Cooking over a hot stove when temperatures outside are nearing 100 degrees is anything but comfortable. Using your oven adds unnecessary heat to your home, and makes it harder for your air conditioner to keep you cool. When temperatures are hot, stay cool with these tips for summer meals.
Use an outdoor grill
Firing up your grill is a great idea to help save you energy and money. Before you begin cooking, make sure you have everything you need to avoid making trips in and out of your home. If you’re planning to entertain, read our tips for an energy-efficient summer patio party.
Choose no-cook meals
Cool, nutritious foods are delicious and refreshing on hot summer days. Easy no-cook meals include all kinds of sandwiches, wraps, and salads. Serve chips, yogurt, nuts, or any fresh or canned fruits and vegetables as a side. Breakfast foods can include no-cook cereals and grains.
Try a slow cooker or microwave
Slow cookers use significantly less energy than a stove or your oven. They also give off less heat, which will help keep your home cool. If you need to reheat something, use your microwave — it uses 80% less energy to reheat food than a standard oven.
Hot meal tips
If you’re craving a hot meal or must use your oven, prepare your food during non-peak times and reheat when you’re ready to eat. Avoid cooking during Power Rush Hour from 3-7 p.m. The following tips can also help you conserve energy and minimize heat.
Assess your cookware
If you absolutely need to cook indoors, check the condition of your pots and pans. Be sure the bottoms of your pots and pans are flat. A damaged pot can take 50% more energy to boil water than one with a flat bottom. Pans with a copper bottom are most efficient. Copper conducts energy very quickly and heats up your food faster than stainless steel or other pans. In the oven, glass or ceramic dishes are more efficient than metal — and can help you cook at a lower oven temperature to limit the heat inside your home.
Keep your oven door closed
Opening your oven, even once while you’re cooking, can drop the temperature inside your oven by 25 degrees. Try to keep it shut to minimize the time it takes you to cook your meal, and only open it when you’re sure you’re finished cooking. A timer and an oven light can help determine when your meal is ready.