated. In the current situation of running at low on fuel, you can then embrace a third principle: Choose the most energy-efficient menu, cooking method and even alternative energy source like electricity.
Here are some ways to conserve cooking fuel. While LPG seems to be the most common cooking fuel in urban areas, but the concept of conserving cooking fuel equally works for other sources of energy used for cooking.
Use dry utensils: Wipe utensils dry before placing them on the burner. A minute or two of gas that will be needed to evaporate excess water can be saved. Added together the saving would be substantial.
Be prepared: Before commencing actual cooking, always ensure your ingredients are prepared as much as possible before turning on the heat.
Plan ahead: Is it possible to combine the cooking of items for multiple meals? Even if you have to reheat the leftovers, this technique will use less gas than starting from scratch both times. For example, if you’re having rice for dinner and plan to have a rice salad for lunch tomorrow, cook the rice all at once.
In the raw: Add on some dishes like salads which do not require cooking and still provide you complete nutrients. There are some of the leafy vegetables which tastes better and are full of nutrients when are just half done.
Try one-pot cooking: General Nepalese household is fond of rice based meal (Daal Bhat) and we do not need much variety in the menu to satisfy our stomach apart from the exceptional case. But, at this present scenario of scarcity of fuel, we can forgo the variety and yet get fully nourishing great peasant meals which only take one burner to cook, khichdi, jaulo, biryani, etc. The use of pressure cooker is always fuel saving. More over the habit of turning off the burner just before the food is cooked completely allows the heat in the pot, pan or the pressure cooker to continue the cooking process.
Choose the right size: If you can see the heating element or the gas flame is licking a little on the side of the pot or pan, it’s too small and much of the heat is being wasted.
Cover pans: Covering pans keeps the heat in the pan, cooking the food. It is estimated that covered pans consume less than half the energy of uncovered ones. If a pan doesn’t have a lid, you can always use a piece of aluminum foil (if available in your kitchen) or a heat-proof plate. Cooking using covering pan also helps to maintain the nourishment than the open pan.
Hot stuff: Not ready to eat just yet? Instead of having the stove top going to keep it warm, wrap the pot up in a towel – this will help insulate it for quite a while. While cooking too, you can use this method. If you are using pressure cooker, then turn off the gas far ahead of normal cooking time, let it not loose the pressure, wrap it up in a towel. This would give you about 50% of fuel saving to cook the same food.
Measure water/oil: Not heating more water/oil than you need also saves fuel usage. Understand the recipe and use the recommended amount of liquid and fat.If water needs to be boiled for beverages multiple times a day, use a thermo flask instead.
Use of Microwave: Use microwave to semi cook vegetables/meat and then transfer it to pan on the burner. This way cooking is faster and energy efficient.
Bulk cooking: Prepare more food than you plan to use and refrigerate it. You can use microwave oven to reheat it just before consumption. As the winter is approaching in Nepal, there might not be the need of refrigerating the cooked food item. But be sure to check the temperature in the environment. We all know, the leftovers take less energy to reheat in case we do not have a microwave oven in our homes.
Use a whistling teakettle: It’s easy to put a pan of water on to boil and then get sidetracked while the water merrily boils away. A whistling teakettle lets you know when the water is ready so you can turn the burner off right away.
Use a timer: A timer reminds you to turn the heat down or take things off the fire. Just as with the teakettle, it’s easy to forget something and let it cook longer than intended. For example, if something needs to be cooked 10 minutes and you let it go 11 minutes, you’ve wasted 10 percent more fuel. I wear a wristwatch with a timer, but I know many cruising sailors don’t like to wear a watch. If that’s you, a timer with a very loud buzzer that can be heard everywhere around your house is a good option.
Use of common sense: Once the cookware gets sufficiently heated up, put the burner on medium or slow mode as the amount of heat required to cook is less than what is needed to keep it up heated at high temperature. Also, food cooked on low flame tends to have better nutritional value.
Keep hot water in a thermos: It is always good to keep extra hot water in a good vacuum-seal bottle. A high-quality stainless-steel thermo flasks with thick walls can keep water near boiling for hours. Even if you need it to be freshly boiling later, it will take a lot less gas to raise the temperature if the water starts out hot from the thermos.
Turn the stove off early: Pans retain a lot of heat even after the stove is turned off, particularly when there are lids on them. Pasta and rice can usually be turned off a few minutes before they’re fully ready. Oatmeal (instant or old-fashioned) just needs to be brought to a boil;it can then be turned off and left to sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
If you start implementing all these things in your daily life, not only your save your LPG or other alternative energies, but also your money. The best part of cooking using these tips are the nutrition content it saves in your food.
Happy Cooking and Merrier Eating.