Today is Blog Action Day, when blogs are all posting on a single topic: the environment. If you read my blog regularly, you already know that keeping a green kitchen is a topic of great interest to me. But I realize I can do more, and I want to challenge myself to do more.
Fortunately for cooks, “green” cooking is no sacrifice. Cooking green goes hand-in-hand with preparing healthy, simple meals that taste delicious. Also, cooks have been reducing waste in the kitchen for thousands of years, and cookbooks are packed with tips on how to do this, from recipes that use stale bread to stocks that get the most out of animal bones and vegetable scraps. We cooks are natural environmentalists, even if we don’t call ourselves that.
Here are some easy things I am already doing and that you can start doing right away:
- Bring my own bags to the grocery store
- Buy organic foods whenever I have the choice
- Exclusively buy meat from humanely raised animals
- Educate myself about fishing practices and make smart choices when I buy fish
- Reduce the number of processed foods I buy
- Stop using chemical cleaners in my kitchen
- Compost food scraps
- Recycle packaging as much as possible
But I realize I can do even more. This year, I want to challenge myself to cook green as much as possible, and I challenge you to do the same. Here are the goals I’m setting myself for the upcoming year:
- Expand my organic vegetable garden. I want to grow as much of my own produce as possible and learn how to preserve my produce.
- Buy locally. I intend to visit my local farmers’ market more often (at least once a week) and buy local eggs, dairy and meat products as much as I can. I will also look into joining a CSA.
- Reduce even more my dependence on processed foods. For instance, I want to learn how to make my own baby food, and I am becoming more interested in baking my own bread (although a local baker is finally opening nearby to provide a good alternative).
- Buy in bulk. I want to learn more about preserving foods and using as much as possible (such as in stock-making), so that I can buy more foods in bulk, which reduces packaging and trips to the grocery store.
- Create my own root cellar. Is it possible to make a root cellar in my suburban home? I suspect it might be. This is something I want to investigate.
- Collect rain water for my garden. We have been in a drought for two months now. In an effort to reduce my impact on the local water supply and make the most of natural resources, I want to start collecting rain water for garden use.
There are so many benefits to taking these steps — becoming less reliant on the food industry and more connected to my community, cooking healthier meals for my family, and knowing where my food comes from and what has gone into it. So, how are you going to challenge yourself to cook green?