Photo: Day 7: What does it mean to cook green?

Using a lid is an easy way to save a little energy in the kitchen (Credit: Ollie Crafoord via Flickr)

Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table

Choices about what you eat can make as big a difference for the environment as how you get around. Before reaching for your favorite comfort food this Thanksgiving, join the David Suzuki Foundation for our 11-day challenge, Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table. Starting Oct. 5th, you could win an awesome prize just by sharing your story on Facebook. Plus you'll get helpful eco-advice from me, the Queen of Green.

Answer the daily Facebook question by adding your comment. Don't have a comment to share? Check out the others and vote for your favourite. We're giving out fabulous prizes for the comment with the most "Likes".

The planet doesn't need another fad diet. But how much do you know about where your food comes and the type of impact it's having on the planet? What are you doing to eat more sustainably?

Foodprint: Saving the planet from your kitchen table

When it comes to energy use in your kitchen, refrain from pigging out. Typically, the large appliances — refrigerator, range and dishwasher — hog the spotlight when it comes to conserving energy in the kitchen. But don't stop there.

What does it mean to cook green?

Size is everything

Match the cooking appliance to the job at hand, place big pots on big burners and don't forget the lid. Also consider how you might use smaller appliances; a toaster oven will use less electricity than heating up an entire oven for a small job.

Coast on waste heat

Once you've heated up a burner and your dish is almost cooked, turn off the element and coast on the heat still stored in electric element and pot. Again, the lid can help conserve heat and continue the cooking process.

Cool leftovers

Made enough lunch for the next day? Cool your leftovers to room temperature before you store them in the fridge. Placing a boiling hot container of soup in your cold fridge means you heat up the air inside so it has to work harder to cool everything again.

Plan ahead

Before you get chopping and slicing, think about everything you'll need from inside the fridge. Standing in the doorway of your fridge or freezer gives ample opportunity for perfectly good cold air to escape. Go in once, get all the ingredients you need and put them back inside at the same time.

Refrigerate only what's necessary

If you can't recall the last time you cleaned out your fridge, it's probably time to clean out your fridge. Make sure you're only refrigerating food that truly needs to be in there. Dairy products and most produce are obvious ones, but some condiments or things like vinegar are just taking up space. (Stay tuned for Day 8 on food waste to find out what fruits and veggies should never go in the fridge!)

Wish there was a room-by-room resource to help you save energy (and more) throughout the home? I thought you'd never ask. See more tips for your entire home in Sustainability at Home: A toolkit for decision-making help for your everyday choices.

Tell us how you save energy and the Facebook comment with the most "likes" wins! Prizes are up for grabs include subscriptions to Canadian Living Magazine and a copy of the Joy of Cooking.

How do you save energy in the kitchen?

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

October 11, 2010

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Oct 21, 2015
8:09 AM

Hello! I really enjoyed your article. However I think you might want to correc the last statement regarding only refrigerating what is necessary. There are actually many resources out there that explain how your fridge and freezer are most efficient when full because the food holds temperature better than the open air space. Just want to make sure readers aren’t misinformed.


Oct 11, 2010
9:00 AM

I like the comment about coasting on excess heat. We use peanut butter that doesn’t stay emulsified so by the time we get to the bottom of the jar it’s really thick (all the oil is gone) I put it in a little dish and set it on top of the toaster when making toast — it softens the peanut butter while toasting the bread. I melt butter (rock hard from the fridge) the same way sometimes.

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