Gas Burners: Energy Saving Tips

See Part I:Gas Burner: Introduction

Tips for using a gas burner efficiently:

Choosing a pot:

  1. Choose the right pot for the task. Deep pots are best for liquids like soups and noodles, while shallow pans are better for frying or making casseroles. Liquids evaporate more quickly in a shallow pan. Deep pots ensure that food won’t boil over.
  2. Choose a sturdy pot with a heavy bottom. Aluminum is inexpensive but does not retain heat well, and
  3. Choose the right size burner for the pot. If the flames are licking up the side of the pot choose a smaller burner.

Cooking on your gas burner:

  1. Before frying, add a thin layer of oil (a silicon brush is useful) or cooking spray to the pan. Check for the right temperature by putting a drop of water to the pan to see if it spatters. Then add your food.
  2. Boil liquids with the cover on to save time and energy. My mother always boiled water and reheated soups uncovered, and I never asked her why. I know that leaving tap water overnight lets chlorine evaporate and this may have had something to do with it.
  3. When cooking vegetables, soups, and rice heat the liquid and contents to boiling.
  4. Then cover with a well-fitting lid and lower the gas to a simmer.
  5. Move the pot to a smaller burner if you can, checking that the smaller flame is hot enough to keep the food simmering (with small bubbles).
  6. Count cooking time from the time the liquid boils. Set a timer for the suggested time. When the timer rings, check for doneness. If it’s not done set the timer again for as long as you think it might need.
  7. Stir thick soups and sauces frequently to avoid scorching.

More Tips:

  1. Beware of drafts. When my kitchen windows are open the water in my largest pot doesn’t boil. The flame can go out too.
  2. Experiment with cooking pasta in less water. This saves both water and gas. You may need to stir more frequently.
  3. Use a pressure cooker to cut cooking times substantially.
  4. Don’t let dirt block the gas.
  5. Be careful after turning off the burner; it’s still quite hot.

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Comments

  1. Katherine says:

    another thing – when you clean the stovetop, turn on and check all the burners to make sure they are burning cleanly – they can get misaligned from cleaning, and then it is difficult to sort it out once they’re already hot.

  2. Safranit says:

    Here is a great article about pasta with less water: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/dining/25curi.html

  3. Katherine, thanks, good point.
    Safranit, Thanks. What I wrote was a one-page summary of that article, also based on my positive experience.

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