An Eco Friendly Kitchen
By Larraine Roulston
An eco-friendly kitchen begins with having proper home insulation that includes energy efficient windows, doors and appliances. In addition there are simple tips that will help make your kitchen even greener.
Shopping habits play an important role. Make a list to avoid having to return to the store. Take along reusable carry-out bags as well as several small bags to hold loose produce. Purchase local and organic whenever possible. Eat less meat, fish and dairy. Choose items from the bulk area using your own containers. Avoid foods on Styrofoam trays; however, should you need this particular item, request if it can be purchased without the packaging. Eliminate the use of straws, bottled water, paper towels and food packaged in single servings.
Be creative with leftovers. To revitalize wilted herbs or celery, place them in a jar of cold water.
While preparing meals, have a container handy to collect kitchen food scraps for composting. Floor sweepings of crumbs can also be included.
To rinse produce, use a bowl of water rather than running a tap. Help remove pesticide residue by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or baking soda and allow the veggies/fruit to sit for a few minutes. Keep a jar of drinking water in the fridge to avoid running the tap. Use leftover tea and cooled water from boiling eggs to water plants. Run your dishwasher with a full load when hydro rates are lower. Save vegetable water for soup stock. Rinsing hand washed dishes in warm water keeps your washing basin cleaner and removes the chill from the plates and cutlery.
A fridge’s cooling system works more efficiently when it is full. If shelves are sparse, place a few jars of water on them. Let warm leftovers cool first and return cold items as quickly as possible. Your fridge door’s sealer will be kept more pliable if you periodically rub a little butter on it and work it in with your fingers.
Maximize the use of your oven by planning to bake veggies at the same time as you cook a casserole. If you have ample space on the racks, consider whipping up a batch of cookies. If you turn off the oven 5 minutes before the recommended time, there will be enough heat remaining to finish cooking your meal. Put lids on stovetop pots. A toaster oven and slow cooker use less energy than a regular stove oven. An electric kettle takes less energy than boiling water in a pot. When not in use, pull the plugs on small appliances that have glowing lights.
For kitchen clean-ups, rely on vinegar and baking soda.
Be a good sort when it comes to recycling. Rinse food/beverage containers and flatten tin cans as well as boxboard/cardboard boxes.
If upgrading, take time to investigate sustainable tiles, countertops and flooring. Salvage what you can for either reuse or recycling.
~ Larraine writes children’s books that highlight the joy of composting and pollinating with the adventures of Pee Wee at Castle Compost. With illustrations, songs and poems, the stories unearth the miracles of nature’s cycle of life. Fun & factual for all ages. To order, visit www.castlecompost.com