Monday, 23 September 2013

Cooking up savings

We were talking in the office today about cooking, and how one of our clients had told my colleague she cooks all her veg & potatoes in the same saucepan to cut down on the cost.  It got me to thinking - I'd read something recently about how 4% of the average household energy bill goes on cooking, according to uswitch.  There's loads of tips online on how to reduce your heating costs, and cutting your food bill, but what if we could cut the cost of cooking the food as well?  So I sat down with my pen & paper (I'm OldSkool, you see) and got to thinking.

My steamer, hard at work

  • Use a steamer. Rather than cooking everything in one pan like our client above, use a steamer set. That way you keep more of the goodness in the veg, you can add layers at different times for things that take less time to cook. You also save water, only boiling one pan, and use only one burner instead of three.
  • Use pans with lids.  Lids keep the steam, and therefore the heat, in the pan, so you need less energy to keep the water boiling - and your kitchen is a more pleasant place to be.
  • Use the smallest pan for your needs.  There's no point using a massive soup pan to boil one egg - it takes more water, and more energy to heat.  Small pans boil quicker.
  • Use the right sized burner.  Don't put your tiny pan on the big burner, most of the energy will be wasted heating fresh air, and don't put your big pan on the tiny burner, or you'll be waiting til Christmas.
  • Keep the oven door closed.  Don't peek inside every few minutes, no matter how tempting it is. Your cakes won't rise, and if you're cooking my Never Failed Yorkshire Puddings I will get really cross with you.
  • Bulk cook.  If you've got the oven on for Sunday lunch, why not put pudding in at the same time?  Or a cake for tea?  Or a pie for later in the week?  The oven's on, and it's cheaper to reheat something in the microwave than to cook it from scratch another day.  Use the energy you're already using.
A lot of the people I work with are in fuel poverty - spending more than 10% of their income on heating their home (and as fuel for cooking comes from the same source, naturally that must be included).  Little tips like these can make a big difference - it can mean a family's home is adequately warm for their children, that their children go to school having had a decent night's sleep following a home-cooked meal. Money is tight for everyone at the moment, so maybe these little tips could help you, or someone you know?  I hope so.

This is not a sponsored post, I have not received payment for writing it. I am aware that there are sponsored posts at present on a similar subject, however this post was inspired by a conversation at work, and is not related to those posts. Links are provided for convenience only, I am not a member of any affiliate scheme & will not receive reward for their use.


  1. I desperately want to get a steamer! I never thought of it as a cost-efficient way to cook, but it makes perfect sense that it is. The bonus for me is that you get perfectly cooked veg that isn't a limp, squishy mess. Even bigger thumbs up if they save cash too!

    1. Do it! Mine only cost about a tenner from tesco, and I use it all the time.

  2. I really need to start using my steamer and slow cooker. Fuel poverty is going to affect more and more of us in years to come so we all need to start using energy wisely

    1. I love my slow cooker, it's the best part about summer coming to an end, walking in the house & smelling dinner already for you to eat.

  3. what a good idea I am coming round your for tea

    1. Feel free! You can bring your apple crumble cake for afters!


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