Serious Green: Save Energy with Hypercooking

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[Photograph: theogeo on Flickr]

20090922-big-green-cookbooker.jpgThings are about to get competitive in the kitchen and it's not a Top Chef Quickfire challenge. It's time to start hypercooking.

Hypercooking is defined by The Food Section as "an environmentally conscious way of cooking that seeks to maximize the impact of the energy used during the cooking process."

Hypercooking is the kitchen version of hypermiling, in which drivers change they way they drive and use specific techniques to go as far as possible on a gallon of gas.

In the Big Green Cookbook Jackie Newgent offers hypercooking tips and recipes, such as one for cookies that finish baking in the residual heat of the oven.

Try these tips, after the jump, to save energy and maximize every last bit of energy you use.

Skip Preheating

OK, maybe not with a cake or a soufflé, but other dishes such as casseroles or baked pastas will be fine starting out in a cold oven. Think of all the energy you're missing out on every time you let your oven preheat with nothing in it.

Turn the Oven Off Before the Dish Is Done

It takes a long time for an oven to cool down. Take advantage of that residual heat by letting your dish finish cooking in it.

Green-Grill It

Same idea as above. Turn the grill off and let those veggies finish cooking over the dying flames.

Don't Use an Oven

Instead of an oven or other large appliance, use a smaller, more efficient toaster oven, pressure cooker, slow cooker or rice cooker. Hey, it worked for Evan Kleiman.

Get Creative

Take advantage of the hot steam coming off a pot of boiling water for pasta. Put a glass bowl with your sauce ingredients over the pot, as the pasta cooks, the ingredients will warm up and melt. Instead of dumping that boiling water pasta water down the drain, use it to heat your serving bowl.

Turn Things Off

When you're done cooking and eating, make sure you're still not using energy. Corral small appliances like the toaster, coffee grinder, and phone charger all onto one power strip. This will allow you to cut down on vampire power. Electronics that are plugged in, even if they are off, still suck power from the electric grid. Just flip one button off when you leave and you will have cut off the flow to all of your hungry units.

Related: Serious Green: Ten Cheap & Green Kitchen Tips

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