Eco-Friendly Cooking: What’s The Best Way To Cook Your Food?

When you think about eating food, you typically only worry about the nutritional value of your meals. In essence, you want to eat healthily and consume things that are good for your body. However, some of you may also think about the environmental impact of your cooking. How much damage are you doing to the planet when you eat your meals every day? It’s something everyone should be concerned with as we all eat, so we all have a massive contribution to the environment. If everyone made a few alterations in the kitchen, could we reduce harmful emissions and improve the planet?

The simple answer is yes, we can absolutely do that! There are many ways you can alter your eating habits to protect the environment. One popular idea is to eat less meat and animal products as the production of these goods have a large carbon footprint. Nevertheless, today’s post won’t focus on what you should or shouldn’t eat. Rather, you will learn some ideas and tips that help you cook in a more eco-friendly manner. So, regardless of your specific diet, you should have a much greener time in the kitchen!

Cook multiple portions at once

Instead of cooking a meal for one, why don’t you cook a meal for four? You might live on your own and only need one portion, but you can store the rest in your fridge/freezer for another day. Think about what you’ve just done; you’ve cooked a meal and now have enough portions for four separate dinners. As a result, that’s three extra days where you no longer need to cook. 

Aside from being convenient and providing instant meals, this saves a great deal of energy. Look at any recipe and you will notice that cooking times or temperatures don’t change when the quantity increases. Usually, you still cook things for the same duration, using up the same amount of energy. Now, imagine you don’t cook multiple portions at once. You have to use energy for each of the three days where you would’ve had your other portions! Basically, by cooking four portions for one person in one go, you use a quarter of the cooking time! 

If you apply this tactic every week, you may only need to cook three or four times, then have meals in the freezer to cycle through and last at least another week or two! Think of all the energy you save by not having to cook as often. 

Slice up your food as small as possible

The smaller your food is, the quicker it will cook. For example, let’s say you’re roasting peppers in the oven. Normally, a whole pepper might need to be roasted for around 30-40 minutes before it gets soft and cooks through. If you chop your peppers up into small chunks, you get the same effect after half the time. 

This goes for every ingredient you use while cooking. Onions are another common one – dice them as finely as possible

 and they will cook much quicker. Therefore, your smaller ingredients let you spend less time cooking, equating to less energy being used up. 

Keep the lid on your pans

This tip might not apply in all circumstances, but it works when you’re doing things like boiling water, cooking vegetables, or letting a sauce/soup cook through. Some recipes tell you to let something simmer for a set amount of time until the food is cooked. Others will say cook this for x amount of time until the ingredient is soft and tender. So, what usually happens? You cook things in the pan, leaving the lid off. 

While this might not seem like an issue, consider what’s happening in that pan. All the heat is escaping up into the air, which is a problem. Now, imagine you cover the pan, then what? Well, the heat has nowhere to go, so it stays contained in the pan. Thus, the food will cook a lot faster at a lower temperature! This works like a charm when you have to do things like softening onions or hard vegetables. 

Again, as with the previous two ideas, this helps to reduce your overall cooking time. After all, this means less energy is used, lowering your carbon footprint in the kitchen. 

Try to eat things raw

Did you know that eating things raw is one of the best ways to consume food for nutritional purposes? Okay, it doesn’t relate to things like meat and fish where you can get sick if it’s raw. But, it applies to almost all fruit and veg. Ask yourself, do I really need to cook this? In some cases, raw vegetables add a nice crunch to your meals, improving the overall texture. Food experts often say that adding different textures to a meal is the key to getting it to taste better! 

Furthermore, you see some nutritional benefits from doing this. When you cook something, you tend to destroy a lot of the natural nutrients it contains. Let’s take some fruit as an example. A lot of fruits are rich in vitamin C, which is a key nutrient to aid your immune system and prevent illnesses. If you were to eat these fruits raw, you would obtain all the vitamin C it contains. Well, your body might not be able to absorb all of it, but you haven’t destroyed or weakened the vitamin content. By contrast, if you were to bake the fruit, the heat would drop the vitamin content and mean you get less of this crucial nutrient. From a nutritional standpoint, it’s worth trying to learn more about the foods high in vitamin C, particularly with a pandemic going on! So, you should consider eating things raw unless it’s absolutely necessary to cook it. 

How does this relate to eco-friendliness? Yep, you guessed it, raw foods require no cooking, right? So, this means you don’t even have to turn on the hob or oven. You might still need to do this to cook other elements of a meal, but you cut out some valuable cooking time in other areas. 

Use more eco-friendly cookware

All of the previous points have pinpointed ways to cut down on your cooking time and save energy. This next idea will partially help with that, but it also reduces your carbon footprint in another way. Nowadays, there are lots of eco-friendly cookware brands out there. Typically, they make pots and pans out a ceramic-based material. The benefit of this is that it makes the pan heat up a lot quicker, but it’s also more durable. 

If you compare this to another non-stick technology – Teflon – this material will break down at a much higher temperature than Teflon. Therefore, you can keep the pans for much longer, preventing the need to continuously buy new ones. The process for making ceramic-based cookware is also more eco-friendly and involves better materials for the environment. Also, the fact that the pans get hotter means cooking time can be reduced, saving energy. 

Overall, it just makes sense to make more eco-friendly switches in the kitchen. Get some better pans, and also think about the utensils you use. If possible, find ones that are recycled or made from better materials. 

Put your leftovers to good use

Energy consumption isn’t the only concern when you want to be a green cook. You should also think about food waste! Tonnes and tonnes of food get wasted every single year. As well as being a waste of your money, the food often ends up in landfills, adding to the greenhouse gasses. 

A brilliant way of reducing your food waste is to make your leftovers go a lot further. Christmas is behind us, but how much turkey did you throw away? It was probably a lot, and why did you do it? Because you had no more use for it and it was going off anyway. Instead, you could’ve taken the leftovers and turned it into a turkey pie or a curry. There are so many creative recipe ideas out there that take advantage of the leftover ingredients you have from meals. This doesn’t just apply to Christmas – it applies to every meal where you’ve got things leftover. 

Similarly, what should you do with any leftovers you can’t eat? What if you only finished 80% of your meal, and the rest is on the plate? You could save it for later, but most of us will throw it out. Sometimes, food does have to be thrown away, but there’s a right and wrong way to do this. The right way is to recycle your food waste in compost bins so it can be put to better use. If you have your own garden, you may use it to help plant things – or you could ask around if any friends or neighbours would like it. At the very least, your local council will have food recycling days where they collect your waste and it avoids a landfill!

Keep all of these tips in mind if you’re hoping to improve the eco-friendliness of your cooking habits. It is also worth looking at different dietary choices and reading up on foods that have a smaller impact on the environment! 

A Quick Guide To Storing And Using Fruit And Vegetable Scraps

When you are cooking, you probably end up with a lot of fruit and vegetable scraps. All of the ends that you trim off things and the skin that you take off usually ends up in the bin, but before you get rid of it, you should think about different ways to use it. There are actually a lot of great uses for fruit and vegetable scraps, so if you want to reduce food waste and be more economical at the same time, you should start paying more attention to those neglected off-cuts. Here’s everything you need to know about storing and using fruit and vegetable scraps. 

How To Store Fruit And Vegetable Scraps 

Most of the time, you need to collect quite a lot of fruit and vegetable scraps before you are able to use them for anything, which means that you need a way to store them. Obviously, they will start to degrade quite quickly, so it’s important that you store them properly and the way that you keep them depends on what you’re using them for. 

If you are using them for non-food purposes, you don’t need to worry about keeping them fresh for too long. In fact, most garden uses require the scraps to be broken down, so it’s fine to get this process started now. However, you need to be careful about how you store your old food scraps because you will get a lot of wasp activity if you have rotting fruit and vegetables open to the air. Ideally, you need to store them in a closed container, away from the house. If you have a shed, that’s the perfect place to keep your food scraps until you are ready to use them. 

Some food scraps can still be used in cooking, in which case, you need to keep them fresh. The easiest way to do that is to keep a big bag in the freezer and throw any offcuts straight in there. It will keep for months like that, so you have plenty of time to use it. 

What To Do With Them 

Compost 

Making compost is the most common use for fruit and vegetable scraps. If you are a keen gardener, you can create a constant supply of great compost that will improve the health of your plants and help you cut back on waste at the same time. 

Vegetable stock 

There’s no need to spend money on stock cubes anymore because you can just make your own, and it’s so easy. All you need to do is get your bag of frozen vegetable offcuts, boil them in some water for 30 minutes with a few herbs and spices, and then cool and drain it. This stock can then be frozen again until you are ready to use it. 

Flavoring 

Old citrus peels can be used to flavor things, like olive oil or vinegar, for example. If you buy a cheap bottle of oil or vinegar from the supermarket and then soak the skins in it for a few weeks, you can completely transform it and turn it into something special. Just make sure to clean off the waxy residue on the skin first. 

These are just some of the ways that you can use your old fruit and vegetable scraps, so think twice before throwing them away next time. 

How to Adopt a Cleaner and More Eco-Friendly Diet

If you’re looking to do something positive for the environment and start living in a more eco-friendly kind of way, one of the things you should take a look at and make changes to is your diet. When you adopt a cleaner and more eco-friendly diet, you’ll reduce your impact on the planet while also leading a healthier lifestyle at the same time. So read on to find out how you can get this right.

Consider the Packaging

First of all, you should take into account the packaging when you’re buying food products. If a particular product uses far too much plasting packaging and wrapping, you might want to think twice before purchasing it. Too much plastic packaging is bad for the environment, and you should instead try to support food companies that are taking steps to reduce their use of plastic.

Ditch Processed Foods

Processed foods tend to go through a process of manufacturing that isn’t particularly green or eco-friendly, so there’s definitely an environmental argument for wanting to ditch processed foods. Beyond that, it’s also a good idea to leave processed foods behind if you want to adopt a cleaner and more natural diet. So maybe now is the time to dutch processed foods once and for all.

Try to Eat Locally Produced Foods

It’s important to think about where your food comes from and what kind of impact on the environment the transportation methods used to get those food goods to you can have. That’s why it makes a lot more sense to choose foods that were sourced locally, so there’s not a huge travel time and expended resources required simply to get the gold you want them.

Detox Your Body Regularly

Detoxing your body is a way of getting rid of bad toxins, helping your kidneys and liver to refresh and replenish. There are many foods that can help you to do this, and apple cider vinegar is one of the most popular solutions. You can find out more about the benefits of apple cider vinegar by following the link. It’s something that you can do on a regular basis for the good for your health and wellbeing.

Try a Mediterranean-Style Diet

A Mediterranean style diet is known for having a wide range of health benefits. It’s also a style of dieting that has long been associated with fresh vegetables, oily fish and a lot of foods that are natural and generally good for your body. It might be a style of diet that you want to try out for yourself.

A clean and eco-friendly diet is not only good for the environment but also good for you and your long-term health. It’s a win-win for you, so why not make 2021 the year in which you eat a diet that’s good for your body and that does your bit for the good for the planet too?

Choosing The Best Green Energy Sources

In the modern day, many homes are powered using fossil fuels or finite resources that are guaranteed to eventually run out. Using such a large amount of non-renewable energy can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint, and there are many alternative ideas that you can utilise which are far more environmentally friendly. Figuring out which sustainable power can best suit your needs doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think, as there are a few key tips and tricks that you can utilise to make sure you can identify the best green energy sources on the market today. 

Solar Power 

One of the most popular sustainable energy sources that you can make the most of in several different ways is solar power. Solar power is free of charge, as the sun is guaranteed to rise every morning to provide the planet with light and warmth. The only investment that you would have to make is the solar panels themselves, as you need to have a method of conversion which actually allows you to utilise the sun’s rays as a source of power. Of course, solar power is one of the best sources of sustainable energy, as it’s an infinite resource that isn’t going to be running out any time soon. When you utilise solar power, you don’t take anything away from the earth or it’s inhabitants, either. Having your own solar panels can even help you to make a profit after several months of installation, as any excess energy that you make can be sold off to your local grid to power other nearby homes! Solar power has many more uses than just keeping your home bright and warm, as they can be utilised for small vehicles such as cars, and even for powering internal campervan equipment like stove tops and hot water. Solar panels can be used by businesses to supply their workspaces, so your job may even benefit from such an installation or upgrade. 

Hydropower 

If you live close to any body of water, whether this is a long twisting river or a vast open sea, you could be missing out by not utilising hydropower. Hydropower captures the energy that is generated by flowing water, and this can be a surprisingly large amount compared with what you might initially expect. Placing a hydro generator at the mouth of a fast flowing river can harness the power that the water uses to push forward at such a speed, helping to power a number of different properties or machinery from just one water source. You can even utilise a slow flowing water source such as a small stream or pond by installing a kind of wheel arrangement that’s powered and pushed by the tide or the movement of the water. There are many different opportunities across the nation and world that could harness the energy created by hydropower to benefit the entire world, and the only thing holding such advancements back is a lack of demand. 

Vegetable Oil 

One of the most surprising natural energy sources that you may never have considered previously is vegetable oil. Used vegetable oil is said to be able to power many different things, including your car if it’s originally made to utilise diesel, so it’s a wonderful idea to explore. Using biodiesel is increasing in popularity, as the process is almost carbon neutral and you only need to prepare your used oil by heating it up and filtering it well. As previously mentioned you can use biodiesel in any car that is supposed to run on normal diesel, but there are also several specially made vehicles that can utilise even the least refined oil. The plants which created the oil that you use for your biodiesel will have spent a considerable amount of time taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere before they were converted into a source of power, so you needn’t stress about the environmental impacts as they are few and far between. 

Choosing the best green energy sources to suit your unique needs has never been so simple when you take the time to utilise the brilliant tips and tricks that have been carefully described above. Whether you decide to make the most of solar power by harnessing the sun’s rays, explore hydropower by utilising your local flowing water source or even choose to cut your waste by converting used vegetable oil into biodiesel, there are just so many brilliant options that you can explore today! 

How to Reduce Your Household Waste and Be More Eco-Friendly in 2021

Although the complications associated with the COVID-19 pandemic may have held you back from achieving your resolutions for the past year, there’s no reason why you can’t set some new goals for 2021.

That’s especially true if your resolutions are home-related, since we’ll probably be sheltering in place for some time to come. While the home improvement industry grew by 5.5% in 2019, the need for Americans to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus has many of us fixating on how to make a number of property improvements.

But keep in mind that renovations aren’t the only way to get more out of what you have. If you’re determined to lead a greener lifestyle in the new year, you might want to start by reducing your household waste. With climate change continuing to worsen, it’s up to each individual to make positive changes to help the planet. Fortunately, these adjustments may have a relatively minor impact on your everyday life — but they can be significant for our environment. Here are just a few ways you can reduce your household waste and become more eco-friendly in 2021.

Install (or Overhaul) a Septic System

Homeowners need a reliable way to process their wastewater. Typically, you’ll have one of two options: connecting to a public sewer or utilizing a private septic system. More than 21 million U.S. households use septic systems, which are inherently more eco-friendly than sewer systems because they treat wastewater in a natural way. They also recycle water and can replenish water tables while benefitting local plant and wildlife. They’re typically pretty durable, as well, which means less material needs to be wasted on repairs or replacement.

However, proper installation and maintenance are key. Whether you’re making the switch to septic or you’re trying to make your current system more eco-friendly in the coming year, you should opt for trenchless repairs (which causes less harm to the environment) and follow all recommendations for proper use to avoid backups. You should also have routine maintenance performed and pump your tank regularly to ensure your septic system continues to run smoothly. While this won’t necessarily reduce how much wastewater needs to be cleaned, it can ensure that cleaning is more efficient and that you won’t have to waste resources in unnecessary ways.

Always Opt For Reusable Options

This might go without saying, but single-use items — like plastic bags, paper towels, cellophane, and plastic water bottles — represent a lot of waste. Eliminating or drastically reducing your use of these items in 2021 can help you keep a lot of garbage out of local landfills. There are plenty of reusable alternatives out there, like beeswax food wrap or reusable grocery bags and towels, that will give you more for your money and help you reduce the amount of garbage you produce. Don’t forget to snag some reusable insulated water bottles to start your new year out right!

Shop in Bulk When Possible

Packaging is a huge source of waste, but it feels inescapable when you shop online or at conventional grocery stores. Consider buying foods and personal care products in bulk whenever you can and supply your own containers or reusable bags. Buying in larger quantities can allow you to save money and stock up while creating a zero-waste experience. That said, don’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need (especially if they expire quickly!). Buy in bulk only when you know you’ll use the items and that they won’t be thrown away.

Start a Compost Pile or Bin

Food scraps and spoiled food represent a large percentage of household waste. But there’s a lot you could be put to better use in your garden. Make a resolution to start a compost bin or pile in the new year, as this will allow you to reuse unused produce, coffee, eggshells, and many other kinds of waste as fertilizer. Although most lawns require one inch of water each week, composting can really make your yard look its best. Plus, it’ll allow you to grow food right at home, which can often be less wasteful than buying items at the grocery store. Just make sure to research the items that can be safely composted before you begin.

While you might not be eager to set any goals for the new year, leading a less wasteful life can be its own reward — even in the midst of a pandemic. With these tips in mind, you can eliminate wasteful habits and reduce your environmental impact — all without disrupting your routine.