Delicious Cooking Methods for the Eco-Cook

Using a lid can reduce consumption by up to 50%!

Conscientious use of kitchen equipment has been estimated to reduce restaurant energy consumption by up to 7% (The Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance Center.)

Small changes in the way prep and cooking is done in a restaurant can make a big difference in the amount of energy consumed. For example, leaving the lids open on prep bins can increase the energy consumption needed to keep them hot or cold by up to 50% (fypower.org)

Putting lids on pots and pans while cooking reduces the amount of energy needed for cooking. This is especially important while boiling water: using a lid can reduce consumption by up to 50% (EPA.)  It is not necessary to turn up the flame beyond the diameter of the pot, since the flame will be used to heat up the air surrounding the pot base, rather than the contents inside. Lower heat settings in general use less energy. Pots and pans should be roughly @1inch larger in diameter than the range burner (Food Service Technology Center.)

Using glass or ceramic pans will allow you to cook foods at an oven temperature 25 degrees lower than cooking in metal pans (APS.) Cooks can turn off electric burners a few minutes before cooking time is done.
Selecting appliances that use less energy than others can also reduce energy use. Alternatives to energy intensive broilers and ovens include electric frypans, woks, and slow cookers. Pressure cookers reduce the time and energy needed to cook, on average by two thirds. (fypower.org.)  Microwaves have a cooking efficiency of 57.5% as compared to a standard electric oven, with 12-14% cooking efficiency (Arizona Public Service.)
Overloading the fryer baskets, beyond one-half to two-thirds full, actually prolongs the cooking time(fypower.org) of your order. No need to turn up the fryer temperature either-operating fryers higher than 325-350º is less efficient and does not speed cooking (EPA.)
Broilers and ovens actually operate more efficiently when fully loaded. If you can heat multiple plates at a time, especially if you are just melting cheese, you will consume less energy.Use combi-modes sparingly on combination ovens and steamers, as it nearly doubles energy use of convection mode.

Posana "preheats" pans on metal shelf above range

Putting your kitchen appliances on a start up and shut down schedule to reduce the time they are left on while not cooking any food can reduce your operating costs dramatically (EPA.) This includes:

  • turning on appliances no longer than necessary before the shift starts
  • reducing pre-heating times to no more than 15-20 minutes
  • turning off appliances during idle times, if possible
  • setting temperatures no higher than needed, and turning down temperatures during idle times, if possible
  • turning off unused sections of broilers, ovens, steamers
  • turning the power off on dishwashers at closing