Cooking rice: save some energy

Discussion in 'Emissions' started by BailOut, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    I can't believe I never noticed this before but tonight I realized that different types of rice require different cooking times. For example, long grain brown rice takes 35-40 minutes to cook while basmati white rice only takes 20 minutes. In our case both are organic products so no pre-processing has taken place which might skew the cooking times.

    Simmering a pot of liquid on a stove burner requires a large handful of energy, and halving the cooking time nearly halves that energy requirement.

    One may think, "This won't make a big difference.", but it certainly does. The month we started cooking at home more and making enough to have leftovers for lunches and such our combined power bill went up by $40. Almost all of that was on the stove top as we baked little at that time.

    Let's also remember that Natural Gas, like oil, is a finite resource so conservation is essential.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2008
  2. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    Also, as far as energy requirements go, microwave~NG. Electric stovetops=$$$.
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Brian:

    ___In the winter, could it not be said that the stove top also heats the home as a secondary benefit? A burning gas from the stovetop is heat released entirely into the kitchen vs. a gas furnace with its less than 100% efficiency?

    ___In the summer, the short cook time rice sounds like the exact ticket and yet another one of your own “thinking outside the box” moments!

    ___Good Luck

  4. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    People like me who keep a pot of water going on their woodstove all winter don't notice much energy use difference from throwing a little rice in it. I'm guessing that the net winter power costs of cooking at home are quite small once you count the benefit of the "waste" heat. That's why I mainly brew beer in the winter.:Banane35:
  5. rweatherford

    rweatherford Times my Mileage by Six

    So how does the cook time vary with the actual nutritional value of the rice? Does it take less time for rice with less calories? Could you get away with less amount of one type of rice to get the same nutritional value and lower the energy use to cook.

    That might keep you busy while I eat a hamburger. ;)
  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Rex:

    ___After the GHG Cheeseburger emissions thread today, you suck :D :D :D

    ___Good Luck

  7. friedlbug

    friedlbug Well-Known Member

    You brew indoors, too? I have one of the few gas stoves I've ever seen capable of 6 gal full boils.
  8. tarabell

    tarabell Well-Known Member

    It's not just the input, but the benefit received that counts too. Don't discount which rice may provide the greater nutrition and satisfaction. The white rice may cook faster but just give you a short term glycemic boost where the brown rice may take longer to digest, have more nutrients and fiber, and you won't get hungry again as quick.
  9. JimboK

    JimboK One owner, low mileage

    I'm with Tarabell on this one. I normally give preference to whole grain foods, including rice, bread, and pasta. If it takes longer to cook, so be it.

    Wayne's point about seasonal cooking seems valid, and I do try to reduce stove-top and oven cooking in the summer.
  10. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Don't forget to factor times meals are prepared at home versus previous month times meals were eaten at home. Dollars spent eating out per week/month compared to total spent at home for food/energy.
  11. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    White rice for me just results in an empty feeling within the hour due to the lack of real nutrition. (Sure there's calories, but it takes more than that to keep a body going.) Then I'm compelled to eat more, which is both bad for me and requires more energy, anyway. I respond much better to long grain/brown rice. Sometimes I'll just have some of that mixed in with a decent serving of vegetables, maybe a little something to season it. That lunch will keep me going all afternoon, no snacks needed. I'll gladly let the pot spend an extra 15 minutes on the stove for that.

    If you're really concerned about that energy, you could cook more at once if you are eventually going to eat it anyay. You also might consider looking into a magnetic induction cooking element, which is a great deal more efficient than any other electric range since the heat is actually generated within the cookware. I have a single 1kW magnetic induction element that does most of the work these days. That thing will get water to a boil faster than even the largest electric resistance element on my range. If I need more than one pot, I'll give that one the most energy-intensive task.
  12. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Well-Known Member

    Just remember not to keep it overnight. (I found that out the hard way)
  13. sup'd

    sup'd Well-Known Member

    I use a pressure rice steamer like they use in restaurants, the long/whole grains only take 25% longer than the white rices. I don't know what the electric draw is, but there aren't as much heat losses with the insulated and pressurized appliance and it takes half the time as on the stove.
  14. koreberg

    koreberg Junior Member

    I just eat out, keeps me from having to worry about energy use from my stove. My kitchen is just there to look good, and help the value of my home come sale time.
  15. rweatherford

    rweatherford Times my Mileage by Six


    That's as bad as my response.... :p
  16. Mike Dabrowski 2000

    Mike Dabrowski 2000 Well-Known Member

  17. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    Holy crap, Mike! That makes my fold-up cardboard solar cooker look truly ghetto. :D
  18. locutus

    locutus MPG Centurion

    I have to say I'm also a fan of the nutritional qualities of brown rice over white. I haven't Kill-A-Watted the rice cooker to see what the draw is, but 30 minutes in that little enclosed space can't be a huge draw (vs say an electric stove).
  19. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    I strongly second the pressure cooker. The new ones are safe, nearly foolproof and fast.

    Brown rice (our preference) still takes about 20 minutes. White rice takes about 3 minutes. Potatoes take about 3 minutes, 5 if you want to mash them (and every other method of cooking potatoes takes a lot longer). Dried beans take 20-30 minutes -- no soaking!
  20. sup'd

    sup'd Well-Known Member

    WriConsult have you tried cooking quinoa in your cooker?

    Its a nutty tasting brown grain from south america.. 1 part quinoa, two parts water.. substitute for rice in any recipe.. especially good with bell peppers.. lots of protein..

    Now I'm hungry, hmmm potatoes in the rice cooker? :)

    (sorry for off topic, but I'm a member of the association for the promotion of quinoa)

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