Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 206 of our Green Year: The Slowcooker

I enjoy cooking and am always experimenting with recipes, especially considering we now eat primarily vegetarian dinners, and cold dinners on occasion. When we got to the ranch, we found out that there was a slow cooker available to use. However, I had been under the impression that the slow cooker was not as good for the environment as the stove and oven, so I never used it. That was until I read some articles and found out that the slow cooker is actually a very good thing for the environment when you are cooking something that needs to be cooked within a oven and stove. As a result, here at the ranch we will use the slow cooker when we used to use the oven and stove.

Slow cookers do not use very much energy at all when compared to a stove. A stove can account for 10 percent of all the energy consumption of a home, and the heating ring on stoves can lose large amounts of energy, especially when a pot or pan is not fit right for the element (large to small, small to large). We already make sure we cook on the stove efficiently, but it looks like the slow cooker is more efficient.

While the stove cooks at 350 F to 400 F usually, the slow cooker cooks at 200 F. Also, it does not lose energy into the air because the energy is distributed efficiently throughout it due to the ceramic and metal the pot is made out of. Even after using a slow cooker for seven hours, it will only consume .7 kilowatts of power. Much less than a stove.

When we get a new energy efficient and Energy Star stove, it may be a different story, but until then, we will use the slow cooker as much as possible for recipes that call for that type of cooking.