There are millions of people who prefer to cook in the comfort of their own kitchens rather than wasting money eating out every day. The financial savings are amazing for these people, not to mention the general improvement in health that occurs when we move away from greasy fast food prepared in alarmingly oversized portions. For those of us trying to live a green friendly lifestyle, we should remember that the act of cooking can be done in a way that benefits the environment.
There are some aspects of cooking at home that cannot be changed to make them more green friendly. Take your stove-top for example. If your energy provider utilizes wind or other forms of environmentally friendly energy, then you are a step ahead in the game. If they do not, you could always call and ask if they provide any alternative options. Odds are that they will not, but it never hurts to ask.
Just like your energy provider, there will be some things that you simply cannot force to be green friendly in the kitchen. However, there are definitely a large number of things that can be changed by you, and they will make a significant difference in your carbon footprint and on your beneficial contribution to the environment.
Below are three things that you can do to make your daily kitchen routine much more beneficial for the environment. Each one builds upon the prior, so be sure to read through each and not skip around.
Start an Herb Garden
This is probably the toughest and most time consuming step, but it also pays off the most in terms of financial
savings. Plan out a weekend where you will be able to handle the project, and enlist the help of friends and family if you are able to do so. Otherwise, the project will take a little longer to complete, but it is still possible to do so with one person.
Visit your local nursery, preferably one that sells organic and non genetically modified plants, and ask about the best type of herbs that grow well in your given area. The salespeople will know the soil and climate conditions quite well, and will advise you on the perfect combination of what to grow.
Purchase a good variety of the herbs in the small containers where they have already sprouted. This will save you time and allow you to start seeing the produce much sooner. Follow the instructions included with each herb package, and plant them into a reserved space in your garden.
Make sure that the garden stays fresh and has an ample amount of water and sunlight, and you will find that it literally takes care of itself. Within a few weeks, it will be developed enough so that you can start incorporating the herbs into the recipes that you prepare in your kitchen. You save money, time, and help the earth just a little more.
Create Recipes Based on The Season
If you have a local farmers market where organic fruits, vegetables, and even meats are sold, then why not take advantage of what the season has to offer? Make it a point to use the produce that is available during the season as the main ingredients in your recipes.
Think things will get bland after a while? No problem. Just purchase some produce in bulk, chop it into the size and shape commonly used for your ingredients, and then freeze them for use later. Just be sure to mark the frozen produce with the date so that you remember to use them promptly. Most vegetables last and retain their freshness for a good six months. Anything longer than that will cause their quality to suffer and will affect their nutritional value.
This allows you to support the local farming economy, purchase fresh and healthy produce, and make meal planning easy by knowing what is in season.
Utilize a Green Garbage Bowl for Compost
Do you currently use a garbage bowl while you are cooking? A garbage bowl is nothing more than a normal bowl, except that you use it to throw away waste while you are cooking. If you were making an omelet, then you would toss in the egg shells. If you were making a salad, you just place the ugly parts of the lettuce into the bowl.
If you currently have a compost pile or machine in your backyard, then you can see what happens from here. All you do is just toss in your daily green garbage bowl stuff into the pile or machine. Instead of throwing out that little bit of excess produce not used in your recipe, you turn it into compost.
With this technique, a little goes a long way. Although it might not seem like much when cooking a single meal, think of how much will build up when you have three meals per day at five times per week. Even in the worst case scenario, you will still have the perfect amount to utilize in your herb garden .
Do you have any other tricks you use to make your cooking a little greener? Please share via the comment box below.