Joburg mom shares how she reduces energy in her household
By Tracy-Jayne Timberlake
* Turn off the stove plate or oven before the food is completely cooked. The heat retained in the plates and oven lasts for some time so the food keeps cooking even without the use of electricity. Whole chickens and casseroles keep cooking for 20-30 minutes after turning the oven off (if you keep it closed), and if you keep the lids on pots, things on the stove top keep cooking for another 10 minutes, even more, if your stove has solid plates.
* Slow cookers and pressure cookers are energy “sippers” compared to ovens and hobs. I cook beef stew or curry in 20 minutes in my pressure cooker - it takes 3 hours on the stovetop.
* I love my Wonderbag! Rice and lentils only require five minutes on the hob before going into the Wonderbag to keep cooking without any more power. Soups, curries, casseroles, and stews need a little more time, but will still reduce electricity or gas used by at least two thirds. The bags keep food warm for hours too, and so are a very economical alternative to warmer drawers or microwave reheating.
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* Even cheap and homemade solar ovens work in our amazing South African sun! I admit that this is only an option for people at home during the day.
* And if you are home during the day, or have someone who is, invest in a good flask to reduce the number of times you boil the kettle for your tea and coffee.
* With winter approaching, electric blankets use a fraction of the electricity a heater does.
* Insulate geysers. And operate them at high temperatures. This means you use less hot water, so less cold water goes into the geyser requiring heating which uses electricity. Some people disagree and think it’s better to run a geyser cooler. Research and decide for yourself. A hotter, insulated geyser works most efficiently for my household (we haven’t yet invested in a solar geyser).