At the moment we do not have any way to produce our own green energy. So for now we are working on ways to reduce the amount of energy we need in our home. As far as I'm concerned, when we do get around to providing our own renewable energy it will be a lot easier if we only have to produce half of what we currently use. So here is my tip for now. I think it's a great one and would love other people to try it and see how they get on.
We have an electric cooker, which is fairly irritating because it takes ages to heat up the rings and then they take ages to cool down again, but we are used to it now. I read in an on-line book that you can put a towel on top of your pot lid in order to keep in some of the heat that has been supplied to whatever you are cooking. If you get things to come to the desired temperature and then switch them off but make sure you keep in the heat, your pasta or vegetables will cook away just fine in pretty much the same time as when you are not conserving the heat.
This of course makes perfect sense when you think about it. If your water is an 100 degrees Centigrade and you can keep it that way then there is no reason to add any more heat.
So, I tried this and it actually works really well. I've made some special mohair blankets for two of our pots. I make them just big enough to over hang slightly but obviously they are well away from the source of heat. I put them on as soon as I start cooking and wait till the food gets up to the desired temperature. Then I switch off the heat completely. I will have a look after about 5 minutes and make sure the food is still hot enough and generally it is.
Now I can cook porridge with about 2 minutes of electricity in stead of at least 15. I can cook a huge pot of rice pudding with about 10 minutes of using a small ring instead of putting it in the oven for three hours. What I do here is put it on till it is almost boiling...this takes about 7 minutes. Then I leave it for about an hour, stirring it occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom. Then I put on the ring again for about 2 minutes. Because the rice is still very warm it doesn't take long to heat it up again. I might do this once more for about a minute, depending on how the rice is getting on.
Obviously the pot will loose some heat, but it is hugely reduced by putting something insulating on the top, where most of the heat will leave from. I have done this with pasta and it seems fine to me although my Italian friend claimed that it wasn't good because the pasta water should always be boiling when it is cooking. I couldn't tell the difference between when she made it and when I made it so I think there is something psychological going on here ;)
Now I've made a tea pot cosy and 2 cup cosies so we can let our herbal teas have a good long soak without them cooling down and needing a hot top up. I am also thinking of making some sort of cosy for the kettle. As I think of other things to wrap in mohair I will keep you informed.
Here is one that I tried yesterday morning as I wanted to keep Chris's eggs warm...
Have a go and please let me know how you get on and remember not to let the insulating stuff reach anywhere near the source of heat.....I would like to calculated how much energy would be saved in 10 people did this on a regular basis...