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Why waste energy overcooking & spoiling food?

The headlines

Overcooking food is something we naturally do, but wastes energy and reduces the quality of the meal.

Below is some straightforward, practical information on how you can cook safely, save energy and have tastier food.

This page ISN'T JUST ABOUT KIPPERS! It is for any type of food you cook, and especially meat and fish.


Why cook food longer than you need to? It just wastes energy and might spoil the food!

As someone with relatively modest cooking skills I realised only quite recently one way of reducing the energy when cooking is to only cook food as long as it is absolutely needed.

My wife and I love kippers and I always used to grill them, but just using my judgement as to when they were well enough cooked - essentially, were they curling up like bananas and sizzling like crazy?

I then discovered that by using a food thermometer I could confidently decide they were 'cooked enough and safe to eat'. They are incredibly easy to use, and really cheap - around £4 or so.

It turned out I had previously been cooking them far, far FAR too long.

I now grill them in half the time. The kippers are FAR more moist and tasty, while still being safe to eat!

Using a food thermometer is really easy: read this web page or watch this very short YouTube video.

This other web page has guidance on this sort of approach for lots of meat/food stuffs. It also has a useful table showing the internal temperatures different types of food need to reach in order to be safe. I have put the key figures in the table below.

These figures were a real surprise to me and are far lower than I would have guessed:

Meat or meal type

Fully cooked temperature

Minced beef, pork or lamb


Minced turkey or chicken


Whole chicken or turkey

76.7C - 79.4C

Chicken or turkey legs/thighs

76.7C - 79.4C

Chicken or turkey breast


Stuffing (cooked in bird)


Pork chops/roasts


Ham fresh (raw)


Ham precooked (to reheat)


Leftovers and casseroles


Microwave dishes


Beef, lamb - roasts steaks and chops - medium rare


Beef, lamb - roasts steaks and chops - medium


Beef, lamb - roasts steaks and chops - medium-well done


Kippers! :-)


This is printable table if you would like to print off a copy to keep handy in the kitchen. Apologies for the Americanisms in it! I wish they would learn to speak English.


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All content on the site should be treated as information and not advice. You should take professional advice where appropriate to different site articles.


Mark Thompson

Get Energy Savvy - simple practical home energy efficiency information

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