The threat of climate change, the depletion of natural sources, and world hunger are very real—but so are the collective efforts around the world to save the planet. There are more and more initiatives that strive to make change both globally and locally, and that means doing your part to save the environment can start in your own home, especially in your own kitchen. Take these tips to heart.
Know where your food comes from. You hear it everywhere these days: organic, local, natural, and sustainable. Support food movements like these by buying them when available and patronizing local farmers markets.
Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables. It takes far more resources to produce fruits that aren’t in season, because it’s the natural life cycle of the plants plus, prices will also be lower since it takes fewer resources to grow produce that’s naturally in season.
Support community agriculture. Take a cute from brands like Starbucks and Nestle, who support small-scale coffee growers.
Grow your own herbs and veggies. Urban container gardens are more and more popular. Use old PET bottles—you can make tomatoes, lettuce, basil, dill, etc., and it’s very simple and easy to learn. Check out the Buzzfeed article below for tips!
Stop buying small bottled water. Set up your own filtration system at home, or if you must, buy by the gallon, and use smaller tumblers to provide yourself with water throughout the day.
Use the freezer. Lemons, bread, and even herbs can be frozen so their shelf life lasts longer. We’re used to throwing mushy bananas and any soggy vegetables, but they can be frozen and cooked when we want them. You can also try baking them—many recipes like banana muffins; squash bread, and the like, call for very ripe produce.
Give your pantry a total makeover. Sort through your pantry and read the ingredients of each product. If you see something unhealthy or suspicious (too many unidentifiable chemicals, for example), find a better alternative.
Take a look at what you’ve been cooking with on a daily basis. Where do you get your water? What kind of oil, sugar, and salt do you use? Where is the rice you buy coming from?
The right tool for the right job. Use an appropriate sized cooking vessel for the job you are to do. Use a small saucepot instead of a really large one if it’s not necessary to save water washing it. Cover pots and pans—you save time because it boils faster, and you also save energy.
Use toxin-free cookware. Stick with steel, glass, or ceramic cookware. Studies have shown that Teflon and many other non-stick pans release cancer-causing chemicals on the environment. Try Thermalon if you want to a good non-stick variety.
Use a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker saves time and energy in cooking beans, whole grains, or tenderizing meats for stews.
Cover kettles and pans when boiling water or heating oil to avoid heat from escaping. This can save so much energy because your appliance won’t be working as hard to produce heat. Studies show that microwave ovens use up about 50% lesser energy than traditional ovens, so opt for this cooking equipment instead. You can also start learning how to use slow cookers or small convection ovens.
Use the whole product – Nose to tail, root to stem. Let no piece of meat or vegetable or fruit should go to waste— use beef bones to create stock, saute fat or skin to add natural oils and flavor.
Nix the tin. Think tinned tomatoes, mushrooms and corn. Stewing fresh tomatoes takes so little time, and you can spice it up with your own herbs. Fresh mushrooms sauteed with garlic and onions are not only cheaper, healthier and has no preservatives—they taste much better than the canned variety.
Use residual heat. Food like noodles, corn, veggies, cheese, and the likes, can be cooked using residual heat, even once the stove is turned off.
Use toxin-free, natural cleaning products. All our experts agree that white distilled vinegar diluted in water makes a great disinfectant for wiping down countertops after you’re done cooking. You can also take a bit more time in reading labels for cleaning solutions, and go for green-friendly brands.
Use a water basin when you wash. Take it from our ancestors who didn’t have running water—soaking your dishes in soapy water instead of running water takes a lot less water consumption. Plus, rinsing them will be quicker and more efficient. It’ll save you time, effort, and money.
Kick your plastic containers to the curb once and for all and replace them with a glass alternative. Not only do glass containers provide safer storage for all your foods they offer an excellent visual of what is inside.
Keep a countertop Composting Bucket. Not only will it simplify trash segregation, but food waste like rinds, egg shells, seeds, and the like can be turned into compost that you can use in an urban garden.
Jars away. Jars of peanut butter, marmalade, and the like make for good storage solutions. Clean them out, take the labels out and store your favorite condiments, dried herbs, leftover coffee granules, and sachets of sugar.