While we all appreciate a smart time- and energy-saving tip now and then, the latest advice might sound a bit off the wall. According to Lisa Casali, a Milanese eco-campaigner, cooking meals in the dishwasher is a fantastic way to save money, power and effort – and the results are tasty too.
The campaigner (who recently published her book, Cucinare In Lavastovigilie – or Cooking in the Dishwasher) says that every time a dishwasher is run, the combined cost of energy used to heat the water and detergent can come to 50p, which may not sound like much but it comes to more than £150 a year – or even more if you don’t use a water softener. Add in the electricity cost of heating up the oven, and you could be spending a small fortune on preparing food and washing up the aftermath.
So how does it work? Ms Casali says as long as the food is safely housed in an airtight bag or container, it won’t be affected by the dishwasher tablets or dirty water, so you can cook and clean dishes at the same time. The method works best for foods that need to be cooked at low temperatures, as the average hot dishwasher cycle reaches about 75 degrees C – ideal for poaching salmon or any other fish, although the culinary campaigner claims lasagne, coq au vin and apple pie are perfectly possible with enough practice.
The Daily Mail’s Vincent Graff, who gave the unusual cooking technique a try for himself, had mixed results. Using small Kilner jars, he produced “fully cooked, moist and flavoursome” sea bass in a poppy seed crust, while his pears in wine were a “tour de force”. However, his potatoes failed to cook through and the fish wasn’t steaming hot – possibly, he admits, because his eco-friendly dishwasher doesn’t run hot enough.
“The brilliant thing about dishwasher cooking is that everything goes into the dishwasher at the same time and everything comes out together, too,” he said. “Because of the relatively low temperature and the fact that the moisture is sealed inside the jars, it’s difficult to over-cook food.”