The kitchen is the heart of the home, the place where you cook and eat meals together. Drink coffee and put the world to rights with friends. Help the kids with their homework and so much more. It’s a busy place that can sometimes feel overwhelming to start making a more eco-friendly place. But there are some simple ways you can easily make your kitchen more eco-friendly and save money too.
Go Organic and buy local – cooking healthy meals from local, organic produce is a great way to go green in the kitchen. By choosing local produce, you are not contributing to the pollution caused by food traveling miles from its source to the stores. Try shopping around, explore local markets and delivered vegetable boxes to find the best way for you.
Meal Plan – Meal planning is one of the easiest ways to reduce your food waste and also save you money. Check what you already have and plan meals around those ingredients so that they get used up. It also helps you to buy only what you need at the shops.
Batch Cook Meals – Batch cooking meals is a great way to save energy in the kitchen. Cooking larger quantities of food, for example enough to make two or three meals, means you use about the same amount of energy as it takes to cook one. The extra meals can be frozen and reheated, saving you time on meal preparation too. It can also save you money as it helps to avoid food waste and you are able to buy the larger, often better value amounts of food.
Make sure you are using the correct amount in your recipes by using a conversion tool like this one from Culinary Schools. Enabling you to easily and correctly convert between measurements. Handy for a lot of the batch cook recipes you find online. https://www.culinaryschools.org/career-info/conversion/
Pots and Pans – if you use pans that are too large for what you are cooking, then you are using more energy to heat and cook your food. To help save energy whilst cooking, use the right-sized cooking pans and just enough water if you boil anything. Make sure you use a lid to help retain heat.
Re-use – Swap to reusable food storage containers so you no longer have to buy single-use plastics such as cling film. You can also use any old Tupperware that you already have, even takeaway tubs work well. Keep your glass jars too. You don’t need to go out and buy a whole new storage system.
Other ways of keeping food fresh are to use beeswax cloth, reusable silicone food bags, or simply placing a plate over a bowl as a covering. Read more about healthy alternatives to cling film and tin foil here.
Compost – make the most of your food waste by putting fruit and vegetable scraps into a garden compost bin. Or food caddy if you have one. If you don’t have access to a compost bin there are other alternatives, check out this post.
Making your own compost means you can add nutrients to garden plants, or use it to grow your own fruit and veg. Other food scraps that can be composted are egg shells, coffee grounds and tea leaves. Don’t add meat, fish or dairy products!
Check your local recycling policies as each area is different. Usually, paper, card, glass, aluminium and plastic can be recycled and it is one of the simplest things you can do to go green in the kitchen. Plastic bags can often be recycled too as well as soft food packaging, check to see if any local stores take this type of recycling.
It’s important to remember to rinse out any glass and plastic before putting it into the recycling. And for small pieces of foil, like milk bottle tops, save them up till you have enough to scrunch together in a ball.
Ditch the toxic chemicals – the chemicals we use in the home can often be some of the most toxic substances we are exposed to on a daily basis. Swap to more natural cleaners such as bicarb of soda and you can easily make your own natural all purpose cleaning spray.