Thanksgiving energy savers

While it can seem impossible to save energy on of the most hectic cooking days of the year, what with the oven on seemingly all day and all four burners fired-up with a jigsaw of pots bubbling away.

However, there are a few smart, energy efficient — and yes, time efficient — things you can do this Thanksgiving.

The pie needs to be baked, the bird needs to be roasted and veggies need some time to cook. What to do?

Before you buy, think. Think about the food you’ll be serving your family. Organic, locally grown produce takes less energy getting from the farm to your dinner table and ensures fresher ingredients.

Stuff that oven. Just remember to time your dishes appropriately. If the bird takes three to four hours to cook, the sweet potatoes only 45 minutes and the stuffing about the same, then an hour before the turkey comes out, pop in the other two. Get creative with the shapes of your pans so everything fits (just makes sure everything is oven-safe). This will reduce overall cooking time and you won’t be hovering over the oven all day.

The microwave is your friend – not only to save energy, but also to save time…and maybe your sanity. Carrots, potatoes and other veggies can easily cook in the microwave; using less energy than if you roasted those veggies in the oven.

Shut the door. When the pie is bubbling away in the oven after dinner, resist the temptation to open the oven. I know it’s hard, but if you know what to look for when gauging the readiness of a pie, you won’t have to open the oven until your ready to dig in. By keeping the heat inside your oven, it allows the appliance to do its job properly and more efficiently and reduces cooking time.

Reuse cooking water. If you boiled your veggies, – in the microwave- don’t throw out the cooking water. Save it and use it to prepare another dish. Just about all water used to cook one vegetable can be used to cook another.

Scrape, don’t rinse. When the meals over and bellies are full, all that’s left to do is the dishes. Grab your composter and scrape, don’t rinse, compostable waste from the dishes into the compost bin. Scrap the rest into the garbage. By rinsing as little as possible, you’ll be reducing your water consumption.


Photo credit: Flickr John-Morgan