April showers bring May flowers.
While this is true, especially with the Tulip Fest in full bloom, May has also come to signify the unofficial start of summer starting with the Victoria Day long weekend.
From family barbecues to camping and cottaging, there are lots of opportunities to entertain but as the weather gets hotter, who wants to spend time over a hot stove?
If you’re looking for energy-saving ways to keep your kitchen cool this summer or are in need of some fresh recipe ideas for small appliances, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s start with the basics.
Just like every kitchen should be well stocked with pantry essentials that suit your family’s taste - think salt, spices, oils, vinegar, flour, sweeteners, rice, pasta, etc. - your cooking appliances should also match your lifestyle and efficiency needs.
Household appliances (i.e. refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers) can account for up to 14 per cent of the total energy usage for the average Canadian home.
Not sure how your appliances rank? Check out the Government of Canada’s energy performance rating and labelling program EnerGuide.
This program allows you to quickly compare:
- The annual energy consumption of the model in kilowatt hours (kWh) - look for the lowest number possible;
- How this appliance compares to other more efficient or less efficient models in the same class;
- The type and capacity of models that make up this class of models; and
- The model number for this particular appliance.
Reach for the ENERGY STAR®
If the appliance meets or exceeds the high efficiency standards of the ENERGY STAR® Canada initiative, the ENERGY STAR® symbol will appear directly under the EnerGuide label.
Typically, an ENERGY STAR® qualified product is in the top 15 to 30 per cent of its class for energy performance.
According to Natural Resources Canada, there are more than 80 types of products eligible for ENERGY STAR® certification in Canada. When it comes to these eligible products, appliances are a great place to make a significant impact on your home energy usage.
Good things come in small packages
Don’t underestimate small-appliances as cooking with them uses up to 75 per cent less energy than cooking the same meal with your oven or stovetop. Not to mention it can also save you precious time.
For instance, the humble electric kettle uses 50 per cent less electricity than the stovetop kettle.
Microwaves can use up to 80 per cent less electricity than a conventional oven and they’re no longer used to just warm leftovers. If you’re looking for dessert inspiration, Canada’s own Chef Ricardo offers these microwavable recipes: chocolate cake, blueberry pudding cake, and apple crumble.
With the latest generation of slow cookers, pressure cookers, insta pots, air fryers, toaster ovens and blenders, you can now cook or bake just about anything on a smaller scale using only half the wattage and reducing your electricity bills.
Slow cookers have been around since the 1940s, having been introduced after World War II, as more women began to work outside the home. Known for slow-cooking to really bring out the flavour - picture stews, ribs and pulled pork - a slow cooker on for six hours uses 60 per cent less electricity than an electric oven on for one hour.
Pressure cookers use up to 70 per cent less energy than a stove since it combines high pressure and high heat to dramatically reduce cooking times, saving you as much as two-thirds the time it takes to cook with a conventional stove so you can get back to what you’re rather be doing on a lazy, hazy summer day.
Feeling adventurous? Try out this pressure cooker sticky toffee pudding or air fryer dulce de leche brownies.
Technology has come a long way and we encourage you to visit our friends at BC Hydro who offer an excellent primer on the breakdown of small appliance usage and offer up small appliance cool summer recipes and some healthy ones too.
For the ultimate cool summer treat that you can indulge in without feeling guilty, try the Dairy Farmers of Canada frozen yogurt bark, it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Looking for other ways to manage energy use for larger appliances, electronics, pools and lighting this summer? Our Tips and Tools section has just what you need. Read more.