Save energy at Thanksgiving

Six ways to cook up energy savings this Thanksgiving

'Here are six ways you may not have thought of to ensure your turkey looks as good as your energy bill,' writes Adam Dixon.

As we dive into the fall season, planning for Thanksgiving is top of mind for many.

Holidays like this are about spending time with friends and family, but if we’re being honest, it’s about the food too. If you'll be hosting over the holidays or cooking up a storm, here are six ways you may not have thought of to ensure your turkey looks as good as your energy bill.

Want to save energy this Thanksgiving? Bag your turkey before cooking, and put your kettle to work boiling water for your vegetables.


1. Bag the bird

Try making your turkey in an oven safe plastic bag this Thanksgiving. The bag does a great job at locking in juices and flavour, and it reduces the cook time by at least five minutes per pound.


2. Try a no-bake recipe

Since you’ll be busy roasting your turkey to perfection, opt for a no-fuss, no-bake dessert recipe. It still has all that homemade love, while putting less stress on your oven. It’s also typically easy to put together and can be stored in the fridge if made ahead of time.


3. Put other appliances to work

Save time and energy by using a kettle to boil water for stovetop dishes like pasta or vegetables. A 1000W kettle can boil a few cups of water in a couple minutes compared to your stovetop, which would take up to 10 minutes to boil the same amount. Also consider using the microwave to cook whenever possible. For example, when you’re melting butter or making gravy.


4. Break it down

Smaller pieces of food cook faster because heat can be exchanged more efficiently when there is a larger surface area. While you may want to keep your meats intact so that your bird doesn’t dry out, consider this tip for preparing potatoes, corn and vegetables.


5. Use the right baking dish

Glass and ceramic dishes retain heat better than metal, allowing you to reduce the oven temperature by 25°F less than what the recipe calls for. They also distribute heat more evenly and stay hot longer. Thanksgiving classics like scalloped potatoes or roasted brussels sprouts are great sides to make this way.


6. Trust your dishwasher

Dishwasher technology has made strides in the last couple of years. In fact, an Energy Star-certified model will save nearly 4,000 gallons of water on average over its lifetime. Whether you’ve been using it as a dish rack or storage for other items, it’s time to skip handwashing and load up your dishwasher with your guests’ dishes, as well as pots and pans from prep.

Don’t forget to set the mood for your dinner with some energy-efficient lighting. LED bulbs use approximately 70 to 90 per cent less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and they last much longer. LED candelabra bulbs are also available for the chandelier above your dining table. You can also invest in dimmers to create the perfect ambience.

Adam Dixon is an energy-efficiency adviser with KnowEnergy and contracted by the Independent Electricity System Operator’s Save on Energy program. At the heart of Ontario’s power system, the IESO delivers key services and programs for homes and businesses.