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Real Energy-Saving Small Appliances

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Posted on : 10:49 AM | By : Nic | In :


We've become very picky about our small (and large appliances).  We don't use a microwave for health reasons, but a microwave is actually very energy-efficient compared to using the stove all the time.  However, you can still have a green kitchen and use a few key small appliances.


1.  Use a toaster and toaster oven.  We have a vintage chrome Sunbeam T-20 toaster (see above) from 1949 that is by far the best toaster EVER.  You drop your bread into the first slot and it automatically goes down, slowly (no scares) ejecting perfect toast every time.  There are no levers or buttons - it just sucks in the toast and never makes a mistake.  Toaster ovens are also a very green appliance, using 1/3 the power of an oven to bake small things.  

2. Rice cookers use less energy than a stove and make perfect rice every time.  It's important to get one with a stainless steel bowl rather than aluminum, and that the heating elements are separate from the water.  Also, use it to steam other foods while you cook the rice and be even more efficient.

3. Bread machines also use much less wattage than an oven, and because they are self-contained there is no heat loss.  Some people find that if they mix the dough in the machine and then bake in the oven they get a better loaf, but you save so much energy baking in the machine.  Paying a bit more for a better machine is worth it in this respect.

4.  Food dehydrators.  This was tricky - there are plenty of marvelous designs for solar dehydrators, but I live in a very moist temperature jungle/ocean climate.  Things never truly dry out.   It's also better to use an electric dehydrator than your oven.  They use about the same wattage as a bread maker and I think in the long run they save the world on the plastic of the food packaging you would have bought instead of drying your own foods.

Those are the only small electric appliances I have been able to justify in my home.  But, there are a couple non-electric alternatives to do many of the jobs of all those other kitchen gadgets:

1. It slices, dices and shreds!  Get a hand-cranked food processor. Or, if you just want to make puree and you don't want the plastic of the food processor, there is also a stainless steel food mill.

2. A French press is a non-electric alternative to the coffee pot.  You boil water like you would for tea and press it in the French press.  I haven't used one, not being a coffee drinker, but having a coffee maker plugged in and running a digital clock isn't energy efficient.

Comments (1)

We don't use many electric gadgets either (just a toaster and a coffeemaker), but I have been yearning for a food processor for years. (Can one "yearn" for an appliance? Yes, if she's a housewife. lol) Have you ever used, or know anyone who has, the hand-cranked one you linked? I'm intrigued...