Tips for Eco Friendly Cooking
Recently I posted a blog with some tips on how to buy sustainably and locally, when shopping for produce, dairy, and meat, but what about once you have it in hand ready to go?
Did you know, the US WASTES 141 TRILLION calories of food each year. Here are a few helpful tips for preparation of foods as well as what to do with them before deciding to compost.
Plan before you head out shopping- know it’s going to be a busy week? Make a smaller list, so even if it means an extra trip later in the week to grab more, you will have it fresh, and reduce the risk of wasting. Keeping non perishable options on hand is great too if you lead a busy life. Used to be, convenience foods meant sugar and junk but with stuff like Nick’s Sticks, Primal Pacs, and Epic Bars, food on the go is something completely different these days.
- Cook in large batches! Cooking appliances take time to heat up, which means lots of energy right? Instead of cooking multiple times throughout the week, get the most out of each cooking session by cooking everything together, as much as possible. I like to bake a pan of bacon at the beginning of the week, that way I can store it in the fridge and not have to cook it every morning- I re-heat for about 5 seconds in the microwave, which I know many have thrown out- but since it’s cooked, eating it right from the fridge works too!
- Use the most energy efficient model appliences- if finances allow.
Defrost! Defrosting in the fridge cuts down on cooking time of frozen meats (commonly found in local co-ops)
- Consider the chart above when cooking- not only are crock pots easy and convenient, but check out that energy efficiency! (try some Teeny Tiny Spice, a pork loin, some onion, and broth in a crock pot for about 7-8 hours on low for a dinner delight!)
- Your pots, pans, and dishes matter! Glass, ceramic, and cast iron heat more efficiently and can reduce the temperature that foods need to be cooked at, thus less energy used.
Use steel skewers in meats and potatoes to shorten cooking time.
- Keep lids on pots to hold in heat and reduce cooking times.
- Have a back up plan for those fruits and veggies- if you haven’t used them and they’re starting to wilt or go bad, dehydrate, freeze, or make into a dish ASAP. Tomatoes make a great salsa, older bananas are great sliced up and frozen to throw into smoothies, and EVERYTHING is great sliced and dehydrated!
- Store everything well. Tight seals, and proper storage methods will help keep your food fresh longer.
There you have it! Easy little tips that can make a big difference in your energy bill, food costs, and the impact on the earth. Have some others you’d like to add? Share them in the comments!
*Thanks to the following sites for some tips and graphics: USwitch.com, NPR.com/thesalt, SmallNotebook.org, & motherearthnews.com