Growing up, our mother tried desperately to teach us how to cook. Back then, even scrambled eggs were a challenge. Now that we're all grown up, we're finally catching on. (Mom's so proud.) Recently, we realized that heeding two of her tips have actually been saving us energy and money. These two stovetop tips can be employed every time you cook, so while they may not do much on their own, their aggregate green value is definitely worth it. Are you ready?
First, remember to cook with the right size pot for the burner you're using. Most stovetops have two sizes, and matching large pots to large burners and small pots to small, you'll save energy. If you put a small pot on a large burner, the exposed coils or flame will push heat into the air... and more importantly (this is why our mom cautioned against it), exposed heat can be dangerous to your hands and arms if you misjudge a movement.
Second, remember to "simmer down now." We're not trying to eliminate any boisterous kitchen dallying, because we're quite fond of that; but remember to turn the heat down once your pot has reached a rolling boil. No need for the coils to continue to glow hot orange; once liquid has hit the boiling point, it takes very little to keep it at that temperature (even if it's not bubbling quite so fiercely).
There you have it: two small but smart ways to save energy every time you cook on the stove.
Originally published 2009-04-07 - CB