I recently wrote about my first green grocery trip and what I learned from that experience. Now I’m moving into the next stage: what to do with all that eco-friendly food. Buying green groceries is just half the battle; preparing and cooking them responsibly is just as important.
Buying local and organic foods is great, but it's just as important to cook in eco-friendly ways. Photo by _nezemnaya_/Courtesy Flickr
-Cooking responsibly means using eco-friendly cookware and kitchen utensils. PristinePlanet.com offers a variety of eco-friendly cookware options, including cast iron skillets, pots and frying pans. For kitchen utensils, I turn to Natural Home’s own line of sustainable food prep products made from bamboo.
-When cooking with oil or vinegar, use a non-aerosol brand such as Gourmè Mist. These misters contain no alcohol, additives or chemical propellants and the bottles are recyclable, which makes them a healthier choice for you and the environment.
-If you have the funds, switch out your old refrigerator with an Energy Star-rated one. I know this has more to do with food storage than food prep, but this can really save you money on your electric bills and decrease your total carbon footprint. If you can’t afford to get a new fridge, always try to keep your refrigerator full. This ensures that the fridge doesn’t have to work as hard to cool a small amount of food.
-Grow your own vegetables and herbs. I found an easy no-dig garden recipe that consists of cutting drainage holes in bags of topsoil, then cutting away the tops and planting your seeds or transplants directly in the bags. Genius! Cooking with your own veggies and herbs means fresher produce and the peace of mind of knowing where your food is coming from. If you have a little greener of a thumb, NRG offers an array of gardening tools, and Tasteful Garden can supply you with live transplants to get you started.
I’ve also collected some cooking tips that can help you decrease the amount of energy you use while cooking.
-Cut your food into smaller pieces before you cook it. This will shorten the cooking time on denser foods like meat and potatoes, which will in turn decrease the required energy.
-Cook more than one item at a time. For example, you can boil pasta and eggs simultaneously—even if they’re not for the same recipe—thereby cutting down on your energy use.
-Invest in pots, pans and casserole dishes with tight-fitting lids, then keep the lids on while cooking to reach the desired temperature quickly. This allows you to cook your favorite foods in less time, and decreases your carbon footprint in the process.