In case you threw away all those energy-saving tips that were offered during the gasoline shortage in the fall of 1974, thinking that the shortage would go away, here's an opportunity to refresh your memory.
The number of BTUs and kilowatts saved by these kitchen economies is not dramatic on an individual basis. But put them together with similar household, and the figures can be significant.
Most of these suggestions require no additional effort on the cook's part, just a little advance thought.
Prepare double recipes of soups. stews, spaghetti sauces, etc. Then freeze half for future use.
Whenever possible, thaw food before cooking it.
Cover suacepans whenever possible. Foods cook faster; water boils more quickly. Be sure pots have tight-fitting lids.
Foods cooked in shallow baking dishes and in covered casseroles cook more quickly.
Make sure the pilot light on a gas stove is adjusted properly, or you may be using more fuel than necessary.
Melt butter over pilot light on gas stoves.
Cut-up foods cook more quickly, whether it's chicken parts instead of a whole chicken, or cauliflowerettes instead of a whole head of cauliflower.
Utensils make a difference in cooking times. Heavy glass is not as good a conductor of heat as metal so that dishes require longer cooking.
Divide skillets with foil inserts and prepare several foods at the same time.
Fit the pan to the burner for maximum efficiency. Do not let the gas flame or heated part of the electric element extend beyond the size of the pan diameter. On the other hand, the pan should not extend more than an inch beyond the burner.
Either bake potatoes in a covered coffee can on insulated pad on top of the stove or halve potatoes lengthwise and bake, cut side down, in lightly oiled pan in the oven. Metal skewers put through the center of a whole potato also shorten baking time.
Make individual meatloaves in muffin tins or spread mixture in shallow pie plate. At 350 degrees muffin tin meatloaves take about 20 minutes, pie-plate versions about 30-35 minutes, instead of the 55-60 minutes a full-size loaf pan requires.
Plan more oven meals that cook the vegetable and dessert at the same time and temperature as the main dish. Frozen vegetables can cook in a tightly covered casserole at 350 degrees in 40 to 45 minutes for small pieces; 50 to 60 minutes for larger pieces such as broccolin spears.
The oven does not need preheating for casseroles, stewed meats, etc. When preheating the oven for baked goods, such as bread and cakes, watch the automatic light on electric stove and place food in as soon as light goes off. In gas stove, do not preheat oven more than 10 minutes. Do not preheat broiler unless recipe so specifies.
Avoid oven peeping. Each time you open the oven door, you lose 20 per cent of the heat.
When oven is turned off, use stored heat to rewarm leftovers, placing food in shallow pan to reheat it more evenly and quickly.
Dust off the pressure cooker to reduce cooking time by about two-thirds.