A Green Kitchen- Ways To Conserve Cooking Fuel
Every vehicle ad has its fuel efficiency banner on top but we don’t hear much about fuel efficiency at home. Save petrol is the mantra today as the greenest of activity also requires fossil fuels for transportation etc. We are at the peak of fuel curve and will go down only here after .We need to decrease the slope of the curve to get more time of usage. Zero wastage and prudent use will see our grandchildren enjoy a car ride or cooking on a gas stove. This was always told to us but our over consumption had added one more angle to it which is worse- “Pollution”. Seemingly harmless cooking gas at home has a lot of carbon foot print from its extraction to our homes. The lesser we use it the better till green sources of energy become popular for cooking.
Direct fossil fuel usage at home is cooking with gas or kerosene. As other fossil fuels which took millions of years to form cooking gas and kerosene are also limited and we have already used most of it in last 60-70 years. Mothers always tell their children how to save gas like use pressure cooker , close the lid , use shallow and big pan. To give them a scientific backing Petroleum Conservation and Research Association (PCRA )conducted a series of experiments on how to save cooking gas or kerosene. This was done in collaboration with the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (R&D Centre), and the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering & Applied Nutrition, New Delhi. Most of the tips they suggest don’t require more time/effort than usual cooking. I have added my time saving green options along with it. The conclusions of the study with the amount of fuel conserved are-
–Preparation before switching on gas reduces gas wastage which is also quite obvious. A little planning before cooking is needed where everything is at hand and the gas doesn’t burn uselessly while we search the ingredients. Little difficult in today’s rushing lifestyle but can be managed by doing all cutting, grinding, kneading for a week and store. With good quality refrigerators available, storing /freezing is easy.
–Pressure cooking saves fuel 20% on rice, 46% on soaked gram dal and 41.5% on meat, as compared to ordinary cooking. Use of separators to cook different dishes at the same time saves even more fuel. We all have known this for long and practice too.
–Optimal water for cooking, surplus water wastes fuel. Besides, when the excess water is drained subsequently, precious nutrients are lost.
–Reducing the flame when boiling starts leads to saving of 25% fuel. Switching off the flame few minutes before the dish is cooked and keeping it covered for the residual heat to do the remaining cooking is one very good way of saving fuel. For every dish cooked a few minutes of fuel can be saved.
–Shallow, wide vessels save fuel, clean vessels also require less heat to cook. Lid covered vessels don’t allow heat losses to atmosphere.
–Small and clean burner saves fuel. We don’t give much thought about this which can cause quite a lot of wastage.
–Thaw frozen foods before cooking them. Time constrain doesn’t allow us to wait for the food to thaw so I keep frozen food in the coldest section of refrigerator the previous night.
–My favourite –soak grains and cereals before cooking. 250 gms of Kabuli Chana (chick peas) when soaked overnight in water consumed 22% less fuel as compared to the fuel required for the same quantity of unsoaked Kabuli Chana. Similarly rice dal all need to be soaked at least for an hour before cooking. This is a big problem for working people as they have to quickly finish cooking before going to office. This is one fuel saving method which need to be implemented daily. Rest all can be taken care of once in a while. Soaked cereals cook very easily in pressure cooker in less time. What I do is soak an amount of dal, rice needed for the next five days on a weekend. Later I drain it in a sieve and dry it in air. Once dried I put it in sealed container in the coldest section of refrigerator and use it daily.. Some of the pulses can be roasted after drying and kept. Time and fuel both saved.
-Looking for one pot meal ideas like our national dish “Khichdi” , nutritionally balanced and a fuel saver.
–Utilizing the steam –When its required to boil whole vegetables or eggs one can use a metal mesh cover and steam something else in the same energy consumed. *
Many such ways are there to save cooking gas and avoid environmental pollution.
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