Not long after I moved to the States from the UK, I attended a dinner with my new wife. Being a helpful kind of guy, I offered to lend a hand in the kitchen. But when I went to boil some pasta, our hostess looked at me and laughed: "What are you doing? You know if you put a lid on that pot the water will boil over?"

I must admit I was a little taken aback. I knew the water would boil quicker, and take less energy, but surely all I had to do to stop it boiling over was to keep an eye on it, and either turn it down or remove the lid for a while once it reached temperature? Of all the energy efficient cooking techniques in the world, using a tight-fitting lid has got to be one of the simplest. Unlike crock pots, pressure cookers or solar ovens this requires no new equipment—unless you don't have a lid—and according to this fact sheet on energy efficient commercial cooking using a lid can save 8-14% in energy costs. After all, why heat up the air when you are trying to cook?

And for those of you who are still worried about water boiling over, a transparent lid should help you keep a watchful eye on things, or you can always leave the lid cracked to ease some pressure. But really, there's a reason pots have lids—so let's use them.

Salivating over sustainable eats? Learn how to make your own with help from Emeril Lagasse in Planet Green TV's organic cooking show, Emeril Green.

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