Dishwasher-Poached Salmon - A Recipe for Energy Efficiency

poaching salmon in the dishwasher photo

Image credit: Terrapass
Dishwasher Cooking Puts Waste Heat to Work
It’s been a long time since Treehugger covered the rather obscure art of dishwasher cooking, but just like cooking with your car engine, there is some logic to using up heat that would otherwise go to waste. Personally I’ve always been a little too nervous of soap-sud encrusted salmon to give it any serious thought – but Adam Stern over at Terrapass is a braver soul, poaching salmon in olive oil and lemon juice in his dishwasher. For a video and more info on Adam’s thrifty culinary expertise, click below the fold - and why not leave your own suggestions for cooking with waste heat in the comments box?
Not only was the salmon delicious, but the cooking technique prevented carbon emissions that would have occurred had we used our gas stove. The dishwasher already needed to be run and the fish could be poached at the same time.

Our experiment has made us wonder if there are other ways to double-up when we use appliances. For example, what else could we put in the toaster oven while we’re making toast for breakfast? Or could we steam something while we’re boiling water for tea? The carbon savings won’t be huge, but as we have shown, sensitivity to energy inputs and outputs in the kitchen can lead to some tasty meals.

Want to try it yourself? Check out Adam's own post for the full dishwasher salmon recipe. Of course, as one commenter points out, for this to work there has to be waste heat in the first place – if a dishwasher were truly 100% efficient, this would only add to the workload of the appliance – but we suspect even the best Energy Star appliance is still churning out some excess heat. (It should be noted that Adam did use the heat dry cycle with this experiment – tsk, tsk – but is intending on an air dry next time!) Another commenter also suggests using dishwasher-safe reusable containers, instead of foil - but presumably they'd need to have pretty low thermal mass.

And for those who want to explore other green cooking techniques, how about this roundup of our favorite solar cookers, or the DIY solar oven death match?

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